A FESTIVAL OF EMOTION It has been quite a week at A Través, as we opened the Atlanta Flamenco Festival, and it is not possible to capture the excitement of the events in words. Photographs by Erik Voss help in many ways to share the pure emotion that wafted with the music, traveled on swirling dancing hands, and radiated in the warmth of two separate live music venues that graciously presented flamenco in a format that pushed the limits of the arts in Atlanta. We are grateful to the audiences who gathered to witness two new ideas in flamenco in Atlanta, including our festival and the creation by four very talented musicians: Jesús Herndandez, Alfonso Cid, Tim Ferguson, and Mark Holen. On October 13 and 15, 2019, flamenco and jazz music fans filled the house at both Gallery 992 and Red Light Café, respectively, to hear the innovation of New Bojaira, a quartet that has created a new sound by using the rules of jazz to navigate the structure of flamenco. They seamlessly blended familiar sounds of both genres in a journey between Spain and the United States of America. Their fusion is so deep that at times it is difficult to decipher which leg is leading the musical body: the one standing in jazz or the one standing in flamenco, and the listener can only succumb to the pure joy of being swept away by music. Several people who attended the concerts commented that they were impressed by the high level of composition and the sophistication of the music. It is no surprise, given the life-long pursuit of both flamenco and jazz by pianist Jesús Hernandez, who developed the concept for New Bojaira. Through a process of transcontinental networking, he found himself in the company of other musicians who share a deep and long-standing relationship of the two music styles, providing an informed base in which a successful fusion can brew. Much like any concoction that is given time, attention, and practice, this jazz-flamenco fusion took off into the souls of those around them, opening music lovers in Atlanta to see two separate music styles and the birth of a third new sound that reminds us of how the music we make is evolving with our very existence together. The Atlanta Flamenco Festival continues through Nov. 2, 2019, with classes by Sandra Bara and Alejandro Navarro Ponce, as well as a concert by the flamenco company of María del Mar Moreno. Information is at http://www.atlantaflamencofestival.com. Photos copyright: 2019 Erik Voss ” - Julie Moon Galle Baggenstoss

A Través Arts

Jazz and flamenco music each have their own defining characteristics. Growing out of African American communities in New Orleans around the turn of the 20th century, jazz is recognized as a quintessentially American art. Flamenco is the sound of southern Spain, bringing a romantic aesthetic that often extends to the eponymous dance style it birthed. But when brought together, the results can be harmonious.  “Both those musical genres are essentially fusions,” said Jesús Hernández, pianist for New York- and Spain-based New Bojaira. “We find mixed harmonies and rhythms in those two music styles from different origins. It is only logical that they would eventually come together. The group brings its hybrid mix of jazz and fusion to Metropolitan State University of Denver Thursday for a 7:30 p.m. performance in the King Center (free for MSU Denver students, tickets at link); there will also be a 2 p.m. discussion in the MSU Denver Center for Advanced Visualization and Experiential Analysis theatre. MSU Denver’s Honors Program is the primary sponsor, with co-sponsors including the Denver Project for Humanistic Inquiry (D-phi), the Department of Modern Languages, the Department of Music, Undergraduate Studies and the Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership. The event marries the “complex syncretic musical forms” that arose and are sustained with respect to the histories of regions and peoples, said Adam Graves, Ph.D., D-phi director. “This play of tradition and creativity not only delights us, but like all great arts, it also gives voice to dimensions of human existence that might have otherwise remained concealed to us,” he added. “In this way, this music serves as a kind of analogue to humanistic inquiry in general, in both its critical and creative capacities to enrich our lives by shedding light on the sort of beings that we are.” The interdisciplinary confluence fits well with New Bojaira, which incorporates works from writerly giants such as Cervantes and Lorca into its compositions. “Literature and music are both artistic expressions that seek beauty,” Hernández said. “When they go hand in hand, they strengthen one another and can get much deeper the message of what it is being said, the emotion that’s being conveyed.” Experimentation can yield wonderful new results, whether it’s the proto-fusion of these forms found in the airy solos from Miles Davis’ closing modal track on the seminal “Kind of Blue” or the acoustic mastery of Al di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía. The key is a rich dialogue, celebrating the heritage of both forms and the fusion of the new. “Both of them open paths for improvisation and creating spontaneous moods and energies,” Hernández said. “On the other hand, we need to respect the most important traits of each of them.” The Honors Thesis Symposium takes place Dec. 6. See sidebar or click here for more information on D-phi events. ” - Cory Phare

