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Juilliard Jazz Ensembles Present "Flamenco Music", Guest Coached by Chano Dominguez, at Paul Recital Hall
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Juilliard Jazz Ensembles Present "Flamenco Music", Guest Coached by Chano Dominguez, at Paul Recital Hall

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Juilliard Jazz Ensembles
(Juilliard Jazz Web Page)

Flamenco Music

Chano Domínguez, Guest Coach

Ensemble Coaches:
Elio Villafranca (C) and Bruce Williams (E)

Juilliard Jazz Ensemble C:
Julian Lee, Tenor Saxophone
Gabriel Medd, Trumpet
Jeffery Miller, Trombone
Gabriel Schneider, Guitar
Russell Hall, Bass
Taber Gable, Piano
Micah Thomas, Piano
Charles Goold, Drums

Juilliard Jazz Ensemble E:
Dean Tsur, Tenor and Soprano Saxophones
Noah Halpern, Trumpet
Samuel Chess, Trombone
Lake Jiroudek, Guitar
Mathis Picard, Piano
Paul Bloom, Piano
Kanoa Mendenhall, Bass
Jared Silverstein, Drums

Special Guest: Jose Moreno
Flamenco Dance and Cajón

Paul Recital Hall
155 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

Media Relations: Gloria Gottschalk

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 23, 2015

Over and over, the student jazz musicians, invited to announce tonight’s Juilliard Jazz Ensembles, paid tribute to their Guest Coach of this "Flamenco Music" program, Chano Domínguez. Mr. Domínguez, a guitarist, pianist, and composer, fuses flamenco rhythms with jazz, tangos, tanguillos, alegrías, fandangos, soléas, and compás de bulerías. He formed his own trio and has also appeared or collaborated with renowned jazz leaders, like Wynton Marsalis and Joe Lovano. Mr. Domínguez, from Spain, won a Grammy for work on a movie soundtrack, Calle 54. The two Coaches of Ensemble C and Ensemble E, Elio Villafranca, pianist (who has been favorably reviewed multiple times on these pages), and Bruce Williams, saxophonist (favorably reviewed at Dizzy’s Club in 2011), greeted me before the concert, as did Aaron Flagg, Chair and Associate Director of Juilliard Jazz, who welcomed the audience at the packed Paul Hall.

Ensemble C opened with Manuel de Falla’s “Canción del fuego fatuo” (“Song of the will-o’-the-wisp”). Gabriel Schneider’s exotic guitar introduced the music, along with Jared Silverstein on drums. Taber Gable’s bluesy piano and Gabriel Medd’s soulful trumpet expanded the dissonant theme. Jose Moreno, on cajón, added percussive syncopation. Suddenly Jeffery Miller seized the theme, with trombone mastery, before the guitar kicked it up a notch, with rapid flamenco rhythms. Mr. Moreno took the stage on a dance platform and brought life to the rhythms with his percussive heels. “Evidence”, by Thelonius Monk, opened with staccato piano and a fused ensemble. Micah Thomas, on rambunctious, edgy piano, kept the theme fascinating, before Julian Lee, on tenor sax, infused some urban, soaring motifs. Throughout, Russell Hall, on bass, performed with smooth, earthy tones and extra percussive effects.

“La Tarara”, a traditional tune, arranged by Mr. Domínguez, brought back Taber Gable on piano, with way more than interludes. This piece had a lovely melody, with all three musicians on brass - saxophone, trumpet, and trombone – carrying the infectious tune, expanded by Mr. Gable’s commanding chords. Soon Mr. Lee, on tenor sax, went wild, far from the original theme. The final piece in this first set was Chano Domínguez’ “Bulería del Garraf”, opening with a wild, flamenco tune, with Mr. Thomas and Mr. Gable on piano and electric keyboard. Everyone was onstage, with Mr. Miller grabbing the theme on trombone, before a guitar-cajón duet. Then drums and cajón presented the next duet, in blended flamenco jazz. On the keyboard, a full string orchestral backdrop ensued, making time for a piano finale.

After intermission, Ensemble E appeared, with Jared Silverstein and Jose Moreno returning on drums and cajón. Lake Jiroudek, on guitar, opened the Miles Davis/Bill Evans standard, “Blue in Green”. This piece was vivacious, with a riveting trumpet solo, by Noah Halpern. It was impressive to me, having reviewed dozens of flamenco dance and music events through the years, that the ensemble knew how to morph into “palmeras” (clapping, flamenco rhythms as added percussion), when they were not featured musically, in the moment. Paul Bloom, on piano, was especially charged. In Mr. Domínguez’ “Mr. C.I.”, the palmeras were quite busy, and all in sync, with a special thanks to Mathis Picard on piano. I noted that Mr. Halpern, on trumpet, added a professionally smooth, brassy finale. Miles Davis’ “Freddy Freeloader”, punctuated in clavé tempos, brought out Mr. Silverstein, featuring the metal edges of his drums and all the palmeras. I noticed hints of Bernstein in the musical phrases. Dean Tsur, taking out his soprano sax, along with Samuel Chess on trombone and Mr. Halpern on trumpet, brought this piece to new tonalities, when Mr. Jiroudek, on guitar, made the rhythm contagious. Mathis Picard, on piano, caught the musical fervor.

“New Soléa”, by Mr. Domínguez, opened with Samuel Chess’ cacophonous and masterful trombone. He produced professional “warbling” vibrations in the ebullient spotlight of his solo. For the program’s finale, Mr. Domínguez’ “Tangos del Garraf” brought back Mr. Bloom on piano with the full ensemble. Dean Tsur, on tenor sax, captivated the listener. Kanoa Mendenhall, the sole woman appearing tonight, was on bass, and she was astounding. Her brief riff showed she has a bright future, as do all of the youthful musicians in tonight’s two ensembles. Once again, Mr. Chess appeared, taking an extensive trombone riff on the theme. This wasn’t exactly Piazzolla tango genre, but I could hear fragments of the Argentinean genre woven through the theme. Jose Moreno danced a gripping flamenco, taking time to twirl his wrists, spin in place, stomp his heels in rhythmic abandon, and add a visual layer to the music. And, of course, the palmeras were out in full force. Kudos to all.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at