John McLaughlin: Manitas D'Oro (For Paco De Lucia)
Manitas D'Oro (For Paco De Lucia)
John McLaughlin (acoustic guitar)
Belo Horizonte (Warner Bros. 2292 57001-2)
Composed by John McLaughlin.
Recorded: Paris, France, June 1981
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
"Manitas D'Oro" (hands of gold), dedicated to Paco De Lucia, is not to be confused with the famous flamenco guitarist Manitas de Plata (hands of silver). Nor should it be associated in any way with Walter Kolosky, aka Manitas de Tin.
Years ago the Guitar Trio, featuring John McLaughlin, Paco De Lucia and Al Di Meola, was on a world tour. At the last moment, Di Meola cancelled out on a gig in South America. This news was announced to the audience just before show time, and those wishing refunds could leave the venue. No one left. Who would even think of it? On top of that, reviews claimed it was a better concert without Di Meola. Those comments were not meant to disparage Al. Rather, they pointed out that sometimes three guitarists create a situation in which there "were too many cooks." Everyone also recognized that McLaughlin and De Lucia had a special rapport above and beyond the trio's interrelationship. Personally, I prefer jazz quartets over quintets because I can listen more closely to the components of the music. The same theory applies here.
"Manitas D'Oro" is a typical McLaughlin/De Lucia excursion. The two meld jazz and flamenco seamlessly. Because the tune was written for Paco, the flamenco elements dominate. McLaughlin's composition is a touching ballad. At times it even comes across as a Spanish lullaby. The two players race up and down their respective fretboards like nobody's business. But it is the somehow gentle beauty of these speed runs that catches your attention. They are not assaults or excuses to show off. In one lyrical passage after another, the players demonstrate that musical cultures can come together through understanding and virtuosity. This was recorded early in the history of McLaughlin's and De Lucia's collaborations. Brilliant as this performance is, it still only hints at the future.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky