May 2002

Doug Munro/Mariano Mangas
Jazz Flamenco Guitars
Purchase

While it lacks creativity, the title spells it out: Jazz Flamenco Guitars (Purchase PCC D0401; 60:28) pairs two guitarists of divergent styles-Doug Munro, the electric jazzman, and Mariano Mangas, the nylon-string flamenco player-in a Latin-jazz setting. The guys hit all the really tired Latin-jazz nodes, including the theme from Black Orpheus, Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa" and Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez," which comes inexplicably conjoined with "Feelings." Another cornball medley, "16 Tons" wedded to the Pink Panther theme, reinforces a just-for-kicks vibe.

Despite all the strikes against it, Jazz Flamenco Guitars is not without its charms. Munro's focused tone over minimal percussion and Mangas' flamenco-style chording give this recording a sound that occasionally ventures into Marc Ribot's Prosthetic Cubans territory. Like guitarist Ribot with the Cubans, Munro stays close to the melody and plays with guile and understatement. In the lead, Mangas can sound brittle and manic, but he does just fine in support.

Originally published in May 2002
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