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Mark Gutierrez | That's So Cool

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Latin: Latin Jazz World: Flamenco Moods: Featuring Guitar
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That's So Cool

by Mark Gutierrez

This cd features Mark's trademark lyrical melodies and expressive and melodic guitar playing. He is featured on nylon string and jazz guitar playing a variety of original Spanish/latin, smooth jazz, pop, and brazilian styles.
Genre: Latin: Latin Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Two Years
3:49 $0.99
2. Que Cosa
4:41 $0.99
3. That's so Cool
4:40 $0.99
4. Memories of You
4:51 $0.99
5. Let's Play
4:21 $0.99
6. The Arrival
4:26 $0.99
7. Remember When
5:21 $0.99
8. Forget About It
3:48 $0.99
9. Medianoche
4:41 $0.99
10. Her Kiss
3:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Where That's So Cool begins and ends are similar points, but the journey between them makes for a fantastic listen. This 2010 album by Mark Gutierrez is a collection of instrumental pieces, centered on the guitar. Gutierrez puts his chops on full display by playing multiple guitars and layering them together, and the sound is further expanded through the use of occasional piano and mild percussion. Aside from the bass, played by Jose Marino, all the music on the album is flowing from the fingertips of Gutierrez, which makes for a staggering amount of sound.

Gutierrez is a remarkably talented musician, and it consistently shows from track to track. Not one of the ten songs on That's So Cool is lacking in intensely precise playing. By and large, the style is rooted in Spanish and Flamenco Guitar with some easy listening and jazz elements thrown in. Regardless of what influence he's drawing from, Gutierrez displays prodigious skill and energy.

The album's opener, "Two Years," starts off with a combination of a bouncy piano, soft rhythm guitar, shakers, and then the lead comes in. In many ways, it sounds like the traditional easy listening fare, but Gutierrez's lead playing picks up fast and gives the song a life of its own. As a comparison, if you were to take out the lead, the backing arrangement would be akin to something like the Allman Brother's "Jessica." While the song goes along, Gutierrez plays quickly yet gently, in a solo that is as soothing as it is dynamic. The second song, "Que Cosa" goes more heavily into the sound of the Spanish guitar and is more indicative of the sound of the album as a whole. The bass work from Marino also comes through on this song, adding an extra push to the rhythm Gutierrez plays by rapping on his guitar. About two minutes in, the amount of music being played is colossal, almost like a wall of sound, as more guitars work their way into the arrangement.

It's important to note that aside from Gutierrez's talent, the best part about this album is the mixing and production of it. Not only does every note come across in crystal clear fashion, but various instruments are relegated to either the left or right stereo channel, making each part easier to aurally recognize and enjoy. This is a fantastic aspect to That's So Cool, as very often, the rhythm guitar is just as riveting as the lead.

Two tracks to especially note are the title track, and "The Arrival." The former of these takes on a much different tone than the rest of the album, and goes much deeper into jazz elements, to the point where it sounds like it could've been included on a Pat Metheny album. A lot of this sound has to do with the guitar tone, but also the relationship between the piano, bass, and lead. Though the piano playing isn't as developed as the lead is, the sound of it all is rich and engaging. "The Arrival," instead of leaning towards jazz goes more towards Flamenco. The playing on this song is as fast as it gets on the album yet sacrifices nothing in terms of precision. The rhythm is engaging enough, but the flourishes Gutierrez plays on the lead, arrest the attention of the listener.

The only shortcoming of That's So Cool are some of the slower pieces that go on for a bit longer than they should, namely "Memories Of You" and "Remember When." Though these songs showcase the ability of Gutierrez to make amazing music with a different feel to it than his up-tempo numbers, the pieces drag, as the energy isn't quite enough to sustain pieces around five minutes in length. Both of these songs still serve to break up the sound of the album and display a bit of versatility, but they could be tightened up a bit to help the way they flow.

Mark Gutierrez is a phenomenal talent. That's So Cool is an outstanding instrumental album that could easily be enjoyed by fans of Classical, Spanish, Flamenco, or Jazz guitar musicians, or by easy-listening fans. The combination of Gutierrez's ability and the production quality is a perfect marriage that really allows the listener to pick apart the various sounds and understand the talent behind this effort. That's So Cool is not just a dynamic instrumental album, but also an accessible one that delivers a soothing listen, as much as it does an invigorating one.

Review by Heath Andrews
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Mark Gutierrez is not an easy artist to categorize. During the course of this 44-minute instrumental album, the Los Angeles-based guitarist draws on everything from pop-jazz to Spanish flamenco to Afro-Cuban music to Brazilian music. Gutierrez, who produced and arranged That's So Cool himself, and composed all of the material, can be jazzy at times even though this isn’t a jazz recording per se. And although he has been influenced by a variety of music from Spain and different parts of Latin America, That's So Cool never gets into traditional flamenco, traditional Afro-Cuban music or traditional Brazilian music; everything he does is a hybrid of some sort. So it would be inaccurate to place That’s So Cool in any one category. But one thing is for certain: Gutierrez is a talented guitarist and as a composer, and his ability to keep listeners guessing is part of this album’s charm.

