No doubt Ottmar Liebert -- whose success with Nouveau Flamenco way back when helped launch Lara's old label, Higher Octave Music, to national prominence -- will continue to be the first name folks think of when they think of modern pop-flamenco. But this sharply played, powerfully rhythmic, and beautifully melodic collection, Lara's first since earning a Latin Grammy nomination for World Jazz as part of Lara & Reyes, should give Liebert's extensive catalog a run for its money. Fans of Sergio Lara and Joe Reyes who know of Lara only as a guitarist are also treated to his work on the ocarinas, guitar synth, acoustic and electric mandolins, ukulele, palmas, and cajon -- all of which add an authentic Latin texture to the mix. The lighthearted, loping "Short Visit" is a catchy entry into an increasingly exotic experience that continues with the speedily played, percussion-intense "Makada" and the playful hum-along "Oyeme." On "La Llorona," Lara tones down for a deeper, introspective reflection that showcases the beauty of his higher-tone strings weaved over the mandolin. From there, he goes from balmy to quirky and witty, always finding new ways to weave his various strings into fascinating melody-harmony arrangements. While Lara has done solo projects before, his work with the duo has often made it difficult to see his talent as a virtual one-man band. While fans surely hope his time with Reyes continues, this exciting departure ranks as one of the best in this genre in recent memory.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran