Michel Camilo, the New York-based, Dominican-born pianist, and Tomatito, the Spanish flamenco guitarist, recorded a well-received duets album called Spain in 2000, and this sequel is intended to take the collaboration to the next level. 2006` Spain Again does. It`s a bravura performance that pushes both men into strange and satisfying new territories and spotlights the abilities of each to find places where they are mutually comfortable and inspired. As on the first pairing, the musicianship is flawless throughout, the two virtuosos dancing around each other`s melodies, creating fascinating, harmonious bridges, building upon and toying with structural ideas beyond what each composition calls for. Camilo`s complex jazz piano inventions suddenly give way to Tomatito`s spellbinding acoustic guitar runs; the two meet someplace in the middle, enjoy the freedom that unfettered exploration allows, and emerge with new entities that only an alliance of equals can bring about. The pace is set quickly with "El Dia Eque Me Quieras," a tribute to tango legend Astor Piazzolla, moves through various originals and standards (a silky, semi-classical "Stella by Starlight" is both graceful and awe-inspiring in its mastery) and eventually finds its way to the only vocal piece on the album, "Amor de Conuco," sung by guest Juan Luis Guerra. Strangely, though the vocal is quite lovely, it`s a mood-breaker, diminishing the evocative elegance that Camilo and Tomatito have spent much of the past hour laying out.
Musically, Camilo & Tomatito come from 2 different worlds. Camilo grew up in the Dominican Republic but has lived in New York since 1979 & is classically-trained as well as a straight-ahead acoustic jazz pianist who incorporates Latin & Caribbean elements, citing Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Art Tatum as influences. Tomatito lives in his native Spain, born into a family of Gypsies and is recognized as one of the country`s top flamenco guitarists. Discovered at an early age by Paco de Lucia, Tomatito is the premier flamenco guitarist of his generation and has accompanied Spain`s greatest flamenco singers including the legendary Camarón de la Isla. Navigating the boundaries of jazz and flamenco, Camilo and Tomatito create an experience that is both unique and unforgettable. This reunion includes their original compositions, a Tribute to Piazzolla, jazz standards and a collaboration with renowned singer/songwriter Juan Luis Guerra.