Baliardo is the ambassador and exemplar of Gipsy music. Born in Montpellier, France, he and The Gipsy Kings toured the world bringing their own interpretation of this marvelous music.
The Gypsy Evolution is comprised of Baliardo family members and their and friends. Marlon Baliardo and Gibson Baliardo are brothers in addition to being Diego’s grandsons. They play guitar and sing back-up vocals. Gibson also plays piano. Antoine Ona, a friend of Gibson’s, plays bass, while Pacheco Rodolfo is a world-class percussionist.
Baliardo wrote and arranged all of the music for Este Ritmo, proof enough of the artist’s genius.
The album opens with the cheery Me Voy A La Playa (I’m Going to the Beach) with its Latin rhythms and bouncy tempo. This only sets up the even more jaunty No Tengo Dinero (I Have No Money), a witty and wistful turn with tight guitars and steady percussion.
Cara Bonita (Pretty Face) is warm and lush with the cool bass lines and the full strums of the guitar. It is a lovely and romantic piece with excellent movement within the melody. Mi Cintura (My Waist) is a percussionist’s venture into backing up the melodic lines from the guitars and vocals. Throughout it all, the flair of the flamenco is ever-present and always appreciated.
The album takes an emotional turn with Mi Niño (My Child) with its paternal affection and protection before returning to the dance tempo of the title track, Este Ritmo. The pace varies but the musicianship of the band is as flawless as ever. Then on to the steady pulse and pluck of Casita Mama (Mama’s House) with distinct vocals and the undulating rhythms of guitars, bass, and percussion. This is a great tune.
Loquito Loca (Crazy Crazy Parrot) is a great piece of fun and Bonito (Nice) has some of the most delightful vocalizations of the album with layered vocals to add to the fun.
The album closes with El Loco (The Madman) and its vivid vocals and gorgeous guitars. The percussion lights it up in all the right ways and closes on a deliberate full stop.
Este Ritmo is the inevitable evolutionary step of Diego Baliardo, now with The Gipsy Evolution. The legacy of Gipsy guitars, mixed with flamenco stylings and Latin rhythms is a marvelous combination that will not allow the listener to be still. It may be a foot or a finger or the whole body but something’s got to move.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl