In 1976, I had the pleasure of writing the liner notes for "Flamenco Guitar Improvisations" an LP by Carlos Lomas, a brilliant flamenco guitarist whose blazing technique has always been matched by an astonishing creative sensibility. I knew Carlos from New York and also from Malaga, Spain, where he had been playing professionally and also teaching flamenco to a kid called Tomatito who is now one of the three or four true giants of the art.
So in early 1979, when Carlos told me he wanted to make a new record, I was delighted. And I knew the right place to do it. At the time, I was teaching very traditional flamenco music to Lance Quinn, a phenomenal rock player and all-around guitarist who worked as a recording engineer and session man at New York's famed Power Station recording studio. Lance generously agreed to arrange for some studio time late at night when high-profile sessions were over.
And so a few nights later, I stood waiting for Carlos to come to the side entrance. Sure enough, a taxi rolled up and he emerged with his guitar case - and another case with an Arabic oud. Then someone else got out, carrying a violin case. Then someone else with a drum kit, someone else with a five-string banjo, and someone else with a strange case I'd never even seen before. For a moment, I felt like I was a kid at the circus, watching endless clowns emerge from a tiny automobile. Finally the flow stopped and the taxi drove off. Then another taxi rolled up, and someone got out with an electric bass case, followed by someone with a cello case, and someone with a sitar case, and various other people with darbakah and nay and steel-string acoustic guitar cases.
"Jeez, Carlos," I said. "Are you nuts? Who are these people and what are they doing here?"
"Funny you should mention that," he said. "Actually, I have an idea in my head. I want to create a sound that is completely new. I don't know what to call it, but it's a sort of – well, it's a mixture – no, it's really a fusion of flamenco with other kinds of western and world music."
"Carlos, that is just ridiculous," I said helpfully. "It's an absurd idea, and it will never get off the ground. You'd be tampering with a musical tradition that's perfect the way it is, and certainly doesn't need any updating or improvement. Why don't you just make another album that's basically like your last one?"
Carlos thought about that for about a millisecond, and said, "Because I've already done that."
Well, he had me there. And since I obviously couldn't overpower all those other people and drag them away, I rang the bell. Lance came down to let us in, and I started to apologize to him. But Lance, who had already engineered many huge-selling records, said, "Are you nuts? Don't try to stop him. This is a tremendous concept, and Carlos has the musical smarts to pull it off. And we have the equipment that can make a great multi-track recording."
Soon afterwards, I was watching these musicians work together to create a totally new and somehow seamless sound, shaking my head all the while and saying, "But that's not the way it goes." Soon afterwards, all the tracks were laid down.
Anyway, that's how I remember the genesis of this album that Carlos would title "Adelante", the Spanish word that means "Forward."
I will leave it to the historians to decide whether this is in fact the first true flamenco/world music fusion recording ever made, though I believe it deserves that accolade..
Adelante reveals the astounding vision of Carlos Lomas, the remarkable energy, synchronicity and respective talents of the broad array of other fine musicians who joined him, and the gifted hand of Lance Quinn at the controls.
As was often the case, things didn't go smoothly in arranging wide distribution of the original cassette version of Adelante. But that doesn't detract from the scope of this achievement, and I think this long-overdue reissue -- essentially unchanged from the original – deserves belated recognition as a monumental event in flamenco.
In the nearly three decades since it was made, flamenco has evolved to admit an endless array of influences and it continues to enter new territory each year. The concept of fusion, pioneered by my friend Carlos Lomas, is now the dominant force in flamenco and has found new audiences and millions of admirers around the world.
As for me, I hang out mostly in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain's last stronghold of pure, traditional and unfused flamenco. I still think I was right all along. It's just reality that is wrong.
As for Lance Quinn, he spends time in Jerez, too. But it's not because of the pure and old-fashioned ideas I tried to indoctrinate him with. He decided that wasn't really very interesting. Instead, he studies with Gerardo Nuñez, the one important Jerez guitarist who has embraced fusion.
Meanwhile, through all the intervening time, the brilliance and musical vision of Carlos Lomas still speaks for itself on every track of this astounding and trailblazing recording.
--Brook Zern, 2007
" A fascinating album,originally released in 1984 after several years of recording,that features musicians from Pakistan,Egypt,Spain,North and South America, all anchored by Lomas's Flamenco Guitar and Oud playing. With all that has happened since , this remains not only a landmark , but also a very exciting listen,with a freshness and intensity undulled by the many similar experiments that have come after "
Guillermo Juan Christie-" Flamenco Connection"
1. Adelante ~ (Carlos Lomas) 3:09 Based on the flamenco form “Bulerias.”
Personnel: Carlos Lomas - guitarras flamencas, Jeff Nelson- electric bass, Jim Bowie - five string banjo, Pete Amahl - drums, Jose Arencón “El Pelete” - palmas, jaleos.
2. Fiestas en Nuevo Mexico ~ (Carlos Lomas) 3:26 Based on the flamenco form “Rumba” with an interlude of “Reggae.”
Personnel: Carlos Lomas - guitarras flamencas; Jim Bowie - steel stringed acoustic guitar, five string banjo; Jeff Nelson - electric bass; Jose Arencón “El Pelete” - palmas, jaleos; Pete Amahl -drums.
3. Gioia ~ (Carlos Lomas) 6:07 Based on the flamenco form “Bulerias” Personnel: Carlos Lomas - guitarras flamencas; Jeff Nelson - electric bass; Pete Amahl - drums; Jim Bowie - five string banjo; Hugh Hazelrigg - cello; Gioia Tama, Hassina Youseff, Jose Arencón “El Pelete”- palmas, jaleos
4. Going For It ~ (Carlos Lomas) 3:16 Based on the flamenco form “Tangos” and “Rumba” Personnel: Carlos Lomas - guitarras flamencas, ‘ud; Jeff Nelson - electric bass; Hugh Hazelrigg - cello; Jim Bowie - five string banjo;
Gamal Shafik - darbakah; Pete Amahl - drums
5. Infancia ~ (Carlos Lomas) 3:07 One of the four movements of a suite named “The Innocence Suite”
Personnel: Carlos Lomas - guitarra flamenca
6. From Malaga To Cairo ~ (Carlos Lomas) 5:29 Based on the flamenco form “Rumba” and “12 bar E minor Blues” and
the “Chifteli” from the middle eastern tradition. Personnel: Carlos Lomas -guitarras flamencas, ‘ud; Jeff Nelson - electric bass; Gamal Shafik - darbakah; Pete Amahl - sock cymbal, drums; Nagi Zaki - nay; Jim Bowie - steel stringed acoustic guitar; Bobby Notkoff - violin
7. What Was That? ~ (Carlos Lomas) 2:35 Based on the flamenco form “Rumba” superimposed with bluegrass style, the
“Chifteli” and a Native American peyote chant. Personnel: Carlos Lomas - guitarras flamencas, ‘ud; Jim Bowie - five string banjo; Pete Amahl - drums; Jeff Nelson - electric bass, Hugh Hazelrigg - cello
8. Tangos Orientales ~ (Carlos Lomas) 4:53 Dedicated to Jose Monje “Camaron de la Isla.” Based on the flamenco form “Tangos” Personnel: Carlos Lomas - guitarras flamencas, ‘ud; Arooj Lazewal - sitar; Jeff Nelson - electric bass; Gamal Shafik - darbakah; Pete Amahl - drums; Jim Bowie - five string banjo; Nagi Zaki - nay; Gioia Tama, Hassina Youseff, Jose Arencón “El Pelete,” Manolo Correa, Liliana Lomas - palmas, jaleos.
9. The Journey ~ (Carlos Lomas) 5:11 Based on a universal 6/8 rhythm developing thematically as a round.
Personnel: Carlos Lomas - ‘ud, guitarras flamencas; Gamal Shafik - darbakah; Bob Haddad - finger cymbal; Jim Bowie -steel stringed acoustic guitar, five string banjo; Pete Amahl - drums; Jeff Nelson - electric bass; Nagi Zaki - nay; Hugh Hazelrigg - cello.
Although the music was composed by Carlos Lomas, he gave all the musicians great leeway in playing their parts so that no one should feel stifled nor have to know too much about each other’s tradition which resulted in a spontaneous natural display of everyone’s talents. All the musicians are listed in order of appearance in each selection.
This album is dedicated to the memory of Carlos’ parents: David Crozier Bond and Lorraine Fay Lomas, and his dear departed friend “Woody” Thompson.
Initial Interest: Brook Zern, 1979. Executive Production: Hugh Aiken Jr., 1980-1984; Joaquin Coyote Brandi, 1999.
Recording Engineers: Lance Quinn, Power Station. NYC 1979; Baird Banner, Kludgit Sound, Cerrillos, NM 1980-1984
Mixing: Carlos Lomas, Baird Banner, Jeff Nelson, Jim Bowie. Mastering: Tony Isaacs, Rainbow Cassette Studio, Taos, NM 1984
Cover photo: John Hames Cover design: Will Wicks Carlos’ guitar: Specifically crafted by Manuel Lopez Bellido, Granada, Spain 1979.