Damian Wright




The music’s flamenco core never wavers. Damian Wright’s glorious guitar playing is the spine, if you will, while his compositions allow other instruments to sing their own songs, like willowy limbs able to dance independently because of the spine’s solidity. Wright’s compositions could have been presented as solo flamenco guitar pieces, but instead he chose to open them up to the interpretation of a band. A key collaborator is Ben Hauptmann, whose 12-string guitar ripples through Wright’s playing or rings out like a bell, as only a 12-string can do. It could easily become overly busy, but Hauptmann is too astute for that, and the instrument seems a natural fit with the music.

Also thickening the weave is the electric bass of Steve Hunter who brilliantly maintains the music’s suppleness, rather the planting big, intermittent columns of sound, while Matt McMahon’s piano solos add a layer of a softer, more impressionistic lyricism. Oud (Amir John Haddad), tabla (Bobby Singh) and percussion (James Hauptmann and Andrej Vujicic) complete the shifting track-by-track palette. Recorded six years ago and held back for some reason, it makes a fine addition to Wright’s impressive catalogue.