RED. Relevant. Essential. Denver.

ARTS Atlanta Flamenco Festival Blends Genres Through Music And Dance SUMMER EVANS • OCT 15, 2019    From left, Lisa Vash Herman, Lois Reitzes, Jesús Hernández and Tim Ferguson are shown. They discussed the Atlanta Flamenco Festival, which is being held in venues all across Atlanta through Nov. 2.   13:09 | Play story The Atlanta Flamenco Festival brings world-renowned flamenco artists to venues all over Atlanta through Nov. 2. Flamenco is a combination of Spanish, Latin American and African musical and dance influences. “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with Atlanta Flamenco board member and singer Lisa Vash Herman, along with pianist Jesús Hernández and bassist Tim Ferguson– two of the artists in the band New Bojaira. The New Bojaira band will perform at the Red Light Cafe on Oct. 15. (Photo credit: Erik Voss) The band blends jazz with flamenco rhythms in order to create a powerful energy on stage. They will be performing at the Red Light Cafe on Oct. 15. Flamenco artist Rosalía has also become a popular name due to her combination of flamenco with hip-hop music. The blending of several different genres makes her music both universal and inclusive. “I think that she’s keeping it relevant and continuing that multiculturalism that we’ve seen with these flamenco artists at the festival. These bands are continuing to create more contemporary versions [of flamenco music] by keeping it relevant and extending it to today’s youth,” Herman said.         ” - Lois Reitzes

WABE where Atlanta meets NPR

A combination of earthy folk voices and sizzling modern Latin sounds make for rich listening on this album by Jesus Hernandez/p, Tim Ferguson/b, Mark Holen/dr, Alfonse Cid/voc-fl, Peter Brainin/ts-ss and guests Randy Brecke/fh with Sergio Gomez/voc. Brecker locks rich horns with Brainin on the flowing “El Demonio Llama A Mi Puerta” and Gomez’s earthy and fragile voice charms on the folksy ballad “Farruca de Argel.” The rest is a mix of modal and post bop on the salsa side, with Ferguson’s bass creating a rich line for Brainin’s soprano on the artsy “Jaleos Del Geloso Extreemo” and some lovely piano by Hernandez teaming with flute and sax on a sensuous “La Africana.” The team gets fun and festiv on “No Encuento Tu Pasion” and the percussion sizzles on a picante read of the bop chestnut “Round Midinight,” taken as a late night tango, while the team shuffles to a Buleria on “Vente Pa.” Caliente and swinging.” - George W. Harris

