Convention talent

I would like to suggest ANTONIO SERRANO from Spain for the SPAH Convention.

I´m currently in Madrid and attended his concert last night at the fabulous jazz club CALLE 54.  After his one hour and twenty minute set, I had a chat with him.

He may be the chromatic player with the widest range of musical interests that he actually performs.  His current group is into jazz, drawing mainly on South American material, though they also performed one very inventive blues.  He has one album out already as a leader, featuring this kind of material.  Next year he hopes to record three more albums, ranging from jazz to Spanish flamenco to a classical concerto for harmonica.  He has recorded a lot as a sideman.  He told me he has recorded with "all the major popular singers," as well as with flamenco groups.

While I´m at it, I´d like to make a few observations about his playing.  First, he is very fluid:  he really has full mastery of the instrument, every note was hit clean and distinct.  He plays with a lot of dynamics, accenting various notes to add dimension to his flowing lines.  His use of vibrato, to my ears, is as tasteful and judicious as it can get.  It´s a rather languid vibrato, used sparingly on selected held notes and at the end of phrases.  I´ve never heard anyone else play octave lines with such facility.  Occasionally he employs doublestops of other intervals with interesting effect.  To put it mildly, I was overwhelmed.  I´m going back again tonight.  And his talent must be well known here too:  the place, which is not cheap and with a ticket costing about $18, was packed, and all tables are already reserved for tonight.  For those interested, he has an informative website at: -- note the .ORG designation.

Another point I´d like to share.  This is perhaps the best music club I´ve ever been to.  Aside from excellent acoustics and stage lighting, I was impressed by the manner in which the music is presented.  While the place serves dinner as well as drinks, the music is presented as a true concert, not as background music.  Everyone is finished eating by 11 p.m., when the performance begins.  An announcer asks everyone to turn off cellphones -- I didn´t hear a single one during the entire performance.  House lights are dimmed, leaving only stage lights.  Chatter stops altogether and the audience listens very intently to the performance.  Performers play one LONG set, and then the room once again is full of talk.  This is a very sensible way to present music.

Thomas "Tomcat" Colvin

diatonic player
who discovered the joys of chromatic
via SPAH conventions
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