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Niño Josele

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Customer Reviews

A splendidly blended mix of influences

Given that some of flamenco's older heritage comes from the arab world, and some of its newer influences are coming from jazz, it should be of little surprise that a flamenco artist, in messing around with influences, invites into his album both "modern" jazz tunes, as well as North African folk artists. In his rendition of the jazz tune "Beautiful Love," (re-titled, "Miel, canela y yerbagüena,") he performs a trio with Israel Sandoval on electric guitar, and Paquete on mandolin. In addition to that, old Moroccan folk rhythms step into the limelight, for a tune called Zawiya.

Some of the truer flamenco moments shine through on this self-titled album, including "Cosas de Amores," a tune with master vocalist Enrique Morente, citing words apparently by early 20th century Spanish poet Manuel Machado. The song isn't performed without a touch of jazz sensibilities: Niño's solo fires through passages stunningly, utilizing the peculiarity of the whole-tone scale -- a scale utilized by Josele also in his 2001 release, "El Sorbo," with jazz producer Javier Limón.

Leaning on the more flamenco side of things is, "Llanto de Sal," which has wonderful moments of jazzy approaching chords and a wanderlust in its chord progression, and "Estirpe," a buleria featuring another wonderful cantaor, Guadiana.

After this album, Josele's experimentation with jazz would find him doing whole jazz albums, like "Paz" in 2007, which shows him working with a large portion of jazz pianist Bill Evans's repertoire. Depending on which side of the fence you're on, the strength (or the fault) of Niño Josele's self-titled album may be that he worked so much out of the context of traditional flamenco. This may be received as a problem for someone wanting a traditional repertoire from a great player, but one has to consider: all the new ideas that players might later incorporate into their tradition in a more natural way need to come from somewhere. Certainly the success of Paco de Lucia's work "Cositas Buenas" with Javier Limon is an indication that audiences loved the new approach in the traditional context. Perhaps then we should appreciate what the musical explorer does in their journey, and enjoy watching them go along their way, rather than cling to our own expectations of what their individual art is. Besides, if the album seems too unapproachable... there's always Ottmar Liebert.


Genre: Latino

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The neo-flamenco guitarist Niño Josele, born Juan Jose Heredia in Almería in 1974, comes from a long line of traditional Spanish musicians and, like most children born to musical families, started playing as a child. Unlike his forebears, though, he has made a trademark of versatility, especially since the 2006 release of Paz, his critically lauded dedication to the jazz pianist Bill Evans. With contributions from such jazz luminaries as Joe Lavano and Marc Johnson, Paz, a collection of reconfigured...
Full Bio
Niño Josele, Niño Josele
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  • $7.99
  • Genres: Latino, Music
  • Released: Feb 13, 2003

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