Born and raised in Cadiz, this remarkable Spanish pianist recently moved his family to Seattle, adding a flamenco touch to our outstanding musical scene. “I have played in so many places around the world and in the USA, and for me, Seattle is one of the most wonderful cities. We are very happy to be here,” he says.
“I grew up in a poor family in the south of Spain, in Andalusia. It was hard, because I didn’t have an instrument, and I cried every year for a flamenco guitar. I finally got a guitar when I was eight years old, and I started playing the music of the city of Cadiz, where flamenco was born. So that was my first instrument. But when I was a teenager, I discovered the music of Weather Report, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Return to Forever, and I started to play keyboards and to transcribe from the records. They were my first jazz teachers.”
Chano was already a star in Europe when he made his appearance in Fernando Trueba’s 2001 film Calle 54, which introduced him to American audiences. He won a Latin Grammy for his part of the soundtrack for that movie, and his 2012 Blue Note recording Flamenco Sketches was Grammy nominated for Best Latin Jazz album.
“Flamenco Sketches was recorded in the Jazz Standard club in New York. It was a great experience for me to play the Miles Davis music I’d been listening to for 30 years, to play it in the way I like to play my own music, with the flamenco rhythms like bulería, soleá, tanguillo or tango, in the flavor of my childhood.”
His most recent recording is with flamenco guitarist Niño Josele. It’s a collection of melodic standards by Michel LeGrand, Henry Mancini and others “with the flamenco blend inside.” Another CD releasing soon is Chano with Europe’s premier big band, the WDR Big Band. Chano composed all new music for the band, and he’s very excited about the recording.
For his Earshot Jazz Festival première, he wants to “show the music I’m doing now as well as the music I’ve done in the last 30 years. So selections from my recordings from 1993 forward, selecting the songs that are most important to me.”
Chano is delighted to have talented Seattle musicians like bassist Jeff Johnson, percussionist Jose Martinez and saxophone master Hans Teuber in the band for this concert. “They understand my music very well,” he says. He’s also thrilled with the venue for the concert, the grand magical cabaret/circus tent of Teatro ZinZanni. “I love it!” And he let drop that there will be a surprise performance involving Chano’s son Pablo. I won’t say anymore…it’s a surprise, after all.
This concert will be recorded by Jim Wilke for a future Jazz Northwest program, which airs Sundays at 2pm on KPLU.
Listen for Chano’s music on Jazz Caliente this week, at 2pm on Thursday during KPLU’s Mid Day Jazz.
Hear the Chano Domínguez Quartet and more on Wednesday October 28 at Teatro ZinZanni, part of the 2015 Earshot Jazz Festival.