French bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons brings together the musical worlds of the Mediterranean Rim, Latin America, flamenco and jazz on La Linea del Sur. The disc features an intriguing instrumentation of bass, accordion (David Ventucci), flamenco guitar (Kiko Ruiz) and percussion (Pascal Rollando). Vocalist Esperanza Fernandez, a grand voice of flamenco, appears on three tracks, illuminating Garcia-Fons’ words, inspired by the Persian poet Rumi.
Garcia-Fons is an incomparable virtuoso, bowing his 5-string double bass with the precision, clarity and impeccable intonation of a classical master. The bassist’s supple improvisations are inventive, and at times jaw-dropping. The barrage of 16th-note runs heard during the opening title track toys with the commonly perceived limitations of the bass. The danceable 7/8 groove of "Nada" contains another astonishing, yet tasteful display of exceptional bass prowess. A disc highlight is the bass/vocal duet on the closing track "Enamorada." Here, Garcia-Fons demonstrates a guitar-like approach to accompanying Fernadez’ earth delivery.
The bassist’s chosen sidemen provide good company, each exhibiting unwavering technique and stylistic sensibility. Guitarist Ruiz and accordionist Ventucci provide rhythmically strong accompaniment and tackle melody and solo lines with finesse.
The overall affect of Garcia-Fons’ musical vision is uplifting and optimistic. La Linea del Sur is genre defying, spirited music of the highest caliber.