The music series at Enzo might be the best kept secret on the San Mateo coast. Saturday’s concert by Stevan Pasero and Richard Patterson showed why.
Pasero and Patterson are both very accomplished musicians in their own right. Richard Patterson also is the director of the Omni Concert Series which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Richard’s maininfluences are classical Spanish guitar, where Stevan seems to have a wide variety of influences including Bosa Nova, Tango and Jazz. Together it is a wonderful hybrid.
Their performance at Enzo was mostly Latin American music and even the maluguena was the classic Maleguena by Lecuomo, a Cuban. The set included a Bosa Nova sequence, pieces from Venezuela, Cuba and Argentine Tangos. The Tangos ware possibly in honor of Mauro, our host and the driving force behind Enzo. Mauro is Argentine. I loved every piece.
What really makes this special though is the venue and the whole experience. Picture 40 of your close and new found friends, getting together for wine and a delicious meal at a house on the beach followed by a private concert by two of the best Spanish guitarists you have ever heard. It doesn’t get any better in my book.
I just got around to uploading a set of photos taken last summer to Flickr. This one was special. It is from the Lyle Lovett concert at the Paolo Soleri amphitheatre in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Lyle was playing with the large band and the show started just before dusk. That is Lyle in the Camel colored suit. He is a dapper fellow.
The show started just before dusk and it was one of those magical Northern New Mexico evenings where the sky is exploding with thunder and lightening and vertical rainbows. This shot captures a bit of that magic.
A great flamenco band at the Scottsdale Hyatt Regency.
A couple of weeks ago we spent a long weekend in Scottsdale Arizona. Not that California winters are all that bad, but we had heard good things about Scottsdale in the winter. So off we went to check it out.
We went with reservations for dinner at a couple of highly regarded restaurants in the area. The Vu Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency is one and for good reason. We had a fantastic meal there.
What we didn’t know about the Hyatt is that the hotel lobby bar comes alive with Flamenco music on the weekends. A band called Mosaico Flamenco plays there and they are the real deal. The singer and guitarist knows the old school flamenco as well as nuevo flamenco. There is a second guitarist that has a different, less traditional style. There is nothing like the sound of two guitars. They played a soulful Solea followed by Bamblaya, so they cover a lot of ground. About half way through their set, they were joined by a local dancer named Julia Chacon. Julia and her male partner were very good, but the music stole the show.
Flamenco guitars, the moon over the desert. It almost felt like Andalucia. OK, well it really felt nothing like Andalucia but if you closed your eyes …
I started up lessons again with Mariano on January 5th. I was surprised that he was able to hold my old time open. That is too cool.
I’ve already discovered something pretty interesting. As you would expect I’m really rusty and have forgotten many things that I knew by memory. In particular, songs and riffs that I picked up last year are all pretty fuzzy. But the surprising thing is that I am actually improved on some songs that I have been playing for years.
For example, La Farruca. Mariano tracks proficiency on a 1-10 scale where “only God gets a perfect 10” and 7.5 – 8 is a minimum for a professional musician. For the longest time my grade for Farruca has been hovering at 6. But during my first lesson back I played it and Mariano gave me a very strong 7. I have been practicing but didn’t expect this kind of an improvement.
I think maybe it has something to do with changing my approach to the piece. The Farruca was the first complete flamanco piece I learned. Over time, it has become somewhat mechanical to me so I never really developed the feeling and nuances that the song deserves. Taking a break like this definately forced me to break any mechanical habits I had developed. I didn’t really forget the song, I just forgot enough about how I played it to make me figure that out again.
I need to start my lessons again.
I stopped my lessons with Mariano when we left on our big cross country bicycle adventure. Since the weight we carried was a big issue, I wasn’t able to take a guitar. Even a small travel guitar was out of the question. So, I wasn’t able to play at all for four months. I thought I would forget everything I knew.
We I only forgot about half of what I knew as it turned out. Since we have been back, I have been playing again but I just can’t seem to get back into a regular pattern of practicing. And I still have not re-started my lessons with Mariano.
I wanted to get back to where I was before the trip before starting lessons again. However, I have found that taking lessons forces me to play more. I don’t know if it is the challenge of the lessons, the joy of learning new things or the feeling of obligation to practice since you are paying for lessons. Probably for me it is some combination of the three.
In any case, it is time to start again. Soon.
I found a photo of my guitar on the Conde Hermanos site.
Well, mine is a 1986 version, but some things don’t change much. And I mean that in a very good way. The Hermanos Conde are nephews of the great Spanish guitar maker Esteso. Flamencoheads normally just call them “Los sobrinos” or “the nephews”. They still make a guitar using his original designs that is easily identified by the signature Esteso head on the guitar.
You can find the English version of their site here.