Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Dominguez, Chano (Sebastián Domínguez Lozano)

Pianist Chano Dominguez is at the forefront of collaborations between jazz and the flamenco music of his native Andalusia in Spain. A lyrical, meditative player, he has combined folklore and gypsy fire with world-class jazz chops in his compositions and performances with the likes of Michel Camilo, Jeff Ballard and Wynton Marsalis.

Born Sebastián Domínguez Lozano in Cádiz, Spain on March 29, 1962, Chano's his first contact with music through his father, a flamenco music lover. Thanks to his father, his first instrument was a guitar, at the age of eight. He was self-taught on the guitar, using all the flamenco music he had heard around him.

By the age of 12, he had joined the local parish choir, so he could secretly practice on the church's old pipe organ, without telling anyone. He soon fell in love with the sound of the piano, and began to play with all kind of bands, from folkloric to commercial.

He created his first band, named CAI, when he was eighteen. The group was part of a movement called “Rock Andaluz,” or Andalusian Rock, which controversially mixed elements from symphonic rock, as Pink Floyd or Yes, and flamenco music, in the waning days of Spain's military dictatorship under Francisco Franco. The group released three albums, “Más allá de nuestras mentes diminutas” (1978), “Noche abierta” (1980) and “Canción de Primavera” (1981).

After this last album, the band broke up and Chano joined the band Hiscadix, beginning his career as jazz musician, once again self-taught. With this group, he won a prestigious national competition, the Primera Muestra Nacional para Jóvenes Intérpretes, in Palma de Mallorca (Spain).

In 1987, Dominguez took part in the U.E.R. International Festival in Sweden, and in 1988 he toured Germany and in 1989, Belgium. In 1990, he was a finalist at the Martial Solal International Piano Contest in Paris.

His musical vocabulary and ideas began to capture the attention of the jazz world, and with it he has earned praise from players such as Richie Beirach, Bill Dobbins, Joe Henderson and Kenny Werner. Over the years, Chano has studied with these and other musicians in order to improve his jazz skills.

In 1992, he put together his own trio, and began to mix typical flamenco forms as alegrías, soleas and bulerías, with the jazz language that he was acquiring from his contact with American musicians. In this year, he won the Muestra Nacional de Jazz para Jóvenes Intérpretes competition in Ibiza. This award led to opportunities to perform in different countries, and he finally recorded his first solo album, Chano,with Javier Colina and Guillermo McGill, as well as special appearance by Carles Benavent, Jorge Pardo and “El Bola”.

Two years later, in 1994, he recorded a flamenco-themed album with Jorge Pardo, 10 de Paco, made up of compositions by Paco de Lucía. In 1995 he recorded an album called “Coplas de Madrugá” with Martirio, an important Spanish folk singer.

By 1996, his own jazz flamenco concept had fully matured, as can be heard on his second solo album, “Hecho a mano.”

In 1997, The Spanish authors association (S.G.A.E.) chose Chano to represent Spain at Midem, which led to a duet performance with pianist Michel Camilo in 1997 in Miami.

The same year, he recorded one of the most important albums in his career. In Madrid's renowned Café Central, Chano performed the tracks if his “Piano Solo”, a double live album where he shows how his personal concept and style of playing have developed.

This album, which contains jazz and Latin standards, as well as compositions of his own, won the third edition of Premios de la Música award, and the magazine “Cuadernos de Jazz” awarded it their album of the year. That year, he also composed and and recorded music for the soundtrack of the Spanish film “Siempre hay un camino a la derecha."

In 1998 he composed, arranged and produced the album “Lorquiana” for the Spanish singer Ana Belén, which revisited Spanish popular songs dedicated to the work of the poet Federico García Lorca. And once again, the S.G.A.E. sent him to represent them at Cuba's International Festival Jazz Plaza in La Habana. The busy year ended with the publication of “Otoño”, a new album with the musicians Hozan Yamamoto and Javier Paxariño.

