R e v i e w s
Interview with Adam Del Monte in Classical Guitar
By Lawrence Del Casale
I met Adam del Mante almost ten years ago at a GFA Convention in La Jolla, California. 1 remember we had sat down far lunch and we discussed Adam's love far both classical guitar and flamenco guitar. Since that tirne he has become a driving force in the classical crossover world and one of the leading flamenco and classical guitarist/composers of his generation. Adam del Mante has made it his life mission to fully express himself in these two genres, transcending labelling and convention. Always having incorporated a wide array of musical styles in his compositions, del Mante and a group of extraordinary musicians have embarked on a journey of creating a unique sound and language of flamenco that is both steeped in tradition and progressive in its openness to musical flavours from around the world. Adam del Mante studied flamenco & classical guitar in Spain, Israel & England. Beginning with his father, he continued his training with such famed Gypsy performers as Pepe Habichuela', Paca Cortez, Nino Miguel & Gerardo Nuflez. His classical guitar teachers were Menashe Baquiche in Israel and Gordan Crosskey at Chetham's School of Music and at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England.
An eclectic awareness of jazz, world music and other contemporary forms led to new, creative renditions of flamenco repertoire. Del Mante has been commissioned by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and is featured on the double Grammy award winning opera Ainadamar by Osvalda Golijov (2006), with soprana Dawn Upshaw and the Atlanta Symphony, conducted by Robert Spano. Del Mante can also be heard on Hollywood soundtracks such as Avner's Theme, Munich, Knight and Day, Mr and Mrs Smith and Toy Story 3. He has been on the faculty ofthe studio guitar department at the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California since 2003.
Adam del Monte's latest CD, Asi lo siento yo (all compositions by del Mante) is a wonderful recording featuring a virtuosic ensemble that sets each track into a fiery groove with blazing melodic lines and passionate vocals. I caught up with Adam in ew York City recently in between his shows at the Iridium Jazz Club in the Lincoln Center district of Manhattan. We began talking and out of that conversation came this interview.
Flamenco guitarist Adam Del Monte breathtaking at Moravian
By Steve Siegel, The Morning Call
"Flamenco guitarist Adam del Monte is part musician, part magician. He turned Moravian College’s Peter Hall Saturday night into a Gypsy gathering, with a solo performance transporting its packed audience to a place where cobblestone streets and crowded cafes ring with voices of cultures conflicted, torn, pushed and melted together.
Del Monte’s performance, the featured concert in the 11th annual Bethlehem Guitar Festival, was a breathtaking ride. With the exception of one classical piece, “Capricho Árabe,” by the Spanish composer Francisco Tárrega, the PROGRAM was entirely his own flamenco compositions. His eclectic mix of styles fused flamenco’s cheery bulerias and soulful seguiriyas with the exotic rhythms of Latin tangos, Moorish chants, Sephardic liturgies and Brazilian jazz.
Del Monte’s staccato percussion and blinding speed across the strings was enough to keep one enraptured, but most remarkable was his innate sensitivity, which mixed flash with temperance. Even in his most introspective ballads, such as the dark and tragic “Llantos de la Juderiás” (Cries of the Jewish Ghetto), lightning-quick riffs riddled the chant-like drone of a weeping Arabic melody.
The tunes were mesmerizing, with many richly-textured layers creating an emotional roller coaster ride from wailing songs of prayer to full-bodied, adrenalin-pumping toe-tappers. “Dahab,” inspired by a region once in Israel now in Egypt, was especially vivacious with its very middle Eastern 6/8 and 12/8 syncopations and sparkling runs of jazzy improvisation. In contrast, “Los Bilbilikos” (The Doves) was soul-searching and reflective, inspired by the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
Del Monte’s entertaining explanations of what he was playing and its rhythmic structure between pieces was especially informative, particularly his remarks about the artificial rift between classical and flamenco styles that began in the late 1920s that we only recently are repairing. His stunning performance of “Capricho Árabe” proved beyond a doubt that the two should never have been so cruelly segregated. Here was classical lyricism and formality wedded with flamenco’s spontaneity and smoldering fire, performed with the passion that only a master of both arts posses."
Review of Adam Del Monte's concert in Pasadena, CA
By Brent Mosley, “Soundcheck” article
"Once in a great while one gets an opportunity to hear a form of music that is truly unique. Such was the case for those present at the historic McKinley auditorium in Pasadena recently. Presented by the Arroyo Heritage Theater Guitarra Del Mar 2002 Concert Series, flamenco guitarist/composer Adam del Monte, along with his band dazzled the audience with Adam’s unique style of flamenco fusion.
Flamenco music by its very nature is steeped in tradition that is passed down from one generation to the next with very little room for change. With his impeccable technique, romantic playing and bountiful expression, Adam has taken the very emotional beauty of the flamenco tradition and fused it with modern jazz in a way that is truly different and fresh.
