By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Flutist Huáscar Barradas takes a decidedly spiritual tack to his profession. The Venezuelan virtuoso sees jazz as liberation, and music in general as an art that teaches children values beyond consumerism. For him improvisation is an opportunity to break free of standard musical systems and structures.
Barradas knows well the dynamics of freedom and constraint. He began formal training at age nine, and at 17 decided to further his studies and move from his native Maracaibo to New York. There he attended the Brooklyn Conservatory. It was the beginning of a versatile career for a musician who easily performs in virtually any musical stream. Barradas is equally comfortable playing symphonic music, chamber music, contemporary, folk, flamenco, and jazz. He looks at the similarities of these forms and rarely expounds on their differences.
He has performed extensively in Europe and the Americas, garnering acclaim from small enclaves of aficionados enamored with his sound, style, and spirit for the past two decades. Still, his recorded works have remained largely unreleased in the States, available here only as imports. But his standout 2000 release, Folk Music from Venezuela, is worth seeking out; it's thick with thoughtful arrangements and delicate musicianship. Don't let the generic title fool you. It's definitely no elementary compendium.