Greg Duncan would appear to be a musical sponge with his latest release CHICAGO BARCELONA CONNECTIONS as the musical by product of his time spent living in Spain between 2009 and 2010. Duncan may also have released one of the handful of records that could easily fit the sleeper of the year category.
Duncan contributes four solid originals that fit in perfectly with the flamenco music he was exposed to during his musical odyssey in Spain. As a working musician Greg Duncan refers to himself as a "Euro-American" but in these political correct times this is out of necessity as a great many artists are forced to look overseas for work, seasoning and to broaden their own artistic voice and Duncan seems to have more than accomplished his mission. Duncan's tone, phrasing and articulated instrumental performances are second to none.
To make this ambitious project a reality Duncan utilizes his own Chicago based quintet along with two additional musicians namely Patricia Ortega and Javier Saume to insure a perfect blend of styles with the end result a smoldering Spanish undercurrent to a rock solid band with chops to spare! Opening with the beautiful "De Camino" Duncan and his band take flight with that syncopated flair and infectious Spanish flavor guaranteed to turn some heads. "Poinciana" is a gorgeous ballad dialed down to allow for the ensemble to play within itself. Look hard, there is not a self indulgent bent towards turning this into a blowing session which could have been the downfall of a lesser talent. Duncan's original "Straighten Up" is a nice tight swing tune, lyrically driven but showing the bands ability to change things up on the fly as needed. While all the participant turn in great performances, saxophonist Corbin Andrick is certainly the real deal and a name to remember along with Duncan's.
The one common misconception is that Flamenco jazz and Latin jazz are one in the same, first cousins at best. While Latin jazz is wildly popular here in the states, Flamenco jazz is seemingly in the witness protection program and hopefully the prodigious talents of Greg Duncan can shine a laser beam on some of the most inventive and engaging music. Chick Corea and Jerry Gonzalez have done a masterful job in blending Flamenco jazz in with other sub genres for their own unique interpretation, Duncan is a bit more straight ahead in his approach and the authenticity is a breath of a fresh air.
Tracks: De Camino; Procedencia; La Tumbona; Poinciana; Correveidile/Run Go Tell; Straighten Up; Reality versus Myth; Romance Antonio; Spanish Swing.
Personnel: Greg Duncan: trumpet, flugelhorn; Corbin Andrick: alto sax, tenor sax; Stuart Mindeman: piano, fender rhodes; Jon Deitemyer: drums, percussion; Patrick Mulcahy: acoustic and electric bass; Javier Saume: cajon; Patricia Ortega: vocals; Patricia Ortega, Greg Duncan: palmas.