This has been a big year for Australian jazz fusion artist Bart Stenhouse.
Inspired by his recent travels across North America, Spain and India, Bart has spared no time in developing two new albums that fuse the musical styles of these cultures together in an exotic and unique mix.
Flamenco Jazz Fusion Guitarist
The fire and passion of flamenco music has appealed to Bart since he started learning guitar at the age of 10. Now some 20 years later and having become a skilled jazz multi-instrumentalist, Bart has finally felt comfortable enough to take on the challenge of learning flamenco with teacher Gerard Mapstone, a renowned Australian flamenco guitarist and composer. With the help of Gerard’s tutorage, Bart began experimenting with and incorporating flamenco style and technique into his original compositions.
Bart’s study into flamenco music was further encouraged by a short trip to Spain in 2012, where Bart had the opportunity to attend the biennial flamenco festival in Seville, take flamenco guitar lessons and go to a number of live flamenco concerts and performances across Seville, Barcelona and Granada.
It was his time in the ancient city of Granada that inspired the compositions in one of his two newest albums, Five Days in Granada. Walking through the Alhambra palace, taking in the ancient streetscape of the Albayzin and visiting local guitar luthiers all had a large influence on the writing of this album.
The compositions feature variations of Palo falsettos that draw strongly on flamenco chord voicings and harmonies as well as the signature flamenco rhythms. However, these are blended with dynamic, instrumental jazz melodies and unusual time signatures in an energetic and engaging exploration of the common ground between jazz and flamenco. This is achieved through performances on both a blanca flamenco guitar built by Huelvan luthier Anders Eliasson and a Godin electric guitar, buoyed by spirited jazz vibraphone and uplifting drum solos.
The other of Bart’s new release albums, Best of Times, is an engaging mix of Indian, jazz and rock compositions featuring tight interplay between electric guitar and jazz saxophone. It is an unusual blend, but one that leaves the listener energised and ready for more.
Both albums feature some of Australia’s best up and coming jazz and fusion cats, including Vibraphonist James Whiting, Pianist and Keyboardist Cleon Barraclough, Bassist David Galea, Tenor Saxophonist Ben Byrne and Drummer Trent Bryson-Dean.
So where can you find these albums? Well, they are not quite ready yet! Getting to the point of releasing the albums will be a group effort. Bart has already recorded the albums, but the next step, producing, pressing and launching the albums, is in your hands.
Bart has started a crowdfunding campaign for the chance to finish the production and release of the two albums. Head over to www.pozible.com/bartstenhouse to check out the tracks and find out more on the story behind the project. It’s a great opportunity to add some new albums to your collection and support flamenco jazz fusion.