Born: 1960 Primary Instrument: Piano
Though the association of flamenco music and an instrument is primarily the guitar, Chano Dominguez has been steadily taking his jazz approach on the piano head on into the genre with brilliant results.
In jazz you improvise with a structure in the background and in flamenco [the improvisation] is part of the form. In flamenco, in a soleá, or in a bulera, the guitarist doesn't know what the cantaor is doing until the moment comes, and the cantaor doesn't know the falseta (variation, or melodic phrase, interspersed between successions of chords) that the guitarist is going to play for him.
Chano Dominguez is one of the jazz musicians that have been recruited by flamenco, although, at least in this instance, Chano had already had flamenco training, as the guitar was the first instrument that he learned to play, by ear. He also ventured into rock, but at that time he was playing keyboard. Before he descended fully onto the flamenco scene with his Chano Dominguez Trio, he had already worked with artists like Pepe de Lucia, Potito and Juan Manuel Canizares, on a few occasions.
Chano Dominguez has achieved an unusual integration between the rhythms and languages of jazz and flamenco. On his piano, he has played tangos, tanguillos, alegras, compas de buleras, fandangos, soleas, but he has tackled them using a traditional jazz structure. He even accompanied the bailador Blas de Cordoba on the piano, rather than the guitar, in the Sabadell Flamenco Festival, as he danced to different palos (forms). At present, Chano Dominguez is one of the musicians who is most in demand on the entire Spanish music scene, regardless of the musical genres. The list of persons he has worked with continues to grow in Spain and abroad. He has also appeared with Wynton Marsalis as a guest at the Jazz at the Lincoln Center performances.
Chano started his recordings as leader back in '93 with En Directo, and has built up a nice resume since. His Hecho a Mano, in 2002 has received much acclaim, and he has kept the momentum going with Iman, and Oye Como Viene, (also on DVD) in 2003, these were on the Sunnyside label. He jumped to the Karonte label with Chano, (2005) Con Alma, and Acercate Mas, both in 2006 and was part of the compilation project of Flamenco Jazz, on the Fremeux label in 2007.
His recent work with the Spanish chanteuse Martirio, Acoplados, has expanded his international appeal, and has crossed him well into the romantic bolero genre, with great success.
Chano Dominguez is a pianist who has fused his innate sense of the flamenco with a distinctive approach to jazz, boleros and beyond, to summon an individual piano voice.