By Devon “Doc” Wendell
I always seem to hear about the great guitarists on the scene before anything else. This might have to do with the fact that I’ve been a six stringer all of my life or just a stroke of good luck.
I’ve been hearing the name Kai Narezo for almost half a year now so I had to check out his latest album Contra Tiempo And I’m more than glad I did. This isn’t just your average flamenco guitar music; not by any stretch of the imagination. This is flamenco-fusion but the fusion aspect of Narezo’s music feels completely natural and never forced.
As phenomenal as Narezo is as a guitarist, it’s the overall band sound that stays with you and is like nothing you’ll hear anywhere else. On tracks like “Marchena (Sevillanas)”, “Zaidin (Bulerias)”, and the haunting “Al Aire (Bulerias)”, bassists Ric Fierabracci and Albert Anguela bring their powerful Anthony Jackson inspired fusion style to Narezo’s imaginative and adventurous compositions. The dichotomy of the traditional fused with the new creates a distinct mood throughout all of Narezo’s pieces. Drummer Joey Heredia adds some beautifully subtle flourishes to each carefully crafted nuance.
“Elegia (Granaina)” is one of the most superb and complex solo guitar pieces I’ve heard in a long time. Kai Narezo picks up where Segovia left off. It’s impossible to predict where he’s going to take the music at every turn which gives his sound an intense edge.
The album is full of sincere joy and fun which is evident on songs like “Lo Que Fuimos (Bulerias)”, “Flamencats (Tanguillo)” and “Sol (Ea Por Buleria)”, while “Del Viento (Bulerias)” is both menacing yet delicate. Narezo’s right hand picking technique is awe-inspiring. Percussionists Kassandra Kocoshis and Jorge Perez Gonzalez keep the fire going strong beneath Narezo and the rest of the band members.
Contra Tiempo is an album that all musicians should own and study. Every time you listen to this recording, you’ll find something new and that is what makes a masterpiece. Narezo effortlessly combines flamenco with jazz and fusion in a manner that points to the future with both soul and courage.