“The music is in the language and rhythm of flamenco but with jazz chords and flavor,” says del Monte. All compositions for this show were by Adam del Monte. The show began with Adam playing solo on two flamenco selections that instantly captures the listener and boggles the mind as to how anyone can actually play a guitar with that much facility and passion. An added extra treat was a trio consisting of del Monte and his two sons, Enosh del Monte on violin and Shaul del Monte on cello. Both boys amazed the audience with their technique and musical sensibility. From there the show moved into the unique and different flamenco/jazz fusion. The band consisted of del Monte on flamenco guitar, Pedro Eustache, flute, Asaf Kofler, bass, Tal Bergman, drums, Ryo Okomoto, keyboard and Antonio de Jerez, singer/Canto. Each of these musicians are of the highest caliber and collectively have played with some of the biggest names in the music business. The Adam del Monte sextet blended together with high energy and focus to unleash a style that is truly new, refreshing and exciting to experience."
“Adam del Monte, along with his band dazzled the audience with Adam’s unique style of flamenco fusion.” - Brent Mosley
“…Adam has taken the very emotional beauty of the flamenco tradition and fused it with modern jazz in a way that is truly different and fresh.” - Brent Mosley
Review of a concert in La Joya, California at a GFA Festival (Guitar Foundation of America)
By Richard Long
“Del Monte is a well-known proponent of the ‘new flamenco” - Richard Long, “Soundboard” magazine
“Del Monte may be one of the most technically gifted guitarists in the business” - Richard Long, “Soundboard” magazine
“Imagine if all that ability could be turned to the service of mankind!” - Richard Long, “Soundboard” magazine
Review of my classical album »Ezordio«
By Paul Fowles, Classical Guitar Magazine
Piazzolla: Campero, Romantica.
J.S Bach: Partita in B minor.
Del Monte: Lament for Six Million. Perpetuum Mobile. Albeniz. Crandada. Cordoba. Castilla. Sevilla.
Adam Del Monte
GSP 1020 CD
"I am not at all pugnacious by nature, but if I receive just one more CD of Piazzolla on the guitar, I swear I’m going to make it into a Kung Fu star to throw at the individual responsible. I’m well aware that the celebrated Argentine wrote some interesting stuff, but I’m even more aware that none of it ever warranted the degree of attention lavished upon it by guitarists over the past decade.
It is therefore pleasingly ironic that the last Piazzolla performances I intend listening to for the foreseeable future should also rate amongst the finest. The success of Del Monte’s accounts derives largely from the fact that he chooses two of the more lyrical works, both of which remain relatively free of the stuttering tango rhythms found elsewhere. The fact that Del Monte is clearly a prodigiously talented guitar player might also have something to do with it. Despite my acquired indifference to Piazzolla, I was utterly captivated by these stylish and articulate interpretations.
Likewise the Bach, in which I became increasingly convinced by Del Monte’s uncompromising approach to ornamentation. It is well documented that I usually prefer my Bach played straight (i.e. without the customary surfeit of musical cherries on sticks and cocktail umbrellas), but Del Monte applies the bells and whistles with disarming flair and imagination.
As a composer, Del Monte proves to be resourceful and imaginative. If the two original works presented here emerge as the least memorable items on the agenda, then it is only because Del Monte handles other people’s work so consistently well.
And then there’s the Albeniz. If ever a composer was done to death on the guitar, it was surely he. And then along comes Del Monte with readings which give these tired old warhorses life anew. After a truly breathtaking Castilla, one naturally fears that he has peaked too soon, but the incredible Sevilla eliminated any such doubts. If any performer on any instrument has presented this work with such energy and brilliance, then it has escaped my notice.A magnificent debut from a guitarist with all the hallmarks of a major world talent."
“As a composer, Del Monte proves to be resourceful and imaginative.” - CG Magazine
“…Del Monte handles other people’s work so consistently well.” - CG Magazine
“A magnificent debut from a guitarist with all the hallmarks of a major world talent.” - CG Magazine
Review of CD "VIaje a Un Nuevo Mundo"
By Angel Alvarez Caballero, El Pais
(Translated from Spanish)
"First solo album of the guitarist Adam del Monte, with out a doubt a great work, that demonstrates a fully formed artist, that is completely and marvelousely familiar with the flamenco expressiveness. Del Monte here shows himself to be a versatile artist, an auther of music that is rhythmically alive, very pleasent to the ear yet complex, and intensely flamenco, like in the Tarantas and Seguiriyas."
"Flamencissimo" - El Pais.
"Tremendous applause and cries of amazement rewarded his playing. His name was whispered throughout the audience as the obvious winner. And at the end of a remarkable competition he was the only person surprized to hear the aunouncement. Adam del Monte was named recipient of the First Prize at the 1997 Stotsenberg International CLassical Guitar Competition Sunday at epperdine's Smothers Theater." - Dany Margolies , The Malibu Times, CA
"Creative and versatile" - El Mundo (Spain)
"Enormous techniccal feats .... bountiful extression!" - The Malibu Times
"Exceptional technical ability! Profound musicality... " - Sound Board Magazine
"Flamenco has always been a world unto itself, so it's news when artist of great technical and stylistic authority strech beyond its limits to incorporate outside traditions." - LA Times
"Displaying mind-boggling control over dynamics and tone, Adm del Monte defies physics with his expressive, romantic playing ... His CD, Ezordio, is profoundly inspiring and truly humbling". - Guitar Player Magazine