Jazz Weekly

Jazz and Spanish Sounds Find Common Ground on New Bojaira's 'Zorongo Blu' 07 Jun 2019 Comprised of seasoned jazz and flamenco musicians, the debut from New Bojaira demonstrates how well genres can merge under experienced hands. ZORONGO BLU NEW BOJAIRA Self-released   Jazz developed as a fusion of musical concepts from around the globe. Essentially a distillation of African rhythms intermingling with European harmonies, much of the genre's growth stemmed from further cross-cultural blending. Dizzy Gillespie and Antonio Carlos Jobim demonstrated what Latin and South American rhythms could add to the sound. Chick Corea made strides showing what Spanish musical culture could add to jazz's already cosmopolitan bent, but it was merely one side of his musical personality. Enter New Bojaira, a quartet dedicated to fusing the nuances of jazz harmonies and flamenco rhythms. Zorongo Blu, the group's debut album, exploits the commonalities between both musical worlds, specifically jazz and flamenco's respective complexities in improvisation and rhythmic nuances. Opening track "El Demonio Llama a Mi Puerta" is a heavy blues number with a sauntering bass line and sinewy solo from guest musician Randy Brecker. Flutist and singer Alfonso Cid takes the first solo, vocalizing an improvisation that crafts a melody with the pinpoint subtleties and microtonal pitches inherent in flamenco song. A lesser ensemble would falter, but New Bojaira's unity and Cid's sensitivity display how well these two musical worlds can merge. Comprised of Cid, pianist Jesús Hernández, bassist Tim Ferguson, and percussionist Mark Holen, New Bojaira are a deft fusion group masked as a traditional jazz combo. Throughout Zorongo Blu jazz and flamenco unite in a natural sensibility, almost as if the genres are interlocking pieces of a greater musical whole. The shifting grooves "La Africana" combines the two worlds without sounding forced or tense, allowing the group (with guest saxophonist Peter Brainin) to let the music speak for itself. In some ways, flamenco and jazz seem like perfect bedmates. Cante jondo is a flamenco-specific concept, literally translated as "deep song", referring to a moment when a singer is so entranced in their performance, so locked in and unified with the muse, that the performance becomes something else entirely, something holy. Guest vocalist Sergio Gomez hits such heights on "Farruca del Argel", a sorrowful ballad that shows how much flamenco singers have in common with the likes of Billie Holiday or Sarah Vaughn. Thelonious Monk's seminal "Round Midnight" is reimagined as a tango, a traditional Spanish rhythm unrelated to the more popular Argentinian tango. The vibe is vastly different from the original–a light, uptempo take as opposed to Monk's introspective ballad–and this refreshing reimagining makes it a high point of the record. Title track "Zorongo Blu" put's Cid's hypnotic vocals front and center, paying off with an ethereal vibe that emotes just as well as any trumpet or sax player would in the same setting.  Not every track dares to break genre conventions. "Green Room" is a straight-ahead swing/Latin number that would sound at home on Joe Henderson's Page One. Nonetheless, it displays how adept and versatile the group is, how they can fit at home in multiple worlds without sounding like a parody of a distant genre. That is what makes Zorongo Blu stand out so well amidst the glut of soulless "world jazz fusion" albums tossed about every year. New Bojaira not only understands the nuances of jazz and Spanish music but also when–and importantly, when not–to use them. An excellent debut from a group of seasoned veterans with a unique musical objective.   ” - Andy Jurik


