Enrique Morente & Tomatito | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Enrique Morente & Tomatito 

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Singer Enrique Morente and guitarist Tomatito (aka Jose Fernandez Torres) are two of the most influential iconoclasts in flamenco music. Like most significant innovators they were well versed in the rules before they broke them. Morente was born in 1942 in Granada, Spain, moved to Madrid at 18, and quickly established himself as a formidable traditionalist. But after a handful of searing albums that demonstrated his grasp of the form, he began taking chances. Morente was the first flamenco artist to set the works of Spanish poets like Federico Garcia Lorca, Lope de Vega, and San Juan de la Cruz to music; he wrote a flamenco mass that employed Gregorian chant; created works for film, television, and theater; and collaborated with the Spanish rock band Lagaritja Nick and the Bulgarian women's choir Angelite. Tomatito took a similar path, beginning his professional career as a teenager accompanying flamenco singers (including Morente), but his most famous partnership was with the legendary cantaor Camaron de la Isla; after Tomatito replaced Paco de Lucia on guitar, the two worked together for 18 years until de la Isla's death in 1992. Like de Lucia, Tomatito loves to mix flamenco with jazz--Spain (2000), a slick, tedious collaboration with pianist Michel Camilo, won two Latin Grammys. But this performance, the finale of the Flamenco 2005 festival, stresses traditional music by two of the strongest voices in the genre; Antonio Carbonell, Angel Gabarre (both hand claps), and Lucky Losada (percussion) fill out the group. Mon 2/14, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $20-$50. All ages.

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