Saturday, January 20, 2007

Paco DeLucia--Flamenco Guitar Master

I recently posted about a dazzling concert I attended in San Francisco in 1980 featuring three incredible acoustic guitarists--John McLaughlin, Paco, DeLucia, and Al DiMeola. That post was chiefly about John McLaughlin. This one is about Paco DeLucia.

Paco is one of the greatest flamenco guitarists ever. He was born in Spain in 1947 and was a child prodigy who was playing on the radio at age 11, won a special prize at a national flamenco competition a year later, and was touring with renowned flamenco dancer Jose Greco's troupe at age 14. Since then, he has recorded numerous albums, toured the world many times, and become a leading exponent not only of traditional flamenco guitar but also of New Flamenco and world music. His version of the famous classical piece Concierto de Aranjuez is said to have prompted the composer, Joaquin Rodrigo, to exclaim that he had never heard his composition, normally performed by great classical guitarists, played so brilliantly. But I became aware of Paco through his collaborations with Larry Coryell and John McLaughlin and, later, with McLaughlin and Al DiMeola.

Paco is a spellbinding master of the flamenco guitar, as this solo from his Saturday night in San Francisco performance and this duet with John McLaughlin years later reveal.

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