Gutierrez is at his most jazz-influenced on “Forget About It,” “Two Years,” and the title track. Listen to these selections closely, and one can tell that he has listened to Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Pat Metheny and other jazz guitar greats along the way. “Forget About It,” “Two Years,” and “That’s So Cool” won’t be mistaken for straight-ahead hard bop (certainly not by anyone who knows a lot about jazz), but the jazz influence is there nonetheless. “Que Cosa” and “The Arrival,” meanwhile, are among the CD’s more flamenco-flavored offerings. These tracks are not flamenco in the traditional Paco de Lucía/Camarón de la Isla/Tomatito sense, but they are relevant to what Spaniards refer to as “nuevo flamenco,” a term that refers to modern flamenco combined with anything from salsa to funk to cumbia. Spain’s flamenco purists tend to be critical of nuevo flamenco much like jazz purists are critical of jazz-rock fusion, but Gutierrez never claims to be a flamenco purist any more than he claimed to be a jazz purist, a salsa purist or a samba purist. And from a nuevo flamenco standpoint, “Que Cosa” and “The Arrival” are equally likable.

“Medianoche” has a strong Afro-Cuban flavor, while the melancholy “Memories of You” (not to be confused with the well known Eubie Blake standard) has a bossa nova-ish appeal. Gutierrez’ “Memories of You” expresses the feeling of saudade that is quite common in the music of Brazil and Portugal. Saudade is a hard-to-translate Portuguese word that refers to a deeply nostalgic yearning for something that has been lost, and Gutierrez plays with plenty of saudade on “Memories of You.” A Brazilian flavor also asserts itself on “Let’s Play,” the good-natured tune that comes right after “Memories of You.” But “Let’s Play,” unlike “Memories of You,” has an optimistic, upbeat mood. Between “Memories of You” and “Let’s Play,” Gutierrez demonstrates that different types of things can be done with a Brazilian influence.

Gutierrez doesn’t have a lot of accompaniment on this album, the only other musician who joins him being his bassist José Marino. And when Gutierrez needs the occasional acoustic piano, he plays it himself. The guitar is his main instrument, but his acoustic piano solo on “Medianoche” demonstrates that he knows his way around the instrument as well. The fact that Gutierrez has chops, however, doesn’t mean that he is a flashy or ostentatious type of player. Gutierrez is a very lyrical and melodic guitarist, and he isn’t one to beat listeners over the head with technique or pyrotechnics. In fact, his guitar playing tends to be introspective, light (though not lightweight) and understated whether he is drawing on pop-jazz, flamenco, Afro-Cuban music, Brazilian music or a combination of things. Again, Gutierrez is not a musician who fits neatly into any one particular category of music; stylistically, he is all over the place. And between his chops, compositional skills and appreciation of variety, That’s So Cool isn’t a bad listen at all.

Review by Alex Henderson

The Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist/composer Mark Gutierrez is enjoying the release of his third production as a leader. While performing and recording for many years with numerous salsa and latin jazz ensembles throughout Southern California and elsewhere, Gutierrez has always found time to produce his own music, including this latest CD “That’s So Cool”. Playing acoustic and electric guitars, piano and shakers, Gutierrez offers a repertoire comprised of ten original compositions and arrangements. In the sole company of bassist Jose Marino, Gutierrez blends smooth world-beat styling and soothing ballads. Favorites include the selections “That’s So Cool”, “Memories of You”, and “Medianoche”.

Rudy Mangual, Latin Beat Magazine


MARK GUTIERREZ, a Los Angeles native is a multi-talented musician well versed in many styles of music including Jazz, Classical, Blues, Rock, Latin, and Flamenco. This versatility finds him in many different musical situations whether it be on stage performing with his group, other groups, solo, or in the studio.
He received his formal musical training at the California State University of Los Angeles where he graduated with a B.A. and a M.A., majoring in Jazz and classical performance. While in college, he was awarded 2nd place at the American String Teachers Association solo classical guitar recital-competition. He was also awarded Most Outstanding Guitarist at the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival and was awarded Outstanding Musicianship as an arranger.
Mark's other 2 cds are: “Spanish Nights”, which features Latin and Flamenco styles, and “I’ll Just Groove”, which features jazz, funk, rock, and pop styles.
Mark has performed and/or recorded with many of L.A.’s top Latin and Jazz performers including Peggie Perkins, Llew Matthews, Justo Almario, Oskar Cartaya, Richie Garcia, Susie Hansen, Johnny Blas, Bobby Rdoriguez, Juan Carlos Quintero, Marcos Loya, Luis Villegas, Bobby Matos, Banda Brothers, Germaine Franco, Elaine Miles, Yve Evans, and the Swing Kings. He has also performed with Trini Lopez, Joan Sebastian, Joe Bataan, The Crystals, and was the guitarist in the school program entitled “Music: the Universal Language” sponsored by the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra.
His original music was heard on “The Sopranos”, “One Life to Live”, “The Young and the Restless” and he was seen on MTV’s “Till Death Do Us Part” performing his own music. Mark has also written and recorded music for Miller beer and Budweiser commercials.
In Theater, Mark played guitar in the East Los Angeles Classic Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”. On screen he appeared in the Warner Brothers movie “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” as a member of the Mambo band. On television he appeared in “Seventh Heaven” and “For Your Love”.
Teaching credits include guitar instruction at the Plaza de la Raza summer workshops and classes at the Dick Grove School of Music and the Los Angeles Music Academy.
Mark currently endorses Heritage guitars and Seymour Duncan pickups.



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