Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CD Review: “Homage” by Portland Cello Project

Portland Cello Project


Presented to today for your personal edification, your general cultural growth, your mind/soul expansion and deep fertilization.The Portland Cello Project, classically trained, well…cellists one and all. But they may have skipped classes here and there, and crossed the street, in a manner of speaking, into the indie and hip-hop world on the other side. As the title would imply, this is their homage to such urban composers as Kanye, Jay-Z, L'il Wayne, Talib Kwele and others.

Clock them performing Kanye's "All of the Lights" live:

Kayne West’s “All Lights Out” cello-ized.

These guys truly are amazing performers and their vision is fresh, alive and beautiful. They do metal and hip hop covers but also play Bach festivals. What’s even better is the way they turn on crowds of all ages. The reaction is usually reserved for walls of amplifiers in stadiums, not artists like this. They recently performed Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power in its entirely in Portland recently  and they SHREDDED (literally, their bows were shredded). 

Classical, as applied to any art; books, poetry, painting, and music, is defined as transcending any fad or era. that is why Bach and Beethoven’s music is still important today. That’s why Bob Dylan’s songs and his contribution to music were recently honored with the highest civilian award this nation offers. Piccaso was once just a new, pop painter, but his work came to transcend an era, an artistic movement. All things classical were once pop, once new. So where does tomorrows “classical” music come from? The Portland Cello Project may just be mining tomorrows classical music in exploring todays pop artists.

From thundering cellos and drums transforming hip-hop songs, to whispered melodies by contemporary composers, to hip-hop themes turned into baroque-style puzzles, Homage blurs musical genres and styles. Covers include "She Will" (L'il Wayne)"That's My Bitch"  and "H.A. M." (Kanye West and Jay-Z) and a classical canon inspired by L'il Wayne's "Lollipop" that was arranged by PCP's founder/arranger Douglas Jenkins (originally for the Oregon Bach Festival).The "Lollipop Canon" and "Fugue on a Monstrous Theme" (inspired by Kanye's "Monster") were both recorded at the oldest church in Portland.

L’il Wayne’s "Lollipop" cello-ized

Portland Cello Project Press:

"If you could see how crazy everyone around here gets whenever the PCP cello-izes a new hip-hop or pop hit (which is a lot), you'd understand why their Thing is the best Thing going in Portland," - IFC'sPortlandia Blog

"An ace group of rotating cellists who take on everything from Britney's "Toxic" to the Dandy Warhols and postmodern Estonian composer Arvo Part in their one-off performances"  - Entertainment Weekly

"It doesn't get much more genre-crossing than this," -

"The PCP has come to epitomize Portland's offbeat music scene, one where boundaries are blurred and cellos are in abundance." - The Strad

"This indie orchestra gives classical music a jolt of energy," - Spin Magazine

"The Portland Cello Project's all-cello performances of original arrangements of everything from Beethoven to Britney Spears andattract guest vocalists from the city's indie-rock scene ... their concertsfeature music by composers ranging from Bach, Khachaturian and Lili Boulangerto Lil' Wayne." - Wall Street Journal

"A group of cello-wielding maniacs"  - Spacelab Magazine

"[PCP] concerts are purposely suitable for all demographics: boogie-ing grannies, head nodding hipsters, budding middle-school musicians and everyone in between because bringing everyone together in a spirit of collaboration only adds to the philosophy of diversity that PCP proudly upholds."  - CMJ

These folks tour quite often, so check their website for dates and other recorded music.

The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CD Review: David Basse w/Phil Woods and Mike Melvoin “Uptown”


Uptown (feat. Phil Woods & Mike Melvoin)

On the riverboat trip up the Mississippi River, on it’s way to Chicago and then on to New York, where it would get some sophistication in its strut, jazz took a left at St. Louis. Wound up in the frontier town of Kansas City where it decided that hangin’ out with the blues on 12th Street and Vine was better than a gig on 52nd Avenue.  Where Sinatra sang jazz in New York in a tux, and in Chicago they kept there jacket on, in Kansas City they rolled up their sleeves. In New York it was Oysters Rockefeller, in Kansas City, it barbeque.  It was more about the swing than the bling in KC. In Kansas City, the music felt like it made it off the farm, but just for the night. KC jazz was always blue collar, not stuff shirt and David Basse personifies that.

