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Emaginario | “Interlude of the Duende”

World-Traversed and Genre-Fluid Guitarist Ethan Margolis (aka Emaginario) Fuses Jazz, Delta Blues with Romaní (Gypsy) Stylings on Interlude of the Duende

Interlude of the Duende Features Bassist Larry Grenadier and Drummer Eric Harland

Available July 19 on Ropeadope

World-traversed and genre-fluid guitarist Ethan Margolis, aka “Emaginario,” is a prime example of an artist who has become greater than the sum of his many parts and pathways. Through the eclectic filter of his musical passions, studies and influences, Margolis has evolved into a creative and worldly artist, whose deep connections with Romaní people, flamenco, jazz, blues and even punk coalesce into a unique musical voice.

Elements of that Margolis style can be heard coming to fruition on his forthcoming album, Interlude of the Duende, in trio form with jazz masters Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland, set for July 19 release on Ropeadope.

Duende, the Spanish word in the title, has been called “a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity” and is often connected with flamenco and the Andalusian Romaní population. On this recording, the term appropriately reflects the complexity of the music, the power of the collaboration itself and more broadly Margolis’ life experience in Spain and beyond.

Margolis, who spent more than two decades playing guitar within Spain’s Romaní community, continues to translate that rhythmic language into American jazz formats and recordings in the vein of Hungarian Roma guitarist Gabor Szabó and the jazz-flamenco crossover playing of Lenny Breau.

“Initially I wrote the compositions for my style of guitar playing and out of my love for roots-based genres such as blues, flamenco and jazz,” Margolis says of Interlude of the Duende. “I had full ideas for congas, bongo, batá, and shakers in these compositions but circumstance brought drummer Eric Harland to the session, and we worked together to harness the essence of the drums in the songs.”

Of the upright bass aspects and Grenadier’s participation, Margolis says, “Larry played with a masterful accompanist-mentality staying ‘out of the way’ of the guitar very naturally but at the same time keeping the groove moving forward as needed — check out ‘Solace and Descent’ as a reference to this. He also plays some really special stuff on ‘Continuance’ and ‘A Beating Heart.’”

Margolis wrote out several of the bass parts on the record so that harmonically he might achieve a natural fusion of sounds for his style. He adds, “I am extremely sensitive to the frequency clashes between acoustic guitars and upright basses, so understanding where the bass might play is an important aspect to my comfort zone as an improviser. The tunings and keys were deliberate compositional tools to highlight the acoustic guitar as a world jazz instrument and I wanted to play equal parts ‘finger style’ as well as ‘picking.’”

Illustrating the diverse reach of his musical impulses, Margolis initially ventured into his debut “world jazz” album, Soleángeles, in 2014, during a period of live activity at venerated Los Angeles jazz venues The Blue Whale and The Baked Potato. From another hybridized corner of his musical mind comes the 2015 album Sonikete Blues. Recorded both in Spain and the USA, that album proposed an inventive merging of flamenco and Delta blues—idioms with more emotional and fringe socio-cultural connections than might be expected. 

Following these two albums would be a 2016 EP and video release of Speakeasy Session alongside Miles Davis’s alumni pianist, Deron Johnson, the 2020 electronic jazz EP, Arsa 100, with pianist, Chano Domínguez, a 2022 piano and voice duo EP with Cuban virtuoso pianist, Caramelo de Cuba, En Madrid, and lastly a 2023 full length release of his original songs, Songs of Mind which garnered an editor’s choice selection from JAZZIZ and a ‘best of the rest of 2023’ write-up from Goldmine Magazine.

Entrenched by now in his still-maturing musical saga, Margolis continues the process of finding surprising–yet also logical–connections in the many strands of his musical life’s tapestry. He is an artist firmly in sync with an era of redefining of musical identities, in flamenco, jazz and other formerly fixed musical genres. In effect, Margolis has found himself in both the roots and various offshoots, and his own links thereof, within the music world.

Read More About Ethan Margolis here.

Eric Harland, Larry Grenadier, Emaginario (left to right) / photo credit: David Doobinin

Emaginario · Interlude of the Duende

Ropeadope · Release Date: July 19, 2024

For more information on Ethan Margolis, please visit: | Facebook | Instagram

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DL Media · (917) 929-4910‬

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