Gathering in Blue
There is a border between music genres - jazz to blues, Flamenco to fusion, rock to pop, that, when crossed successfully, creates a sound you want to hear more of. It is just this crossing of borders that Venezuelan-born drummer/composer Jose Duque masters in his latest album, Gathering in Blue. A colorful, melodic mix of odd meter, minor blues, Flamenco scale and Latin rock, all skillfully complementing a jazz groundwork, Gathering in Blue is at once melancholic and joyful, complex and startlingly simple. The range of sounds in the new album, released in June 2004, derives from the many and varied sources that have influenced Jose Duque since his childhood days in Caracas. The pensive 'Counterpoint Café' came to life in an Algerian restaurant with the same name, and it's Camilo-esque style speaks to a longing for old friends and warm cultures. 'Where the Heart is', with it's Flamenco rhythm, creates as well a longing for home. The title track, 'Gathering in Blue' has an unpredictable, magical sound based on an odd meter, opening with a unison melody, followed by a dispersed and sparse sax solo, and then the full band gathering in a minor blues. The result is primal and simple, powerful and elated. Duque's music is cinematic, relating more to images than words. There is an open sound to the album; one can envision a prairie, an open landscape, blue skies, nostalgia. When asked who would most appreciate the new album, Jose answered 'anyone who likes jazz but also has an open mind to it.' Influencing Jose are favorites Pat Metheny, whose style is most prevalent in 'Horizonte', as well as Bill Frisell, Bill Bruford, Thelonius Monk and Michel Camilo. Joining Jose to form ZumbaTres are top musicians from the Seacoast New Hampshire area, including pianist Jeff Auger, bassist Jesse Stern, guitarist Chris Weisman and saxophonist Chel Illingworth. The origins of today's ZumbaTres is The Zumbao Trio, which featured Luis Gonzalez on guitar and Jeremy Hill on bass. The band came out with an album, Zumbao Trio, in 2001. Jose has performed with 'Amaya: Flamenco Sin Limites', Venezuelan pop artist Felix Roman, Juan Francisco, Roldan Pena's Jazz 3, Flamenco y Duende, and Sara es Rara. He is also currently the drummer/percussionist for The Randy Armstrong Trio.