With a delivery that it is more Mel Torme than Tony Bennett, has a pinch of Jon Hendricks and a splash of Al Jarreau. Basse delivers some very fun jazz with a nod to it’s roots in the south. There’s something of the New Orleans ‘professors’ in it’s mojo. There’s a twist in the phrasing that is southern fried, not haute cuisine. The tunes feel like they came out of the great American song book, and should be standards, should be Tin Pan Alley bred, but most of what you’ll hear here are written by pianist Mike Melvoin, producer Mark Winkler and Frank Smith mixed in with standards indeed, but delivered in a way that makes them his.

David Basse “52nd & Broadway”

David Basse’s resonant voice is a signature of KCs swinging jazz and blues scene. In August of 1982, David Basse was invited to play a gig at the legendary City Light Restaurant, little did he know that this one night stand would turn into a seven year gig and change his life. On March 30th, 1984 the City Light Orchestra released "Raised Spirits", their first recording, to a packed house at Kansas City's Folly Theater. Tens of thousands of copies of this album were sold and that year Esquire Magazine named City Light Restaurant one of the top 100 clubs in the United States. Twenty-Five years later, remaining members of the original band continue to perform regularly in Kansas City. It has been said that the City Light Orchestra played music "learned at (Count) Basie's elbow and other joints," this swingin' tradition jams on and David Basse makes sure of that.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

CD Review: “Two At a Time” by The Two Man Gentlemen Band


Two at a Time

This may look like a reissue from some small label slapped together on a college campus in the ‘50s, and that’s what it’s supposed to look and sound like. One reviewer hit the nail on the head when he said “It’s as if the Smothers Brothers were young today, wore better suits, and wrote hot jazz songs about drinking.”  Only half tongue in cheek, they really aren’t a retro band…well, yes they are with Brylcreem in their hair and the white suits and string ties. With songs like “Two Star Motel” and “Pool Party” it’s not hard to figure out what they have in mind. With the drink in hand,  the duo of tenor guitarist Andy Bean and string bassist Fuller Condon write and perform humorous tunes that pay tribute to that swinging lifestyle of 1950s Palm Springs, Palm Beach or anywhere there were girls in floral print dresses and rhinestone horn-rimmed sunglasses. These two guys should be sitting in the back of a ‘59 Cadillac El Dorado convertible with a cocktail shaker and a ukulele.

They are expert instrumentalists, former street-performers, and consummate showmen. They update and modernize the Slim and Slam persona with their novelty jazz/roots/blues/back-alley hokum music. And it feels good. It’s Jimmy Buffett meets Leon Redbone and Charlie Christian brought his guitar while Louis Jordan provided the drinks and some songs. The lyrics are decidedly silly and the banter is hilarious.

The Two Man Gentlemen Band “Pork Chops”
This one hit the street on May 1 when it tumbled out of a cardboard suitcase, tied together with twine. Recorded, designed, and packaged without any computers or digital technology, available on CD, download, and limited edition 12″ vinyl. Only 400 vinyl LPs were pressed and half of them are already gone, so get ‘em while you can! Everything’s available in the Two Man Gentlemen Band Store.

Usher in the summer with this fun, retro album. It’s a blast. They’ll be on tour through June, so check the website for dates.


twoman gentlemen band



The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Review : “Smut” by Alan Bennett


Smut: Stories

Imagine, if you will, that the cast of Monte Python got together and wrote dirty little stories. Only they wrote them in a somewhat serious mode – of course, being Monte Python they would need to be full of tongue in cheek, satirical and cynical humor that shined a mirror back at the inanities of real life and real people and society in general.

