Contemporary Flamenco


Manly Daily – 24 August, 2007

The trouble with a lot of crossover or fusion music is that it sometimes ends up being neither fish nor fowl. The trick is to combine the best of the original with the excitement of the new. This is something five-man Arrebato Ensemble have achieved with their debut self-titled album which mixes flamenco guitar with a variety of influences. The driving forces behind this band are demon guitarist Greg Alfonzetti and cellist/multi-instrumentalist Damian de Boos-Smith. Add the blues harmonica and saxophone of Andrew Poniris, the exotic drums and percussion of Lloyd G and top-notch bassist Dave Ellis and you have a tight, eclectic mixture of sounds and textures.

This is a recording that yields up its many delights gradually and over several listenings. For his part, Alfonzetti is nothing short of spectacular, having studied flamenco with some of the masters. De Boos-Smith is a classically trained cellist, equally at home with guitar, mandolin and other instruments. Highlights are his soulful solo on En soledad and doubling with sax on Moorish-influenced Noches. Even in the slower, jazzier tracks,like Llamando Cuatro, the authentic flame of flamenco is not allowed to waver – it would be easy for this to become superior elevator music but Arrebato avoids this pitfall.


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