Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gino d’Auri: The Baddest Guitarist You Never Heard…Yet

...I was chatting with a friend online in Spain last night and we came across the subject of Flamenco dancing; music and it jogged my memory abo
ut a post that I did months ago on my music blog and forgot to link back to on here for whatever reason...I think it's tale that should be told, so I'll post the original in it's entirety here...

...great stories I find buried in my scribbled notes (transcribed from post-its and bar napkins sometimes) is why I always tell my friends/ readers of my blogs never forget to write shit down…I’d forgotten all about this encounter with a great musician I’d had about five years ago, back when I scribed for a long defunct eZine called AtomicLife…I was over in Los Feliz and got an impulsive jones for some Spanish music, I was sitting in the Good Luck Bar (enjoying an after work oat soda, natch) and decided to walk down the street to El Cid, this Flamenco Dinner Theater a couple of blocks up, over on Sunset…(I used to frequent the joint when I first got back from NYC because it reminded me of a hole in the wall tapas bar west of 8th Ave. that I used to haunt back there)...the tapas were ok but the Sangria and the dancing is what puts the jam in your jelly donut…so I cross the street, walk over to the restaurant and order a glass of freshly mixed Sangria and begin to wait for the floor show when this wiry, olive-skinned guy walked in and sat on a stool next to me. He ordered what I was having and we raised our glasses with a salut, I noticed he had an acoustic guitar case so I asked him if he was playing and it turned out he was, I also picked up on a thick Italian accent and his English was kinda choppy so I took the liberty to start speaking to him in Spanish and things really took off from there…

 turns out that this wild-eyed Italian was none other than Gino d’Auri, pictured at the header, one of the flamenco guitar greats along the lines of Paco de Lucia (whom d’Auri had played with often and was a friend of his since 1973… (I've written about Paco before here, on my music blog... Gino pointed me to other acts to check like Calo, deFalla and this Indian outfit called Gipsy Unstatia…then, at about our fourth glass of the red stuff, d’Auri delved into what to really listen for in a flamenco song, which I wrote down and will quote here word for word: “In playing flamenco, I search for the ‘cosmic clap’ [great word], the innate pulse that every musician strives for while playing his instrument,” he continued in Spanish. “Some say it’s ‘duende’ or the little devil, the word inspiration isn’t specific enough, and it comes by but briefly in a ‘pelizco’ or an infinitesimal moment.” ...Dude moved to LA in 1967 (from his mouth, not AMG ’s), began making the acoustic rounds and later started recording music with the fusion band Caldera…I see here on these badly scribbled notes from the convo [it quickly dawned on me to start writing down the shit he was dropping on me because it was profound and sincere ]’s a quote I found:”These days, many people think that flamenco is about playing 60,000 notes as quickly as possible…my flamenco (playing) is slower, very traditional and down to earth—I may use cello and percussion but it’s done in a traditional way, without lots of notes. For me, the music is about feeling and improvisation. I like to take chances—the communication is better that way”...just above this paragraph is the cover of his 1997 solo LP Flamenco: Passion & Soul which I had on tape but not on mp3…click the link to take a listen…

...Good stuff, yo…Gino gave me his phone number to call him if I was ever in the area again and he’d hook me up…shit, I’d forgotten all about this stuff because I put it in the back of a journal that night which filled it and I started a fresh one the next day…I wonder what Gino’s up to now…he got up from our little impromptu interview, got up on the stage in the other room and rocked the spot for hours as the dancers stomped all around the stage, throwing those frills, kicking those heels and proudly clicking castanets- sweetness…what a night…the whole thing the result of following my muse’s whim—one of those reasons why I don’t dis the musical ju-ju…I find, I’m losing my ability to hablo the ‘spanyole as well as I used to (need to get on that) but I’ve also found that my love for music like this and musicians like Gino and Paco has not ebbed in the slightest…here’s a cut by Paco from 1986’s groundbreaking LP Entre Dos Aguas called “La Nina de Puerta Oscura”’s fuckin’ brilliant…

Note: I looked up the number that Gino had given me but it was no longer working…I looked around the day I originally wrote the piece above and found out that d'Auri had passed two months beforehand, at the end of January, still doing what he loved to do…damn…I’m glad I met the guy….

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Blogger Anthony said...

Too bad you couldn't direct insert D'Auri rocking Barrio San Miguel... nothing against La Nia de Puerta Oscura but in comparison, that 30 second clip of D'Auri has an extra level of intensity to it... especially that little break where the bass notes on the guitar move... sweet!

1:42 PM, August 19, 2007  

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