Alan Bennett is one of Britain's most beloved playwrights, screenwriters, actors and authors. Oxford educated , he studied history and performed with The Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research medieval history at the university for several years. His collaboration as writer and performer with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival brought him instant fame. He gave up academia, and turned to writing full time. His output includes The Madness of George III and its film incarnation The Madness of King George, the series of monologues Talking Heads, the play The History Boys, and popular audio books, including his readings of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh. keeping that in mind, you can imagine that this collection of two stories is not the usual titillating fare.

Smut is two unseemly stories; the first is called '”The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson” the second, "The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes". In a nut shell, both stories details the ways that people ‘counterfeit’ the selves they project towards society. Not how they adapt, and mold themselves to society, but in how they fake their societal persona in order to fit the mores and expectations that society holds for them. And of course, as the title may allude, in a sexual way.

In our first story, Mrs. Donaldson is a recent widow of upper middle class standing whose husband, upon his death, has left her not quite as comfortable as she had thought. Now, because of her standing, class wise, in society she can’t simply take a job as a clerk in a department store, or the like. And, because of that same place in society, she of course has no skills for a job market anyhow. So, she hits on the ideal way to maintain that societal façade by ‘volunteering’ at the local doctors teaching hospital. Her duties as a volunteer are to act out the symptoms of patients for the student doctors. Ahh, I see I have your attention. Who doesn’t love a good dirty story about playing doctor? Takes us back to the earliest days of puberty, it does. Well, get your mind out of the gutter, because our Mrs. Donaldson does not need to get undressed or submit to the young interns in a gynecological way.

However, our Mrs. Donaldson does find that she has acting abilities, and quite a good memory for performing the tiniest nuance of symptoms and behaviors for everything from the flu to fallen arches. And she does get to know the naughty thoughts of her fellow volunteers as well as the young doctors and even the instructor and the added income is very helpful in supplementing her retirement. But not quite adequate. So, she also decides to let out a room in her large home. But she can’t simply rent a room as that also would be unseemly for a person of her standing. So, she decides to ‘help’ students from the college by providing them with a convenient and affordable place to stay. Things get interesting when a young couple get in a-rears on the rent and come up with a novel way to catch up. Listen to Bennett read a selection  here.

From “The Greening of Mrs. Donaldson”

The second story is “The Shielding of Mrs. Forbes” in which Mrs. Forbes, also a comfortable middle class and middle aged mother dotes on her only child; her son Graham. Graham is stunningly good looking and he knows it. He is also fastidious in his appearance. Think a cross between Dorian Grey and the man in the Kinks song, “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion”. Graham is also decidedly gay, but, truth be told, Graham is really only in love with himself. But he does feel he must shield his mother from the truth about his choice in sexuality so he marries a very plain, but extremely wealthy woman. Mrs. Forbes thoroughly bullied husband is accepting of the arrangement, but Mrs. Forbes (holding tightly to the belief that her son is the most handsome and desirable man on the face of the earth) believes that Graham could have done better. So the farcical act begins. Mr. Forbes takes solace in an online relationship with a dark and sensuous beauty in Samoa (but who actually lives in Clitheroe), and he eventually comes to spend quality time with his daughter in-law. Mean while, Graham, having decided to perform his husbandly duties, only to satisfy his own curiosity of course, being the self-centered snob that he is and has been raised to be,  finds a bit of enjoyment in the task, even though he can’t stand her outside of the marital bed. Eventually he takes up with a paid, gay lover who turns out to be a blackmailing village policeman. Graham is left to depend on his wife, who decidedly proves to be the brains in this farce, to extricate himself, while not disappointing his mother.

“The Shielding Of Mrs. Forbes”

Bennett's humor in this small collection (160 pages)consistently triumphs in the logic of the parenthetical aside, the comedy of false face worn by most of the characters to show society or in the misperceptions of that society and the people that reside there.  Mrs. Donaldson is not as ‘green’ as she thought herself to be, and no one around Mrs. Forbes is who  they pretend to be.

