During pop great Dionne Warwick’s show at the Solaire in February of 2018, she reminded the audience that the currency with which performing artists deal – aside from money and acclaim — is applause.
“It is an appreciation of their art,” Warwick said. “It nourishes our soul and tells us that we are doing something right.”
That being the case, the Don Soledad Flamenco Trio’s performance at the Tago Jazz Café in Cubao last Sunday evening, October 1, arguably makes this the best received show of 2023 in this country’s only full-time jazz club.
While it is most certainly appreciated, flamenco isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Sunday evening, the crowd showered the band with their appreciation. Smiles beamed on everyone’s faces all night long – as if a fortuitous and wondrous discovery — and the applause lasted longer than usual. This is from a Tago Jazz Café habitué who is a journalist to boot, hence, the powers of observation.
It wasn’t just the dexterity of Filipino-American Don Soledad; it was also his accompanying band that infused this traditional Spanish music with a modern jazz sensibility. In short, it was sweet and beautiful as if it touched a part of your soul.
Violinist and Berklee alumnus Tanner Johnson and keyboardist John Olearchick with guest musicians percussionist Jacques Dufort and the country’s only flamenco guitarist Miguel Nañawa delivered a sensational show.
Johnson’s violin work is sensitive and occasionally playful. Along with the mirth of Olearchick’s keyboards, it adds a bounciness to their brand of flamenco.
Some of the songs were not rehearsed, but because jazz is such a feel music with the subtle nuances in changes of key and a tap here, a strum there, they know where to go.
Soleded, Manila-born, but moving to the United States at a very early age, is a child of the world having grown up and lived in as many as four major cities.
The music is Spanish, the jazz is American, and the brush strokes of home in Manila find their way into several beautiful originals such as “Intramuros.” It’s a mélange of bright colors. A delectable delight where you want more.
I came away thinking that the P500 cover charge was a steal. I would pay more.
The next time the Don Soledad Flamenco Trio comes to town, do yourself a favor and check them out. It is an evening well spent and you’ll be thinking of the performance for a bit of time.
Image credits: Rick Olivares