Jazz Flamenco 1 & 2
Pedro Iturralde was born in 1929 in Falces, Navarra. He received his first saxophone lessons from his father and soon started to play in all kinds of orchestras and learned a repertoire of popular music which included compositions by Falla, Albéniz, and Granados. His permeability towards local folklore also awakened in him a great interest in the musical traditions of countries such as Lebanon, Turkey and Greece -- places he would visit before turning 30 as part of several orchestras. On his return to Spain, Madrid's Whisky Jazz Club became his artistic residence for years. The German pianist Paul Grassl joined his quartet, and their shared growing interest in flamenco meant that the formation's repertoire opened up to influences from the records of that genre that both were listening to and their frequent visits to concerts and tablaos (flamenco venues). They worked on adaptations of traditional songs, especially those collected by García Lorca, until the favorable reception by public and press of Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain made it possible to do jazz interpretations of "El zorongo gitano," "Las morillas de Jaén," and "El Café de Chinitas," among others, performed at a renowned venue on Marqués de Villamagna street. At that point Pedro Iturralde still performed in a quartet format, comprised of German drummer Peer Wyboris, Swiss bass player Eric Peter, and the aforementioned pianist Paul Grassl, from Munich. The inclusion of a flamenco guitarist was not part of Iturralde's initial plan, who always intended to explore Andalusian traditional melodies rather than pure flamenco. However, it was suggested by the music journalist and producer Joachim Ernest Berendt, a key figure of the German jazz scene, to include a guitarist in the formation. Paco de Antequera, at the time a regular guitarist at the best tablaos in Madrid, was chosen to be part of Iturralde's first recordings for Hispavox in June 1967. But another name replaced him in the recordings that followed in September of that year and later on: Paco de Algeciras, a pseudonym for a young guitarist who couldn't reveal his true identity due to contractual requirements. This enigmatic artist was none other than Paco de Lucía. The sessions for the second Hispavox album were resumed with the extra help of Italy's Dino Piana on trombone. Jazz Flamenco was originally released in 1967, while Jazz Flamenco 2 came out in 1968. Both albums would be compiled on one CD by Blue Note later on, but their vinyl editions have remained in the exclusive record collecting circuit for years, with prices that match the most sought-after Spanish records. This reissue not only makes both albums easily available again, but also rescues with the highest quality these essential recordings of Spain's jazz history. Liner notes by genre expert Javi Bayo.