New Bojaira: Zorongo Blu By Raul da Gama  - May 13, 2019   BUY THIS ALBUM ON AMAZON.COM Jesús Hernández and Alfonso Cid (one half of New Bojaira – the others being bassist Tim Ferguson and drummer Mark Holen) are not – and will not – be the last Spaniards to be drawn in the interminable wake of Federico García Lorca who was seduced by the irresistible and visceral energy of Jazz. If Lorca celebrated his journey with the fascinating volume when bebop was being born in the hands of Bird, Dizzy and Monk with his Poeta en Nueva York, posthumously published in (1940). Jazz, after all, came from a similar bottomless place filled with diabolical harmonic and rhythmic leaps as the duende of Lorca’s poetry. But Lorca was not the only one to be drawn to the dark and mysterious place that produced such a fascinating collision in art. Spain – intrinsically rooted in the African/Moorish traditions – has produced a long line of artists whose arc of creativity has blazed a familiar personal and improvisational trail not dissimilar to the meteoric path of Jazz. The great pianist Chano Domínguez comes to mind easily as does the legendary guitarist Paco de Lucía. Not far behind, in the colourful wake of this tradition, come the musicians of New Bojaira with their magnificent music in Zorongo Blu. If you have a visceral reaction to this repertoire you would not be alone for, like much of the music of artists like Mr Chano Domínguez and Paco de Lucía, it is cast in lapidary perfection that almost transcends the phrenic and enters the realm of the physical. Much of this is owed to the sharp attack of Mr Hernández’s pianism and – perhaps more so – to the rapturous arabesques of Alfonso Cid’s vocals, together with the vocals of Sergio Gómez “El Colorao” (when he is called upon to do so). And make no mistake the richly mysterious mood of Spanish folk forms of flamenco, Soleá Blues, Bulería and Rumba are beautifully sustained in the virile bass lines of Tim Ferguson and thunderous drum colouring of Mark Holen. It bears mention that Randy Brecker is magnificent on “El Demonio Llama a Mi Puerta” and the almost ubiquitous Saxophones of Peter Brainin makes for wholly natural feeling on the climaxes and sudden changes of the music on which he plays. But it is the entire repertoire that is front and centre here. This is music that is vividly atmospheric and creates a genuine sense of supernatural danger, a mood which culminates in the serene but spooky “Zorongo Blu”. On a more seductive note comes the superb rendition of Thelonious Monk’s signature “’Round Midnight”, a luxurious slow and mesmerising version that successfully captivates the listener completely. While the monumental Bulería, “Vente Pa’ Broadway” is a fitting dénouement to an album that is New Bojaira’s classic celebration of the collision of all that is Moorish and Arabic in Spanish music with all that is African and American in Blues and Jazz. Track list – 1: El Demonio Llama a Mi Puerta (Soleá Blues); 2: Jaleos del Celoso Extremeño; 3: La Africana (Guajira); 4: Green Room; 5: Farruca de Argel; 6: ’Round Midnight; 7: Zorongo Blu (Zorongo por Seguiriya); 8: Ese Meneo (Tanguillo); 9: No Encuentro Tu Pasión (Rumba); 10: Vente Pa’ Broadway (Bulería) Personnel – Jesús Hernández: piano; Tim Ferguson: contrabass; Mark Holen: drums, tambourin and darbuka (7); Alfonso Cid: vocals, flute and hand-clapping; Peter Brainin:soprano saxophone (1, 2) and tenor saxophone (3, 4, 6); Randy Brecker: flugelhorn (1); Sergio Gómez “El Colorao”: vocals (5); María de los Ángeles: bailaora Released – 2019Label – IndependentRuntime – 57:28 ” - Raul da Gama

Latin Jazz Network

Here we are on KEXP radio out of Seattle! Check their archives from Darek Mazzone's Wo'Pop on 90.3 KEXP show on April 23rd, 2019. We are in really good company alongside Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil, Soweto Gospel Choir, Ximena Sariñana and Lila Downs! ¡OLEEEE! A great combination of flamenco, jazz and some interesting hard bop styles that I like quite a bit Darek Mazzone. ” - Wo' Pop with Darek Mazzone


¡A todos nuestros amigos y amigas en España y el resto del mundo! Nuestra música sonó en el programa DUENDEANDO, en Radio 3 de Radio Nacional de España. Gracias a su locutor Teo Sánchez por ponernos en las ondas de su programa y en toda España. Lo puedes escuchar aquí, en este enlace, a partir del minuto 48:15. ¡Vámono que nos vamo con los New Bojaira y Duendeando! http://www.rtve.es/…/duendeando/duendeando-28-04-19/5169959/   Duendeando - 28/04/19 ” - Teo Sánchez


We are so happy to announce our song titled “Zorongo Blu” made it to the number one spot of the list on NPR's Alt.Latino Primavera New Music Extravaganza 2019. Thanks very much to Alt. Latino radio show host Felix Contreras. ¡Muchísimas gracias amigo!https://www.npr.org/…/71…/alt-latinos-primavera-extravaganza Spring is a time for renewal, rebirth and new music. (It's a fact — look it up.) A couple of things stood out to me in this batch of new music: the inclusion of both Joni Mitchell and Amy Winehouse as sources of inspiration. Also this week: collaborations! There is a stunning match-up of a female mariachi voice with an R&B pop crooner; and a Latin music icon reaches out to a group of young musicians to continue, and modernize, his groundbreaking, socially conscious musical message.  ” - Felix Contreras

