Contemporary Flamenco


Australian Stage On Line – 27 June 2008

Written by Lloyd Bradford (Brad) Syke

……………down to the business of the evening: contemporary adaptations of classic (al) flamenco rhythms, figures, motifs, characteristics and idiosyncrasies, that crossover, fluidly and unselfconsciously, into jazz & world.

Arrebato, we’re told, translates from rarely-used Spanish as ‘a sudden & intense burst of emotion’, of which I experienced more than a few, if not a continuous gush, across two blissful sets…………..awe for the all-round superlative musicianship in evidence.

Alfonzetti’s technique is blindingly good enough to knock the socks off the most demanding and hypercritical aficionado, while stepping beyond even that into his own stylistic realm. Profoundly dramatic, dynamic and, almost incongruously, subtle and sensitive (such is the sublime paradox of flamenco), his compositions span the gamut of Latino emotions; from unbridled lust to aching heartbreak………………

‘Twas impossible to separate so very many affecting moments of veritable genius.

Damian De Boos-Smith, effectively co-leader of the ensemble, astonishes with his cello; on this occasion, particularly, due to the unwellness of scheduled violinist Maja Pertovski, taking her parts, as well! His oud playing is among the finest & most tasteful that’s met my ears; as restrained & inventive as his mandolin. Moreover, the oud is a somewhat surprisingly compatible bedfellow to the Spanish guitar.

It wouldn’t be hard to find a more sympathetic percussionist than Lloyd G; it’d be practically bloody impossible.

Dave Ellis is the quintessentially brilliant, if largely unheralded, jazz bassist; eeking out some beautiful chords, for one piece, especially.

Andrew Poniris is a similarly neglected saxophonist; taking his moments to dizzying heights of playful, witty, improvisational virtuosity. He well-deserves more than 15 minutes of fame.

Special guest, Adriana Rodriguez amply embodies all the charm, power, nuance and grace of the contemporary dancer, while Rafael Alcolea sings up a storm, if not a tsunami of pain and passion.

Arrebato fires the imagination, soothes the savage beast & stirs the soul.


Venue: The Vanguard, 42 King Street, Newtown NSW

Date: Thursday 26 June 2008


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