Ventana Abierta is an ideal art and culture organization in Nerja, Spain. They organize opera nights, wine tasting with flamenco, classical concerts and jazz concerts. I have attended a few of these, and I am struck by the high quality of the Spanish musicians I have seen. On Saturday night I saw Chapi Pineda Trio, with acoustic guitar, piano and percussion, and I got my eyes and ears opened to a musical mix of jazz, flamenco and South American bossa nova played by three virtuoso musicians.
Chapi Pineda lives in Cordoba and has been playing his music for many years. He plays acoustic nylon string guitar, and has a fantastic technique, and at the same time a feeling for what he is playing. He is a fan and friend of John McLaughlin, and is also often compared with the late Paco di Lucia. His fellow musicians in the trio are equally virtuso – Angel Andres Muñoz on piano and Manuel Luque on percussion. The last time I saw a drummer like him, was when I saw Trilok Gurtu play with Jan Garbarek.
The concert on Saturday was held in a bar in Nerja, a really exclusive happening for everyone who was there. The band played music by Antõnio Carlos Jobim, Spain by Chick Corea, Chapi Pinedas own songs, they played a fantastic version of One Note Samba as a flamenco, and a homage to John McLaughlin and to Charles Mingus. As diverse as it can get, but it worked really well.
The musicians in the trio are all the kind of musicians where you never fear that they will play something wrong, however fast they play. Pianist Angel Andres Muños plays with a feeling for harmony and he also plays bass on the keyboard. Manuel Luque plays with his hands and sticks, and his drumset is a mix of hand drums, cymbals, rhythm instruments that he plays with his left foot, plus a cajón and a regular snare drum.
One of my own favorite jazz groups is Return to Forever, with Chick Corea as the leader and composer. And as a former flautist, the song Spain is of course a favorite. I have heard it performed in many different ways, but played by these three musicians is so far my favorite alternative version to Chick Corea’s.
Unfortunately there are no albums with Chapi Pineda or his trio for sale or on Spotify. But there are a few videos on YouTube and here is their version of one of the songs they played at the concert, Buleria, composed by Chapi Pineda. I hope I will get more chances to see the trio, they would be a perfect band for many open minded jazz festivals.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.