Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion | Veneta Review
By Illiam Sebitz
Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion is a world fusion ensemble based in Denver, Colorado. Formed in 2018, they are the honored winners of Denver’s Westword Magazine 2019 Music Award for Best of World Music. Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion twists jazz, flamenco, Cuban and classical Indian musical forms into intoxicating journeys that thrill audiences. Described by Guitar Player Magazine as “mesmerizing,” Miguel Espinoza has recorded and performed with Bela Fleck, Kai Eckhardt, Kitaro, Tuck and Patti, Rita Moreno, and Ben Vareen. The ensemble is Miguel Espinoza on guitar, Dianne Betkowski on cello, Lynn Baker on sax, Randy Hoepker on bass, Andy Skellenger on Indian tabla, and Spanish Cajon, with Mario Moreno on timbales, congas, and bongo. Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion’s second album is titled Veneta and is chock-full of original music that has been described as “colorful, vibrant, and emotional.” A stunning combination of jazz, Flamenco, and subtle world music, which capitalizes on sophisticated rhythmic elements that are emotional, natural, and organic.
“Gnossienne” opens with a beautiful Spanish guitar figure from Espinoza’s warm acoustic guitar. After a beautiful intro, the ensemble launches into an upbeat Latin fusion groove with Flamenco, jazz, and Latin music elements. With an enchanting melody, robust bass and percussion, and luscious solos from Betkowski, Baker, and Espinoza, the song unfolds with a dynamic range and advanced articulation of an outstanding ensemble.
With unusual instrumentation and many international and traditional influences, the ensemble can create an extraordinary array of textures and sounds that coalesce like magic. “Sad” is a fine example of the many textures and moods the Miguel Espinoza Flamenco Fusion ensemble can conjure. With sophisticated rhythmic elements, the melody on the cello is emotional as it floats over the natural and organic percussion and dynamic guitar and bass figures. The song’s form develops a spellbinding narrative that builds to gleeful solos by Betkowski, Baker, and Espinoza. The comforting embrace of exotic rhythmic textures by Skellenger and Moreno are very soulful. The composition’s many twists and turns show this ensemble can delight and thrill listeners with their personal and emotive statements.
Veneta is a polished, melodic, impressionable, lovable, and groove-based collection of six songs that are flowing with spiritual world music charm. The album celebrates many styles within a series of dynamic compositions that will satisfy even the most ardent world music enthusiast. Veneta will elate world music listeners, as it is filled with skillful performances and unique creativity.
Release Date: January 17, 2022