Parallel lives, parallel movements: through the streets of Wolverhampton, Englandand the jazz clubs of New York, the caves of Granada and the flamenco bars of Madrid. Over strings and oceans and language barriers, masterful jazz bassist Dave Holland and Spanish guitar legend Pepe Habichuelahave come together to unfold the beauty of flamenco on Hands (Dare2 Records; December 7, 2010), with collaborative takes on traditional and original compositions that let Holland’s bass to sing with a new kind of soul.
Holland met Habichuela, the acclaimed scion of a deep-rooted Gypsy family from Granada, as part of a jazz- meets-flamenco pairing instigated by a Sevilla arts organization. It didn’t take long, however, for Holland to realize the depth of connection he felt with his new collaborator, who, like Holland, had taught himself to play at a tender age. Holland picked up the ukulele as a boy in the Midlands, while thousands of miles away Habichuela practiced the guitar music he’d grown up hearing by sneaking up to the caves above his native city.
While realizing he’d met a musical soul mate, Holland also fell for flamenco culture. It struck him as he sat with Habichuela and his exuberant extended family at a party in Granada’s gypsy quarter, overlooking the Moorish castle, Al Hambra, after that first fateful encounter in Sevilla. “We had great flamenco music and food, a fire burning. It was a magical atmosphere, the culmination of everything,” Holland recalls fondly.