Every relationship is about the commingling of two unique sensibilities into one harmonious experience. Dawn is a romance in luxurious musical form, bringing together the passion and rhythmic drive of Flamenco with the sultry sophistication and alluring wit of jazz. As the title implies, Dawn marks a bold, bright beginning for the partnership between the extraordinary Mexican-born jazz vocalist Magos Herrera and the young Spanish Flamenco innovator Javier Limón.
The collaboration between Herrera and Limón represents the blending of two fresh, forward-thinking approaches to their respective musical traditions. Since moving to New York City in 2008, Herrera has brought the sounds of her native Mexico City into the vanguard of modern jazz, collaborating with such acclaimed and distinctive artists as pianist Aaron Goldberg, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist John Patitucci and saxophonist Tim Ries. As a virtuosic guitaristist and in-demand producer, Limón has helped to expand the vocabulary of Flamenco music via collaborations with renowned artists like Paco de Lucia, Bebo and Chucho Valdés, Avishai Cohen, and Wynton Marsalis, among others.
"Something that we share is that we do believe that music can be inclusive," Herrera says. "So this means that you can have a Latin jazz singer singing with a Flamenco guitar player."
Dawn finds the pair bringing these unique backgrounds to bear on a stunning set of American and Latin jazz masterpieces, including the Miles Davis classic "Blue in Green," Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue," and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "O que tinha de ser (What Has to Be)," alongside their own intoxicating original compositions. The duo's refreshing takes on these classic tunes stakes out a decidedly 21st century reinvention of these wide-ranging musical traditions, intertwining Herrera's emotive voice with Limón's intricate fretwork.
"It's been an incredible learning experience to see how he works as a producer," Herrera says, "and for me to share and be able to create new music together."
Limón says of his collaborator, "I really appreciate a singer like Magos that has a great voice, great rhythm, and a great sense of musicality. She has a big heart with a lot of knowledge. The album, if we have to choose just a few words, is about sound, about rhythm, about loneliness, about emptiness, about voice, heart, guitar, and silence."
Both Herrera and Limón can boast a profound familiarity with that panoply of emotion and experience. After studying at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles and the New England Conservatory in Boston, Herrera returned to Mexico City and released five albums, garnering a large and dedicated following. She moved back to the U.S. in 2008, immediately commanding attention with a knockout performance at that year's Winter Jazz Fest and a guest appearance on Tim Ries' album Stones World: The Rolling Stones Project II.
Ries then produced her sixth album, 2009's highly successful Distancia, which featured Goldberg and Loueke. Her follow-up, México Azul, was an homage to composers from Mexico's cinematic golden age in the 1930s and '40s. Still immensely popular in her home country, Herrera has produced and starred in two music-oriented TV programs on Mexico's Channel 22, while in New York she hosts her own radio show, La Vuelta a La Manzana, in which she discusses music with some of today's leading jazz stars. The U.S. Latin magazine Siempre Mujer recognized her alongside Michelle Obama as one of 2011's ten most important women for her work as a musical ambassador for contemporary Mexican music.
A graduate of the Madrid Royal Conservatory, where he studied piano and guitar, Limón began his career as a composer for Flamenco artists, but his vision has since expanded to encompass Latin jazz and Cuban music. He has recorded everywhere from Bogota to Paris and from New York to Palestine, lending an international scope to his Flamenco concepts.
In pursuit of total creative independence, Limón created his own record label, Casa Limón, in 2003. The label's first release, Limón, featured special appearances by Paco de Lucia and Niño Josele, among others, who performed original compositions by Limón. The album was followed by Son de Limón (2008) and Mujeres de Agua (2010), a collaboration album featuring acclaimed Portuguese vocalist Mariza, long-time collaborator Buika, Spanish flamenco singer Estrella Morente, Greek folk singer Eleftheria Arvanitaki and Israeli singer-songwriter Yasmin Levy, among others. In 2004, his production work on albums by Diego El Cigala, Bebo Valdés, Paco de Lucia, Andrés Calamaro, Enrique Morente and Niño Josele, won him the Latin GRAMMY for Producer of the Year. In addition, Valdés' album Lágrimas Negras (produced by Limón) was nominated for Album of the Year and won a Latin GRAMMY for Traditional Tropical Album.
Aside from his extensive discography as an artist, producer, composer and collaborator, Limón co-hosts the shows Entre dos Aguas and Los Oficios de la Cultura for Spanish National Television and served as musical director for the network's song contest program Hijos de Babel. He currently serves as Artistic Director of the Berklee College of Music's Mediterranean Music Institute.
Together, Herrera and Limón have crafted an intimate and beautifully expressive exploration of their musical heritages and the winding crossroads that unite them.
Upcoming Magos & Limón Tour Dates:
May 7 / Jamboree Jazz / Barcelona, Spain
May 12 / Teatro Galileo / Madrid, Spain
May 16-17 / Duc des Lombards / Paris, France
May 19 / Norwich Playhouse / Norwich, UK
May 20 / Union Chapel / London, UK
June 5 / Joe's Pub / New York, NY
June 12 / "El Lunario" at the Auditorio Nacional / Mexico City, Mexico
July 6 / Montreux Jazz Festival / Montreux, Switzerland
Magos & Limón · Dawn · Release Date: June 3, 2014