Stoking the Fire Within

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

The Santa Cruz mountains will be coming alive with the intoxicating rhythms of flamenco this Saturday evening when “Latin Guitar World Fusion” band Incendio plays at Henfling’s Firehouse Tavern in Ben Lomond. 

The word  “incendio” means “fire” in both Italian and Spanish, and is an apt description of the band’s music.  Combining the traditional sound of Spanish nylon-string guitar with modern instruments such as guitar synthesizers, drums and electric bass, Incendio’s sound is passionate and energetic, a seamless amalgamation of many styles.  Little wonder, then, that the staff of Henfling’s will be clearing away the chairs to make way for dancing on Saturday night.

Incendio was formed some six years ago, when nouveau flamenco guitarist Jim Stubblefield was playing in the Los Angeles area.   His 1998 album “Natural Elements” had won New Age magazine’s “Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year” award and he was gathering a strong following.  He needed a bass player and recruited Liza Carbe, formerly of 1980s rock band Vixen and Lindsey Buckingham’s touring band.  Eventually, Carbe’s Peruvian guitarist husband Jean-Pierre Durand began sitting in on gigs too. Since the three musicians played so well together, and Carbe and Durand already had considerable experience in producing Latin music, they suggested that they work jointly on Stubblefield’s next CD. Once they were in the recording studio, however, they began writing the material together, and the whole project began to take on more of a band aspect.  They began to toss around ideas for a band name that captured the sound of the music.  Carbe asked her husband how to say “fire” in Spanish, and the name Incendio stuck.

Since its inception, the band has produced three CDs.  The 2000 debut “Misterioso” and its follow-up “Illumination” were both released on Rykodisc and received national airplay.  This year, a live-in-the-studio recording, “Intimo,” was released.  “It’s the kind of stripped-down, in-your-face CD that a lot of our fans have been asking for,” said Carbe.

In addition to the founding trio of Stubblefield, Durand and Carbe, Incendio also has two percussionists.  Joe Shotwell is an accomplished jazz drummer and also plays Indian tabla.  He recently toured nationally with Monty Python member Eric Idle, playing at Carnegie Hall.  Nicole Falzone has worked with Katey Sagal of TV’s “Married With Children,” and has appeared on “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Tonight Show.”

Incendio played around 150 shows last year, and looks set to play at least that many this year.  Currently, most shows are in the western states, but, encouraged by national CD sales, the band hopes to tour more extensively on the East Coast and possibly in Europe in 2004.

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, March 6, 2003

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