67: Alexis Cuadrado, bassist / composer
Alexis Cuadrado is on a quest for the ecstatic truth. It either started in Spain when he was a young boy, or it started 20,000 years ago, depending on how you look at it.
The product of 1980s, post-Franco Spain, Alexis was drawn to a life in music despite his parents’ desire for him to do anything he wanted to do “that was normal and not music”. He paid his early dues as a bass player in the early 1990s Barcelona scene where American musicians mingled regularly with Spanish players, and a new form of modern folk music was developing called Nuevo Flamenco.
Eventually he felt the siren song of city and crossed over. He moved to New York nearly two decades ago and got to work. It was only after having logged nearly a dozen years in America that Alexis started thinking about the music he left behind. Through a process he refers to as “decoding and recoding” Flamenco, he sought to integrate the folk music of Spain and the jazz, chamber music, and world elements that he had been exploring.
We met recently to discuss everything from Gypsy weddings to music as a form of protest, reconnecting with Flamenco, and becoming an American citizen. He says, “I think the most American thing I can do is be myself.”
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