Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lara & Reyes

I have found a new distraction!

To my embarrassment, I had never heard of this San Antonio duo in all their years together, though I know one of them from his other ventures in the music scene around here.
Sergio Lara and Joe Reyes are two of the best guitarists San Antonio has ever produced and their vibrant Latin- tinged jazz has been repeatedly compared to the best on the biz. I feel no need to name names, as I am here to talk about this “new” old duo’s work.

I am called Jazz, a self-given nickname of more than 30 years. I love the music form, because it usually challenges the artist to a higher degree than rock or even blues does. It also has yet to conform to any rules, which gives one the ability to stretch out.
Lara and Reyes could easily end up lumped into the New Age category, or maybe world music, because of the diversity they aim for. Their percussionists come from totally different backgrounds than the two Spanish styled guitar players, while the bassist, playing no less than six strings, is obviously a jazzer from the beginning. Yet their interplay was the stuff of legends. There are many guitar duos out there, some these two have already been compared to, but I really think they are in a place all their own.
Right now I have the CD “World Jazz” on. I have listened to squibs of other CDs on Amazon, but this one caught my ear. I will have to see them a few more times before I could start ranting like I do about the brothers in DC, but I daresay these two, like Monty, could easily give the boys a run for their money. I have now an ideal gig in my brain: Lara & Reyes, Del Castillo, Monty Montgomery, and to top the night off, a guitar jam session the likes of which have not been seen in this city since 1984. That was McLaughlin, di Meola, De Lucia, and Steve Morse, at the Majestic Theater. God what a night that was.

Incidentally, I have found that too many guitar fans have yet to hear of that ground breaking album, which is beyond sad. Do yourself a favour; go find “A Friday Night In San Francisco,” by the first three in that last list. It is, as yet, untouched, by any other group I have heard. It was quite probably a majour influence in many bands’ worlds. I knew rockers who would stand in silent awe in my record store while those amazing guitars blared out of our woefully inadequate speakers. That is the true test of music- can it still sound good when the system playing it is crap?

I have seen Joe Reyes play with Patricia Vonne, the Swindles, this duo, and come Monday, a band called Buttercup. I also think now that we have crossed paths before. His work over the last 25 years or so has had just reason to cross mine, though I will leave those stories for some other time. I just know that he has become one of the best guitar players to EVER come out of San Antonio. If you hear of any of these groups in your area, especially Lara & Reyes, don’t miss ‘em. you will not be disappointed.


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