Appropriately enough, given Bennett's day job, both stories are really about performing, about putting on a show for other people. Most of the characters think they're fooling the world, and most of them are wrong. The book's theme isn’t really "smut"  it is "unseemliness," the pressures and expectations of decorum and social expectations. But it is also about the creative, even eccentric ways in which people use sex. The only couple in either tale who carry on a  conventional, loving and  sexual relationship based on mutual affection and pleasure is also an adulterous somewhat incestuous and secret relationship between Mr. Forbes and his daughter-in-law, Betty. The lesson to be taken from these marvelous stories are that appearances are, of course, deceiving: Mrs. Donaldson is not as green as she, or her friends would suppose, and Mrs. Forbes needs less shielding than her family thinks.

And finally, Bennett's satire is not really directed at the characters who counterfeit for society's sake (he actually treats the characters – especially the characters that society has a tendency to judge as deviant to some degree - with tenderness and acceptance).  Instead, the satire is directed at the need to perform at all; at a society made up of people who, while probably fooling themselves, still expect others to live up to a collective sense of decorum.

Farcical? Yes. And it is easy to write these stories off as comedy; as wry wit,  but the real question is just how farcical is society itself? And perhaps the Smut of the title is societies own expectations and norms.

Article first published as Book Review : Smut by Alan Bennett on Blogcritics.

The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved



Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Two Sides of Aruan Ortiz Quartet–“Orbiting” & “Santiarican Blues Suite” w/ The Gamerata Urbana Ensemble


Aruan Orbiting


Orbiting. Aruan Ortiz Quartet featuring David Gilmore, Eric McPherson and Rashaan Carter


  Santiarican Blues Suite




Cuba may be more famous for defecting baseball players, who come to the U.S. to cash in on the big stage, but there are many more talents, and probably more important exchanges of culture going on than baseball. Aruán Ortiz is at the forefront of that exchange and one of many wunderkind in the music world hailing from Cuba. A classically trained violist and pianist, this Santiago de Cuba native’s sound is as marked by the influence of the contemporary classical composers such as Schoenberg, Ravel, and Copland as by traditional Afro Cuban sounds and jazz greats Bud Powell, Art Tatum, and Thelonious Monk.

Aruán’s jazz career took off in Europe after being the recipient of just about every meaningful award and he soon became the first call pianist  in Barcelona and Paris. Since arriving in the US, he has played steadily with Wallace Roney, Antoine Roney, Terri Lyne Carrington, Greg Osby, and Cindy Blackman. He has also played or recorded with Esperanza Spalding, Gary Thomas, Wayne Krantz, Rasheed Ali, Stefon Harris, Horacio “El Negro” Hernández, Giovanni Hidalgo, George Garzone, Jane Bunnett, and Jerry Bergonzi among other great jazz artists.

What he brings to the table here, on these two albums, as in most of his work,  isn’t just classical training, and ability to incorporate classical themes into his modern jazz composition. It also isn’t just the traditional Afro-Cuban sounds that have crept in and out of jazz for decades now. Its an ear for what has come to be called “world music”. Aruán’s ability to subtly incorporate world music elements into avant‐garde jazz makes his sense of creativity unique and recognizable in different styles. Additionally, his classical training makes him not only a virtuosic performer, but it allows him, or maybe a better word is compels him, to consider a wide variety of themes no matter what he is playing, composing or producing.

Orbiting brings out the avant-garde jazz side of Ortiz with compositions from the great Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal as well as jazz greats and his own compositions. The Pascoal composition is delivered with intensity and elan and, as was more or less the way the musicians were assembled for this album, it is an ensemble in motion.  Each solo creates and states a different melodic/harmonic idea. The title piece, “Orbiting”, is inspired by the Bill Evans piece, “Orbit” which itself divided the rhythm from the melody and is here presented in ‘two sections’ seemingly unrelated – the drum/bass vibe lays a foundation and the syncopated melody seems to ‘orbit’ above it. This is not piano jazz.

