FAME Review: Gregg Duncan - Chicago, Barcelona Connections
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Gregg Duncan - Chicago, Barcelona Connections

Chicago, Barcelona Connections

Gregg Duncan

New Origins Records 001

Available from Gregg Duncan's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

The odd title to this CD indicates just as strange an inspiration, but one that's as intriguing as hell and succeeds here in a way that'll have you scratching your head while smiling seraphically and bopping along with the great tunes. Gregg Duncan, trumpeter and flugelhorn player, has been a bit irked that flamenco, despite the commoner guitar modes seeing a degree of popular revival over the last couple decades, was nonetheless being neglected. As he cites, there are quite a few flamenco modalities, and even though Corea and others addressed the basic style well, there was a whole 'nother world to it, one he wanted to bring into the intellectual playground. He was determined to drag the larger scenario back out into the light. In so doing, he's created a horn-based version of it all that's striking and a lot boppier than you might expect.

Expect a good deal of CTI and Blue Note along with the more exotic understructures, as Chicago, Barcelona Connections is often reminiscent of Freddy Hubbard's delicious old explorations. Too, because the methods and manners here are so orthodoxly unorthodox, no jazz buff will miss the Miles Davis comparisons…not of Sketches of Spain particularly, though that's here as well, but of that time right when Miles was transitioning between his trad/bop style and the inrushing fusion he'd momentarily initiate. Chicago has the same feel of a peak being ridden. The sextet Duncan chose is superb, integrated like a well-oiled machine and quite familiar with history of the source of the trumpeter's attentions, saxist Corbin Andrick and bassist Patrick Mulcahy particularly standing out. Then, of course, there's Stewart Mindeman cutting lose on the piano during Poinciana as well as abundant percussion everywhere. What's really surprising, though, is the thorough authority with which this young ensemble plays. Very very talented people.

Patricia Ortega sits in on vocals in La Tumbona for a spirited and much more familiar invocation, and if you seem to detect an essence of bolero in it all, don't feel alone, so do I. Bolero's another Latinate style and has historically distinctive Spanish and Cuban forms, so we've become somewhat accustomed to it all, even when not quite knowing it, through many influences down the years, well beyond Ravel's famed workout. Through it all, Duncan's a truly fine player well contrasted by Andrick, the two deftly underscored by the remainder of the band, and it matters little whether you purposely seek out flamenco stylings or not, because this is just great solid jazz. On the other hand, if you discover yourself with a cocked head and a puzzled mien more than once…welcome to the club, brother. I've listened to the disc three times and still can't quite figure out what that mystery element is that exerts such a pull, but, man, what a righteous ride.

Track List:

  • De Camino (Perico Sambeat)
  • Procedencia (Greg Duncan)
  • La Tumbona (Paco de Lucia)
  • Poinciana (Simon / Bernier)
  • Correveidile (Ojos de Brujo)
  • Straighten Up (Greg Duncan)
  • Reality Versus Myth (Greg Duncan)
  • Romance Anonimo (traditional)
  • Spanish Life (Greg Duncan)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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