Pianist and composer Chano Dominguez, one of the essential innovators of flamenco jazz, and will be touring the West Coast of the United States in May and June. Chano discusses his music and the upcoming tour with World Music Central.
How did you come into contact with flamenco, rock and jazz?
Flamenco was played at my house in a pickup my dad had, rock came through my older brother who listened to groups like Emerson Lake and Palmer, Genesis, Yes and others, then the Beatles, and jazz came through the radio station at the US naval base in Rota.
What repertoire will you be performing during your upcoming American tour?
We will mainly play the repertoire of the album Flamenco Sketches, which are all Miles Davis songs adapted to flamenco rhythms, but with all the freedom that Miles was looking for in his music
What’s your current band lineup and how did you come into contact with the band members?
On this occasion I have the pleasure of having Alexis Cuadrado on the double bass, a Catalan musician who has lived in New York for more than 20 years, and on drums, the prodigious Henry Cole, a percussionist from Puerto Rico who has also been living in New York for more than a decade.
From Spain there is flamenco cantaor (singer) Blas Cordoba on vocals and palmas. He’s been my cantaor for more than 20 years in all my albums; and dancer Daniel Navarro, a virtuoso of foot percussion and a fantastic elegant dancer.
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
Who can you quote as your main musical influences?
There are many but Paco de Lucía is my biggest influence along with Bill Evans.
Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
This year I book my 40 career as a music professional. It all started in 1978 with my first project the Andalusian rock group Cai.
I think since then I have been mixing flamenco rhythms with everything that has influenced me, rock, classical, jazz, etc.
You grew up and lived in Spain for many years. How did you end up in Seattle and now in New York City?
Especially to give my children an opportunity to get to know other cultures and to develop in another country since in my own it seems that the economic situation is not going to change and also to develop my work where the cradle of this music is located, I think it is important to spread this way of understanding jazz and flamenco together and here I have the opportunity to do it in schools and universities.
Are you still connected to the Spanish flamenco jazz scene?
Yes, in fact on June 10, I’ll play with my flamenco quartet at the flamenco festival in Madrid.
Although your main instrument is the piano, you started playing electronic keyboards. Do you still have electronic keyboards and do you plan to use them in the future?
Yes, I still have my keyboards and play them. A few years ago I recorded a project for Verve that was called NFS, new flamenco Sound. In that work I played keyboards too.
I still have interest in playing other instruments such as the guitar, the vibraphone or the drums.
If you could gather musicians or musical groups to collaborate with whom would that be?
I would love to have a good concert tour with my original trio with which we have worked for more than 15 years. To me they are part of this language that we have invented between these two cultures. Javier Colina and Guillermo MCgill are the musicians that I would put together for some good concerts.
Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
I just recorded a project for brass quintet, percussion and piano. It’s my compositions arranged by me for this project. I am lucky to have the best brass quintet from my country, Spanish Brass and we hope to tour the United States next year with this project.
For more information about Chano and his discography, go to artist-profiles-chano-dominguez