Finding The Swing In Flamenco Jazz: Alex Conde Performing Zyriab

by chipboaz on May 4, 2017

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The goal of any good jazz musician is finding the swing in the music, regardless of style or context. We often consider the word swing a stylistic trait associated with straight ahead jazz, but in this case, we need to think bigger picture. It’s not just a rhythm played on a drum kit; instead, we’re going to consider the idea of swing to be associated with the overall feel of the music. Swing relates strongly to the rhythmic aspect of the music, but in reality, it means so much more – it connects with the phrasing of melodies, the movement of the harmony, changes in texture, and so much more. All these things reside in every type of music, meaning that every style has it’s unique swing. The swing of the music is a little different as you switch between genres, but it’s always there. Swing is an all encompassing idea that sits at the root of any jazz performance, which makes it an essential element for any musician digging into the style.

Pianist Alex Conde has spent the better part of his life finding the swing in different types of music and resultantly creating some great works that bring out the best in any genre. Growing up in Spain, Conde studied classical music at the Jose Iturbi Conservatory Of Music in Valencia and jazz at el Liceu de Barcelona. From there, he traveled to the United States, arriving at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston, where he dived deep into jazz performance. After graduation, Conde made a home in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he established himself in both jazz and Flamenco music circles. His insight into the particular swing of both jazz and Flamenco led to his distinct blend of the two musics, which he has displayed on several albums, including Barrio del Carmen and Descarga for Monk. There’s ample swing on display in today’s video, where Conde performs Paco de Lucia’s “Zyriab” with bandmates Jeff Chambers, John Santos, and marlon aldana, blending jazz and flamenco music with a classy enthusiasm.

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