El Javi Gutierrez
When Javier Gutierrez made his exodus out of Los Angeles and into the high desert of the Antelope Valley, he had little idea that a single, relatively minor geographic shift would inexorably catapult him across an entire ocean within a single year. After so many years of studying the guitar in Mexico and then considerable years of study, teaching and playing in LA, a kind of musical malaise had set in. Feeling like he had adequately conquered the electric guitar and nursing a growing disdain for the LA band scene, in the dark of night Gutierrez had begun to despair, wondering where next to turn for inspiration. Change, he knew, was in the air. Then out of the blue it began- whisperings of an almost ancient knowledge, the faint callings of something just loud enough to rouse him from a dead sleep but, having woken, leaving him taunted by the eerie silence. He had already picked up his dusty classical guitar- as much out of boredom as compunction- and was beginning to parse out by ear the melodies and rhythms of his native Mexico and rummaging through dog-eared classical standards of a long abandoned guitar school repertoire.
As any transformative process goes, things take time, but the move to a higher elevation and latitude, the serenity and stark beauty of the thirsty desert landscape and the clean air and clear blue skies began to open space in an otherwise crowded creative mind. As synchronicity would have it, the Antelope Valley, CA, and Andalucia, Spain, share lines of latitude, and the spicy rhythms and rich textural and melodic aromas of gypsy fare seemed to wet Gutierrez’s artistic appetite from afar. He soon found himself experimenting with Flamenco guitar techniques and stashing money aside for a plane trip to Seville to study Flamenco with the masters, diving headlong into the all-consumptive duende that gives breath to the gypsy muse. Upon return, he continued refining technique and exploring new territory, beginning to tether all the loose musical ends of his being into one refined tapestry of guitar passion par excellence and finding the true voice of his soul through original compositions and daring collaborations. The metamorphosis was complete- the once skilled musician and artisan of guitar had shed a skin and was reborn the artist, El Javi.
Continuing to push his own envelope of creativity, he spent several years reaching out to fellow LA musicians and dancers for collaborative performances and always garnered rave reviews. No singular musical situation ever felt quite like home, however, and for some time El Javi was content to express his gypsy soul through primarily solo performances and composition. But something was brewing deep inside, something that required a bigger sound, a higher level of energy and that mystical bond and synergy that exists between musicians when they groove as one. Though steeped in Flamenco tradition, there were still unexpressed crunch pedal wishes and half stack dreams lingering in his ‘rockero’ subconscious. In due time, El Javi crossed paths with the perfect in-the-pocket kit drummer Alastair Wilson who happened to know of an edgy bass player obsessed with atmospheric effects Mario Gonzalez. Soon enough the El Javi Trio began to explore and carve out a niche all their own, bridging the sounds and rhythms of worlds old and new and painting genre-bending sonic portraits of three continents merged in the unitary culture and passion of a breed of music all it’s own.
My Guitars & Gear
Endorsed by Godin Guitars, using a Grand Concert Multiac for live shows. In the studio I use a hand made flamenco guitar by mexican luthier Salvado Castillo. Pedalboard: Fishman Aura, Holy Grail (reverb), Line 6 DL4, Radial Preamp