Photo by Theo Jemison
Frankie Reyes is the alias of Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker who also records as GB (Gifted & Blessed). Boleros Valses y Mas, his Stones Throw debut, is an album comprised of popular Latin standards, reworked by Reyes with an Oberheim synthesizer.
The inspiration for Boleros Valses y Mas formed when Los Angeles radio collective Dublab invited Gabriel to participate in an event themed specifically around Latin American modernism.
“I thought about how I might capture the essence of this theme using my instrument of choice, the synthesizer. What came to mind was to cover some of the classic Latin American compositions that I grew up hearing around me and have grown to love as I've gotten older, most of them in the bolero style but a few in the waltz, son, and even mariachi style.”
By using audio-to-MIDI and sheet music-to-MIDI processing Gabriel has re-contextualized these popular tracks easily overheard while visiting any of Los Angeles' predominantly Latino neighborhoods with a single Oberheim synth. By removing the lyrics, the emphasis remains on the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic aspects of these classics, many still sung by Latin American artists today.