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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Nino Josele

By Michael Stone

Paz
Norte

Spanish producer Fernando Trueba’s passion for jazz has fostered some of the freshest sounds heard today, and flamenco guitarist Niño Josele’s exploration of the Bill Evans songbook is perhaps the most idiosyncratic undertaking yet. Josele’s work with the extraordinary flamenco singer Diego “El Cigala” and Cuban piano legend Bebo Valdés inspired this project, which stems from Valdés’ rendering of the signature Evans tune “Waltz For Debby.” Josele’s interpretations savor the contemplative beauty of the pianist’s inimitable style, while creating inventive new voicings worthy of the originator. Paz (named for “Peace Piece,” the Evans standard and album-opening guitar solo) is understated throughout, allowing the guitarist free range across the composer’s songbook, with spare backing by saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Javier Colina (a native of Spain and one of Europe’s foremost musicians), trumpeters Jerry González and Tom Harrell (who played with Evans), and singers Estrella Morente and Freddy Cole. The sublime result is a new jazz classic.