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Arrebato Ensemble - Damien de Boos-Smith, Andrew Poniris, Greg Alfonzetti, Stuart Henderson and Dave Ellis

The fabulous Arrebato Ensemble and friends played to a packed house in the Studio (cabaret space) in the Sydney Opera House last night.  It was the official launch of their new CD “Absolucion”.

The band was joined by Leonid Beshei on piano accordion and the talented,  fiery and lovely flamenco dancer – Anna Anterio (apologies for the spelling !).

The performance was a stunning and joyful celebration of Arrebato’s unique fusion of flamenco and jazz – at once intimate, passionate and even wistful at times.  The band tells wonderful stories with changing nuanced passages from Greg Alfonzetti’s hard attacking syncopated staccato phrases to the haunting wail of Andrew Poniris’ soprano and alto sax and Damien de Boos-Smith’s liquid cello – backed by Dave Ellis’ velvet brick wall bass and Stuart Henderson’s meticulously-timed percussion.  Damien de Boos-Smith played some wonderful guitar pieces too – but he really shone with his oud playing last night.  I was hearing a miraculous Madrid delta blues piece – which he played with a magically invisible slide.

Impossible to pick an individual piece as a favourite on the night, but for me “Verdades” – (Truths) was particularly fine – between the first truth you hear and the last – comes ….. everything else….

The band played a couple of encores – my favourite ; a mi padre (to my father) speaks of the bond between a man and his Dad.  The piece highlights Greg’s mastery not only of the instrument, but also his strength in composition and a brilliant collaboration with Damien.

You can listen to a couple of tracks at Arrebato’s Web site  – but whatever you do, try to score a copy of Absolucion – to fail to do so – would be unforgivable.