“Orbiting” by The Aruan Ortiz Quartet

The album continues in this vein with Ortiz’ own compositions (“The Heir” is for his son, Damian and is about life evolves on an unknown path), as well as tributes to greats of avant-garde, Charlie “Bird” Parker and Ornette Coleman. There is also explorations in cyclic phrasing, that musically explore the “math of music”, and are composed with a combinations of Fibonacci numbers amongst other things. The album doesn’t follow the usual avant-garde solo/accompaniment arrangements but is structured more as a unit; each piece plays parts that are standing its own ground throughout.

Featuring some of the greatest jazz musicians working today; David Gilmore on guitar, Rashaan Carter on bass and drummer, Eric McPherson. The album will be available on May 29 and you can preorder it now by following the links above.

Santiarican Blues Suite, as promised, is a different side of Aruan Ortiz and takes us, more or less, back to his roots. I say more or less because Cuban music, like Cuban culture as a whole is a melting pot of traditions and locations covering a good portion of the geographic map as well as the musical map. European, African and the music of the Caribbean all factor in. Here, Ortiz offers up a score for ballet that encompasses the cultural development of the furthest east province of Cuba; Oriente. Historically, this former province was a major hub of the slave trade. The lions share of the slaves imported into the province to work the sugarcane plantations came from Haiti and Ortiz himself is of Haitian-Cuban descent and hails from Santiago de Cuba.

This piece was originally written for the ballet Pagan Or Not to be performed by the Jose Mateo Ballet Theater in celebration of the company’s 25th anniversary. The suite is performed by piano, flutes, violins, viola, bass and percussion or in other words, more a classical, small acoustic ensemble than  a jazz group. The piece is in the African Minuet form and explores the diverse influences in that small former province of Cuba – Franco-Caribbean, Spanish-Caribbean and Afro-Caribbean. like I said, it is a melting pot.

“Ornette Coleman Medley”
There are five separate movements here, ranging from “Diaspora”, a tribute to the Haitians taken from their adopted homeland of Haiti to again become slaves in Cuba. Master Cuban percussionist Mauricio Herrera’s drums stand out in the hesitation rhythms mirroring the uncertainty and dread of the immigrants. It wrings the emotion from the movement and infuses drama, very effectively. The next movement is “Pal Monte” with a beautiful vocal chant that turns into a song, native to Oriente. Traditional Haitian percussion is employed throughout. “San Pascual Bailon” is the middle movement and is a dance full of piano, flute and drums. It’s inspired by the Catholic procession in honor of the Saint of the title. The rhythm is peculiar to Haiti called tango haitiano, identified by the syncopation on the fourth beat.

The fourth movement is “Sagrado” and is introduced by a sweet string piece that mimics the classical Cuban song “Perla Marina”. The melancholy builds between the harmonies of the strings and grand percussions parts. It’s probably the most “classical” part of the Suite and the f;lute parts seem to dance around the drums and above the strings. It’s a very appealing piece that begs you to stop and listen and I can only imagine how it would be with dancers performing at the same time. After all, this is ballet. The last movement, “Jubilee/Comparsa” opens with a flute fanfare that gives way to the strings, once again, laying a beautifully quiet string section. The flute repeats the melody of the song throughout as the strings expand and lift until the piece builds up to a European meets African elements in a Creole celebration. It ends up defining the musical stew that is Cuban modern music.

aruan ortizSantiarican Blues Suite was released on April 10 and together with Orbiting display two diverse sides of one of the greatest pianists working today in both avant-garde jazz as well as classical music. Aruán considers himself “a curious person who loves music”,and incorporates classical music, Middle Eastern, African, and Afro Cuban rhythmic elements into his compositions. He crosses borders and breaks down barriers, perhaps, more than any other musician working today. A virtuoso performer, and important composer, an award winning producer for other artists and, maybe most importantly as an educator. Check out his website for performances and other news. There’s no telling what other projects he may be juggling at any given moment.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved


Cold Specks

I reviewed this amazing new artists debut album last week and has this to say, “It is a voice raked by the claws of Cupid, a voice rubbed raw by the philosopher´s stone.” Now, new tour dates are being announced. Seriously, catch this amazing new artist.



Cold Specks “Winter Solstice” from the Hoxton Hall Series



Debut album, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion out May 22nd





“Haunting doom-laden soul”


When she begins singing, you understand the fuss…


"I can tell you without a doubt that Al Spx is going to be a superstar before year’s end."


“Positively spellbinding and downright possessed”


Currently touring through the US and celebrating the release of her debut album I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, and a #1 Most Played Song of The Week for Blank Maps at KEXP, Cold Specks is ready to announce new tour dates including stops in Brooklyn at Glasslands on August 1st and Los Angeles at the Echo on August 16th.  

Otherwise known as Al Spx, Cold Specks hails from Etobicoke, Canada although she now calls London home.  Channeling James Joyce’s Ulysses she donned the name Cold Specks from Joyce’s gripping script “Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil, lights shining in the darkness.”

Describing her sound as ‘Doom Soul’, Cold Specks’ music is steeped in the musical traditions of the Deep South. No wonder then that Al cites the Lomax Field Recordings and James Carr as influences along with Bill Callahan and Tom Waits. With a voice that evokes the ‘spirit feel’ of Mahalia Jackson and the visceral tones of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Cold Specks’ sparse arrangements and chain gang rhythms stop you dead in your tracks.

“My little brother, who was spending his summers with our mother in Toronto, had always told me of this girl he was friends with that had this amazing voice,” recalls Cold Specks’ manager, Jim Anderson. “As a producer I’d heard that so often that I didn't take too much notice. Then I came in one night to find him and a few friends drinking in the flat and playing a CD of her demos. I was completely transfixed and just kept pressing repeat. I knew I had to work with her. I eventually persuaded her to come over. At that point she had never played with another musician and was completely self-taught with her own unique tuning and timings, which we had to decipher.”

“Jim convinced me to fly out and work on the record for a few months,” explains Al Spx. “That was a year and a half ago. I guess I’m permanently based here now. I didn’t know anyone when I moved here. We needed musicians and Jim knew a bunch. Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey’s regular collaborator) has been helping out with some arrangements and percussion and Jim’s old friends Pete Roberts (guitar), Thomas Greene (piano) and Tom Havelock (cello) also play on the record.”


May 23rd – Stubb’s – Austin, TX*

May 24th – One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA*

May 25th – Variety Playhouse –Atlanta, GA*
May 26th – Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC*

May 27th – Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, DC*
May 28th- Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA*

May 30th – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY*

May 31st – Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, MA*

June 2nd – The Music Hall –Toronto, ONT*

July 27th & July 28th - Calgary Folk Festival –Calgary, AB

July 29th – Hillside Festival – Guelph, ON

August 1st- Glasslands- Brooklyn, NY

August 3rd- August 5th - SappyFest- Sackville, AB

August 7th – Le Divan Orange – Montreal, QC

August 8th – The Great Hall – Toronto, ONT

August 10th – August 12th – Regina Folk Festival – Regina, SK

August 16th – The Echo – Los Angeles, CA

*With Great Lake Swimmers

LISTEN to Cold Specks covering Swan's "Reeling The Liars In"





Wednesday, May 23, 2012

CD/DVD Release Parties!!–Del Castillo Starting memorial Day Weekend.

CD/DVD Release Parties!! - SATURDAY - Houston, Tx - SUNDAY - Corpus Christi, Tx!!

I reviewed the album back in March and still am stunned by the music. if you are luck enough to be in Texas over Memorial Day Weekend, then catch this memorable band. Dates below, or follow the links to Del Castillo’s site.

Greetings Del Castillo Familia!

This Memorial Weekend, come celebrate with Del Castillo!!



For those of you who missed us at the International Festival...

Come join us for another FREE night of music in the Monnalisa Lounge inside the beautiful Hotel Sorella in Houston, Texas!!

Showtime starts at 10 pm!!




It's that time of year again! Del Castillo returns to Corpus Christi for our annual Memorial Weekend Concert, but this time we have a new CD/DVD!!

Come get a copy of "Infinitas Rapsodias"!

LIBRA opens the show!




Here's what Critics Are Saying About

Infinitas Rapsodias:

"Infinitas Rapsodias" is a CD/DVD by Del Castillo, who has created a Spanish work of art where Del Castillo's voice and music sits at the perfect point--between romance and sex.

- JSI Top 21 Syndicatd Column

“Outstanding” is an adjective that shouldn’t be thrown around lightly, but at every turn on the new album by Del Castillo, “Infinitas Rapsodias,” that word keeps popping up in my mind. This ambitious, two-disc set on Smilin’ Castle Records by the award-winning Austin band is their fifth release to date, showcasing the collective energy of the del Castillo brothers – guitarists Mark and Rick – and their accomplished fellow musicians: lead singer Alex Ruiz; bassist Albert Besteiro; drummer Mike Zeoli; percussionist Jason Murdy. Their special concoction of Flamenco, Rock, World, Latin and Blues, peppered with the collaborative spirit of Santana, makes for one potent musical cocktail.

Five new songs plus re-vamped favorites are among the tracks here, recorded mostly in Spanish and English in their Kyle, Texas studio. (Because of their world tour this year in support of the album, they even recorded an Italian version of “Maria.”) Eclectic guest appearances, such as soulful singers Leann Atherton and Malford Milligan on “Brotherhood,” gypsy fiddler Phoebe Hunt on the coquettish “Vida” and German opera singer Anna Maria Kaufmann, who dazzles with Ruiz in a duet on “Amor Venme A Buscar,” raise their revisited band standards to new levels of cool. Ever–present classical guitar stylings by the brothers are the common threads that stitch together this patchwork of tracks.

The album opens with “Lumbres De Babylon” – a seven-minute tour-de-force of higher and higher octane playing, followed by a middle eastern-tinged “Fuego Egipcio” with featured guitarist Monte Montgomery. Flamenco piece “Mi Carino” and moving performances in “Perdoname” by vocalist Ruiz, Carl Thiel on piano and Erik Hokkanen on violin are some of the many stand-outs.

A bonus DVD includes the music video of “Canta De Alma,” plus a twenty-six minute behind-the-scenes making of the record which clearly captures the band’s creative, infectious enthusiasm. Live jam sessions of some of their covers, in particular their slay-you-dead Latin version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” will cause endorphin and adrenaline rushes, so listen up and enjoy.

- Janet Goodman, Music News Nashville

“I always write about music while listening to the CD. I couldn’t do that with this one. It would be like eating McDonalds French Fries while touring The Prado Museum while reading an Archie Comic Book (all apologies to Veronica). No worries. If you have a brain in your head, if you have a heart in your soul, the music will automatically grab you and hold you. Much more than a ‘Latin Rock’ band, they are a musical inoculation. One song and you are guaranteed to never listen to Justin Bieber again.

The music on this album is stunningly beautiful, rhythmically brilliant and infectious.…Del Castillo mixes up a sonic soup that is an old family recipe, and man, is it delicious.…Pick this one up and pop it in, you’ll become an instant fan. The music these guys create has a passion and energy that transcends any language barriers, cultural stereotypes, or genre, which has resulted in Del Castillo becoming international touring stars. One listen and it’s not hard to see why.“

- Robert Carraher, The Dirty Lowdown

“Del Castillo’s winning points are, well, the whole freaking band. The guitars stand out because they’re so prominent, but everyone pulls their weight. Infinitas Rapsodias delivers in every sense. The only way to discuss the guitar play is ferocious. I’m worried my stereo will burst into flames; it’s so intense. Songs like (Lumbres de Babylon) would get any audience throwing their hands up, screaming. It will make you want to swing from chandeliers. …if you have any love for Mexican guitar, songs about passion and nature, and stuff you can dance to and cry to, look no further than Infinitas Rapsodias.

- John Powell, Angelica-Music

“ Del Castillo is one of those bands you have to see to believe… something like the Gypsy Kings meet Guns N Roses….the acoustic guitar playing is so crisp and romantic — and Ruiz’s low, gritty voice (is) so perfectly suited to these earthy jams.“

- Chris Jorgensen, Billing Gazette

“…this is a real joy; the sort of passionate material that makes jaded reviewers fall back in love with music. Fresh-faced flamenco; great classics given a new coat of paint; jamming with the enthusiasm of a band that is comfortable together, but years away from feeling tired; and songs full of character and flair. Great stuff.”
- Derek Walker, The Phantom Tollbooth

“The music these six individuals create has a passion and energy that transcends any language barriers…”

- The Grateful Web

Download the FREE Del Castillo Android Mobile App

Check out the new Mobile App by Del Castillo. This free Mobile App lets you listen to music, check out photos and videos, read blog posts and get exclusive push notifications straight to your mobile device.





Keep up with the action of our live shows on Facebook or Twitter by clicking the links below! You can also now download songs from any of our CDs by clicking on the "Music Store" tab on our Facebook page! If you want a DC Ringtone, click on the "Store" tab as well!


Get the Del Castillo "GRAB BOX"!!



We'd like to invite ALL of our fans, especially our Street Team, to check out all the widgets at the bottom of this email and help spread the word about DC to anyone and everyone you can think of!! This awesome "Grab Box" makes it extremely easy for even the most "computer-challenged" person to post videos, music players, concert calendars, or even press quotes into your website of choice, (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, etc.), and help promote DC!! We truly appreciate the support and love!!

Thank you for all your love and support of Del Castillo!

Paz, Amor, y Musica Latina!!

ReverbNation Twitter Artist Website other Facebook


iTunes Amazon Mp3 Rhapsody Napster CD Baby Insound Del Castillo Del Castillo

"“…this is a real joy; the sort of passionate material that makes jaded reviewers fall back in love with music. Fresh-faced flamenco; great classics given a new coat of paint; jamming with the enthusiasm of a band that is comfortable together, but years away from feeling tired; and songs full of character and flair. Great stuff.” " — Derek Walker, The Phantom Tollbooth
"“ Del Castillo is one of those bands you have to see to believe… something like the Gypsy Kings meet Guns N Roses….the acoustic guitar playing is so crisp and romantic — and Ruiz’s low, gritty voice (is) so perfectly suited to these earthy jams.“" — Chris Jorgensen, Billings Gazette
"“Del Castillo’s winning points are, well, the whole freaking band. The guitars stand out because they’re so prominent, but everyone pulls their weight. Infinitas Rapsodias delivers in every sense. The only way to discuss the guitar play is ferocious. I’m worried my stereo will burst into flames; it’s so intense. Songs like (Lumbres de Babylon) would get any audience throwing their hands up, screaming. It will make you want to swing from chandeliers. …if you have any love for Mexican guitar, songs about passion and nature, and stuff you can dance to and cry to, look no further than Infinitas Rapsodias." — John Powell, Angelica Music

The Del Castillo Store

Anybody Wanna T-Shirt
view this item »

WIDGETS (Put our stuff on your web pages and blogs!)

Music Player (Pro)

Video Player Widget (Pro)

Show Schedule Widget (Pro)

Press Widget (Pro)

Fan Collector (Pro)

Exclusive Downloads (Pro)