Neotropical Nocturnes (Selva Records; March 16, 2010).
Of all the Latin guitar and flamenco-influenced guitar duos in the United States, Strunz and Farah always stood out because of their virtuosity and their captivating melodies. Now, one of its guitarists, Costa Rican Jorge Strunz, has released an extraordinary solo album titled Neotropical Nocturnes. Even though Strunz has an admirable technique, what really stands out about his music is his ability to create superb melodic pieces, with a captivating tropical heart.
"To keep the purity of mood and resonance, I worked with minimal accompaniment,” Strunz notes. “I used a lot of arpeggio passages, which I don’t usually do with the duo.” The arpeggios demanded a different technique, which mean playing without a pick. “I have a good technique with my fingers, though I’m better known for my pick prowess with Strunz & Farah,” he recounts. “For these pieces, I needed classical arpeggios for accompaniment, but played the melodies with pick. This made for a different mood, sometimes vigorous, sometimes pensive, but always highly textured.”
Using his Spanish guitar, Jorge Strunz incorporates Latin American, Spanish classical and flamenco rhythms and essences into his soulful compositions. Although Strunz overdubs his guitar at times, this is not a solo guitar effort. Jorge Strunz is accompanied by several musicians, including his bandmate Ardeshir Farah on guitar; Carlos del Puerto on bass, Jimmy Branly on percussion, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Cameron Stone on cello and Majeed Ghorbanian on Middle Eastern percussion. With this line-up, Strunz adds elements of contemporary jazz, Afro-Latin genres and Middle Eastern rhythms.
"In this recording, the exuberance of tropical nature is a reflection of my earliest inspirations in music,” Strunz reflects. “The lush plant life, the smell of the rains, all that was part of my very early childhood memories in Costa Rica. They form a backdrop to my life experience and music.”
Neotropical Nocturnes is a mesmerizing and impeccable performance by one of the masters of Latin American guitar.
Buy the album or MP3 downloads:
- In North America: Neotropical Nocturnes. Other recordings available: Heat of the Sun, Americas, Desert Guitars, Primal Magic, Live, Stringweave, Wild Muse, Mosaico, Guitarras, Jungle Guitars, Frontera, Rio de Colores, Fantaseo, Zona Torrida
- In Europe: Neotropical Nocturnes. Other recordings available: Americas, Wild Muse, Mosaico, Rio de Colores, Zona Torrida, Stringweave, Desert Guitars, Jungle Guitars
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.