Dominguez went on to produce the album “Tú no sospechas” with Marta Valdés. He plays with his habitual partners in the trio. And again with them in his next album, “Imán,” where he has special guests like the singer Enrique Morente, Luis de la Pica and Blas de Córdoba.

In 2000, he took part in the film Calle 54, directed by Fernando Trueba. This movie documents the work of the most important figures in Latin jazz, including Tito Puente, Gato Barbieri, Chucho Valdés, Paquito D’Rivera, Jerry Gonzalez, Michel Camilo and Eliane Elias. This same year he is invited to play in Miami International Festival and in the Goya Award ceremony. His work “Imán” is also awarded in the fourth edition of Premios de la Música. At the end of the year, he travels to Cuba, to perform with Herbie Hancock.

In 2002, he was nominated for a Grammy Award, thanks to his new work “Oye como viene”. This album was also filmed by the Trueba crew, and released as a DVD, called “Mira como viene.” After these recordings, he begins a big tour in America and Europe, with some of the musicians from Calle 54.

The tour becomes a success, and led to an invitation from Wynton Marsalis to perform at Lincoln Center, New York, where he premiered his composition “De Cádiz a Nueva Orleáns”, for jazz flamenco sextet and big band.

In 2004 two new albums were released. The first one, “Con Alma”, was recorded in New York and edited in Japan. Is a trio recording with George Mraz and Jeff Ballard, and includes the folk-inspired song "La Tarara." The second one was again with the singer Martirio and the R.T.V.E. (Radio Televisión Española) Symphonic Orchestra, named “Acoplados”.

In July, he participated in a ballet based on another work by the poet García Lorca, El café de chinitas, and El sombrero de tres picos, by the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla.

In 2005 he joined drummer Jack DeJohnette for a critically-acclaimed tour of Germany, He also embarked on his most ambitious project to date, a new band and album called “New Flamenco Sound,” which expanded the fusion concept beyond the flamenco-jazz borderline. A long tour came with this album in 2006.

Again, he resumed work with R.T.V.E., and with a new jazz label dedicated to the legacy of Spanish jazz musicians, like Tete Montoliú and Pedro Iturralde. The album is released in 2006, called “Acércate más”, working with Guillermo McGill, Angá, George Mraz, Piraña and Mario Rossy.

In April of 2008, Dominguez returned to New York to perform once again with Marsalis and the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra (JALCO). They reprised "De Cadiz a Nueva Orleans" and other works, and he performed a memorable piano duel with JALCO's pianist, Dan Nimmer.

Dominguez is currently at work on a followup to his 2006 "New Flamenco Sound" album, and continues to tour to support the first one.

Discography

Chano (1992). 10 de Paco (1994), with Jorge Pardo.

Coplas de Madrugá (1995), with Martirio.

Hecho a mano (1996).

En directo - Piano solo (1997).

Siempre hay un camino a la derecha. (Original Soundtrack) (1997).

Otoño (1998).

Lorquiana (arranger) (1998)

Imán (1999).

Calle 54 (2000).

Tú no sospechas (2000), with Marta Valdés.

(2001).

Oye como viene (2003).

Mira como viene (2003). DVD.

1993-2003 (2004). Compilation.

Acoplados (2004), with Martirio.

Con alma (2004).

Acércate más (2006).

New Flamenco Sound (2006).

Awards

Muestra Nacional para Jóvenes Intérpretes de Jazz, Palma de Mallorca, Spain. 1986 (with Hiscadix)

Finalist in the Internacional Piano Contest Martial Solal, París, France.1990.

Muestra Nacional para Jóvenes Intérpretes de Jazz, Ibiza, Spain. 1992.

Best Jazz Album, Cuaderno de Jazz (Magazine), for Directo a piano solo, 1998.

Best Jazz Album, IIIª Edición de los Premios de la Música, for Directo a piano solo, 1998.

Best Jazz Album, IVª Edición de los Premios de la Música, for Imán, 1999.

Grammy Award Nominated, for Oye como viene, 2002.

Contributor: Juan Zagalaz