NPR Alt.Latino's Primavera Extravaganza 2019

New York Bojaira Project: noche de flamenco y jazz en Espacio Box por Selu Sánchez Interesante propuesta la que nos traía el pianista granadino, Jesús Hernández, con su New York Bojaira Jazz Flamenco Project, experimento transoceánico resultante de trocar a Manuel Sáez y Álvaro Maldonado, bajista y batería del proyecto original, Bojaira, por los veteranos jazzistas neoyorkinos, Tim Ferguson, contrabajo, y Mark Holen, percusionista. Y si a tan excelente trío sumamos la voz y la flauta de Alfonso Cid, sevillano afincado en los “nuyores” (como él dice) y Marina Elana, bailaora natural de San Francisco que parece que “sa criao” en el Tardón del arte que derrama, tenemos resuelta la fórmula magistral. El primer tema del repertorio, Sueño Alfa, son unos tientos que Jesús Hernández introduce en solitario hasta que Alfonso Cid irrumpe con templanza y duende para abrir camino al resto de la banda, que acompaña a Marina en inspirado baile terminado, como es habitual, por tangos. Buen comienzo con uno de los mejores temas del disco. Tras el segundo tema, una especie de tangos/tanguillos que continúa en la misma línea rítmica, Jesús presenta al grupo y, cambiando de tercio, tocan La Farruca de Argel, basada en una de las famosas Cartas de Cervantes y compuesta por Sergio “El Colorao” y el propio Hernández: una delicia de tema desarrollado sobre un palo flamenco muy poco revisitado en la actualidad. Vuelve a servir de inspiración Cervantes en el siguiente tema: Jaleo del Celoso Extremeño. Basado en una de sus Novelas ejemplares, es una original propuesta que juega con el nombre de la novela, El Celoso Extremeño, y del palo, jaleos extremeños, navegando Alfonso entre soleá y bulerías.  Me suena a Albéniz, homenaje de “flaco” Marc Holen al genial autor español, donde se oyen ecos de sus composiciones, es el tema que da paso al descanso, completando una muy flamenca primera parte. En la segunda parte comienzan aún más inspirados, quizá debido a que la sección rítmica se acerca más a las formas jazzísticas que a las flamencas, mostrando una maestría más natural y consiguiendo mejor cohesión armónica, lo que redunda en enorme beneficio de la voz de Alfonso Cid, que suena más destacada (en algún tema de la primera parte su voz se perdía entre tanta mezcla de instrumentos en “modo” flamenco). Retoman con Camino a Mauá, una preciosa granaina “del nuevo mundo” en la que Jesús consigue aunar sentimiento y virtuosismo, haciendo sonar su piano electrónico como si de una guitarra honda se tratara, acompañando a un Alfonso Cid que afronta uno de los temas más complicados del repertorio. Pero el momentazo de la noche llega con el tema P’atrás, unas seguiriyas donde cada uno de los componentes de este sugerente proyecto pone su granito de arena, destacando cada uno en su solo, para dar paso al más trabajado de los taconeos de Marina Elana, que sabe aunar con soltura el duende y la vanguardia en su particular estilo. Y tras el unánime aplauso del público aún hubo tiempo de un fin de fiestas por rumbas que puso la guinda a la noche de flamenco y jazz. ” - Selu Sánchez-Fotografías de Juan Antonio Gámez


En esta edición de Noticias 2 de Canal Sur TV del 21 de julio de 2017 puedes ver un reportage sobre los New York Bojaira.  Watch a story about the New York Bojaira in this July 21st, 2017 edition of Noticias 2 from Canal Sur TV. ” - María Ruíz Contreras

Canal Sur TV

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