John Rangel / Michael Anthony ---- jazz duet at El Meson, Santa Fe

El Meson has excellent tapas and excellent live music, often jazz, in its bar and jazz room, ¡Chispa!.  (I've never eaten in the main dining room.)  For a long time Thursdays were given over to local pianist John Rangel (who moved to Santa Fe a few years back from Los Angeles) playing duets with different guest musicians.  I've enjoyed John's playing in a variety of settings, and I heard him with Albuquerque-based guitarist Michael Anthony (another LA transplant with lots of film recording credits to his name) last Nov. 17 (2011).  It was a very enjoyable evening of jazz, with the musicians playing close attention to each other and creating different moods and interludes on the fly.  Exchanges of "fours" and such were especially interesting.  I didn't take notes, and a run-through would be pointless anyway, but the repertoire was a lot of standards, jazz classics, some bossa and samba, and blues.   Fairly straightahead bop and post bop, played with a sophisticated harmonic sense and plenty of chromaticism on the part of both players, but nothing too far-out.  I definitely recommend going to any gig John is playing on... he is frequently to be heard with the Tribute Trio (w/ Michael Glynn on bass, Cal Haines on drums), either on their own or with guest horn players.

Tapas at El Meson are often superb---the Cordoban style fried eggplant ($9.50) is very fresh-tasting, almost sweet, and practically melts in your mouth---it is especially good in late summer when eggplant is in season, but always worthwhile.  House-roasted peppers in a little earthenware terrine with Spanish goat cheese ($7.50) are also superb.  I like fried oysters with Romesco sauce ($9.50) as well.  Setas a la Parilla ($9.50), oyster mushrooms grilled with garlic, parsley, and olive oil, are also excellent, if less exotic.   The sherries by the glass have all been excellent as well.

Highly recomended for both food and music.