Carlos Montoya

Carlos Montoya and Friends: The Art of the Flamenco Guitar

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An album of discount flamenco from Carlos Montoya and a trio of other guitarists. The first half is taken up by pieces performed by the ageless Montoya and the second half performed by El Pili, Enrique Montoya, and El Nino de Alicante, along with a dancer adding the jaleos and castanets. Montoya performs excellently, as one would expect given his status in the history of flamenco. Most of the major flamenco guitar forms are covered in his nine tracks, with the exception of some alegrias and bulerias perhaps (and the cante jondo, since he's performing in a purely instrumental capacity here). As a nice excursion into other territories, he also performs variations on a tango theme to quite astounding effect, mixing the two genres into a coherent work. The second half of the album is perhaps a little less masterful in the guitar work, but portrays a slightly more traditional rendition of flamenco in its full form, with the soulful vocals taking their place (though somewhat quiet in this recording), the jaleos and claps of the other performers, and the castanets and stepping percussion of the dancer all working together to produce a full sound with the guitarists. Overall, it's not a bad album of flamenco at all, though it focuses almost entirely on the guitarists. For a fuller picture of flamenco the way its meant to be, one should perhaps look up other albums, such as Cante Flamenco or the Rough Guide album devoted to flamenco (which includes some work from Camaron and Tomatillo, among others). For a basic look at a great flamenco guitarist though, this album does well.

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