Although piano is not one of the ‘traditional’ instruments played in flamenco, there are now some prominent flamenco musicians who have transferred the art of flamenco onto the piano, such as Chano Domínguez (Cadiz, 1960), Dorantes (Lebrija, 1969) and Diego Amador (Seville, 1973).
This Piano Jondo recording (Nuevos Medios 2003) by Diego Amador is a fine example of how well flamenco can be played on the piano. Amador’s pieces, all in traditional flamenco palos: soleá, taranta, bulerías, rondeña, seguiriya, tanguillos and por tangos, are often accompanied by palmas and danced footwork from Joaquín Grilo, the cajón is played by his nephew Luis, and sometimes there is added bass played by Miguel Vargas and guitar and mandolin played by Diego. The soleá Quiero olvidarte includes these with some excellent singing by Diego Amador himself.
His opening soleá Soleá del Churri has elements of jazz and French impressionism colouring the flamenco. He manages to do the characteristic arpeggiated flourishes of the guitar on the piano, so we keeps the connections to flamenco close.
In the middle of the bulerías ¡Vivan los gitanos! there is a very animated improvisation directly onto the strings of the piano – a reminder of the experimental blood of the Amadors.
Diego’s older brothers, Raimundo and Rafael Amador, both guitarists, established the flamenco-rock group Pata Negra in 1981. Listening to Diego Amador on piano, he seems much less radical than his brothers in flamenco terms.
Diego Amador’s Piano Jondo has so much to offer not only from a flamenco point of view but also in terms of richly inspired improvisation because his musical tastes encompass jazz and classical music.
© 2010 Thérèse Wassily Saba