Ojos Cerrados is an affair between flamenco and jazz, the old and new World, Spain and New York. The guitarist explains the title of his new album in the liner notes as follows:
“In an age where we live behind screens, it takes one to close his eyes to really see, to really hear and discover the beauty that lies deep within all things. This is the place where these compositions started. I hope that they will take you to that place.”
Besides Carles Benavent, the legendary and longtime bassist of Paco de Lucia, numerous musicians have participated in the album such as flamenco singer Antonio Lizana from Cadiz, Valencian songwriter Carles Denia, Arabic virtuoso vocalist Farah Siraj, a string quartet and many other musicians and singers.
Starting point for the compositions were traditional flamenco palos (such as Fandango, Seguiriya, Alegria etc) which Arnold expanded harmonically and melodically in a way that crystalized into a unique vision of contemporary flamenco. Influences can clearly be found, for example on the track El Almendro which evokes Vicente Amigo or on Un Siecle which is influenced by Ennio Morricone. Arnold seems to take a special interest in catchy melodies, surely a result of his love for pop music. But again and again, the pieces leave space for improvisatios which allow the musicians to bring their own personalities, very much in the spirit of jazz.
On two pieces of the album Arnold is taking a stand for social justice, a topic very dear to the artist: Paz en Gaza is dedicated to the victims of the war in the Gaza Strip in 2014 and Bolero de Brooklyn was written for victims of racism and police violence in the US.
The material was composed between Andalusia and New York City and recorded in Barcelona. Besides guitar, Arnold also played bouzouki and mandolin on the album which he co-produced with the percussionist Carlos Ronda.
Andreas Arnold grew up in a family of classical musicians in Germany, studied jazz guitar at the Conservatory in Amsterdam and with Mike Stern and John Abercrombie in New York. He has been living in Brooklyn, NY for nine years. Arnold toured on five different continents and plays over two hundred concerts a year worldwide a variety of flamenco, world music and jazz projects. He has also participated in numerous CD productions not only as a guitarist but also as a composer, arranger and producer.
During many periods of living in the south of Spain, Andreas Arnold has dedicated himself to the art of flamenco, that he not only convinces with an impressive technique, but also with authenticity and a passion that time and again leave even spanish audiences in disbelief.