#The lights are dimmed, the music stops, and the crowded audience holds a collective breath. Rising flamenco star Nino de los Reyes dances to the stage in silence. His body and feet are his music, as he clicks and turns to a rhythm all his own. Enraptured, the audience murmurs its appreciation. Nino commands the stage with precise and bold movements until, gradually, the flamenco-jazz band joins him instrument by instrument.
This was the opening of Nino de los Reyes’ mesmerising performance at the Matisse Club, a sociable live music venue and bar in the ‘Zona Cedro’ area of town. The first flamenco dancer in history to win a Grammy, Nino de los Reyes has recorded with pop and jazz superstars and performed with well-known companies and musicians at festivals and venues across the world. In 2010, Nino’s show ‘Origen’ won three awards at the prestigious ‘Certamen de coreografia de Danza Española y Flamenco’, one of which was ‘most promising young flamenco choreographer’. Twelve years later, this promise shows no sign of dimming.
That night at the Matisse Club, the audience was the second audience to lay eyes on this new project, which included guests who added the elements of cajón, saxophone, and rap. Combining exceptional musical talent with astounding creativity in flamenco, Nino moved seamlessly between dance and percussion, directing the band from the classic table upon which flamencos use their knuckles to create their rhythm. The performance was not a flamenco dancer and a backing band, but a conversation between all the musicians equally, where Nino’s instrument was his dance.
Blending the soul and expertise of jazz with duende, the heart of flamenco, the dancer and the band spoke to each other through interpretation and improvisation of the highest calibre. Performing versions of the greatest composers alongside their own compositions, each quartet member and guest had their own moment in the spotlight.
The conversation between the instruments, the funky bass, the mix of synth and grand piano, made me wonder if this is what jazz felt like when it was new. The fusion felt fresh and fun, and the audience hung on every note, clapping and shouting ‘Olé!’.
Nino stretched moments out to perfection, and danced with a speed and clarity to his rhythm. Two magical moments were the teasing call and response between drummer Sergio Martinez and Nino’s percussive flamenco, and Nino’s joyfully improvised performance to the rap by AWFBEATS.
Listening to talented musicians amongst an engaged audience was a pleasure. Like the name suggests, Matisse Club seems to be a place where art comes alive. Once the house lights were on and the musicians had left the stage, I grabbed my phone. The first thing I did was to find the closest Flamenco class.
This was the opening of Nino de los Reyes’ mesmerising performance at the Matisse Club, a sociable live music venue and bar in the young, student-y, ‘Zona Cedro’ area of town. This area is full of music venues, cafes, and bars all within walking distance of the Amistat-Casa de Salud metro. What sets Matisse Club apart – aside from the engaged clientele and colourfully lit bar painted with influential musicians – is the variety of music you’ll hear there. Classical, jazz, soul, funk, salsa, K-pop and flamenco, all have a home there.
Report by Julia McGee-Russell
Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’
‘Nino de los Reyes’ photos copyright Julia McGee-Russell/ ’24/7 Valencia’
Find out more about Matisse Club:
Address: Carrer de Campoamor, 60, 46022 València, Valencia
Contact: +34 685 240 014