Paco De Lucia: Alta Mar
Paco De Lucia (guitar)
Live … One Summer Night (Philips 822 540-2)
Paco De Lucia (guitar),
Pepe De Lucia (vocals, rhythm guitar), Jorge Pardo (flute, soprano sax), Ramon De Algeciras (guitar), Carlos Benavent (electric bass), Rubem Dantas (percussion).
Composed by Paco De Lucia; introduction composed by John McLaughlin.
Recorded: live in Europe, 1984
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
In the early '80s, when Paco De Lucia started delving into jazz, many flamenco connoisseurs were unhappy with the latter music's most famous guitarist. Flamenco has a long and proud tradition. And just as classical aficionados don't like it when somebody messes with their music, flamenco purists perceived De Lucia as a traitor to their great traditions. But music must grow.
As part of the two Guitar Trio groups featuring John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and later Al Di Meola, De Lucia learned how to integrate more chord changes and improvisational jazz skills into his music. Flamenco's greatest guitarist became an even better-rounded player capable of taking a group on the road to play superlative music that covered the jazz, Latin and flamenco idioms.
The intro to "Alta Mar" was written by John McLaughlin based on the theme from his tune "David." De Lucia plays it with grace, as supportive comments from the enraptured crowd interrupt to provide an extra layer of texture. The playing that follows turns spatial for a measure or two before Benavent's echoing electric bass heats things up. Some impressive unison runs with the percussionist ensue. The transition to full ensemble elicits a great cheer from the crowd. Paco's fingers are going a kilometer a minute. Pardo's saxophone soars over the flamenco, jazz and funk mix. This music demands that you yell at it. A rousing finale thrills the transported audience.
Today we hear flamenco combined with jazz, reggae, blues and many other musical forms every day, and think nothing of it. It took musicians as curious and brave enough as Paco De Lucia to make it that way.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky