Paco de Lucía

Flamenco Virtuoso (Jazz Club)

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Jazz Club is a budget label that does bare-bones but well-compiled compilations from jazz greats across the spectrum of the music's history. Paco de Lucia is a case in point, though he's not immediately considered to be a jazz musician. Originally a flamenco player, he helped to expand that music, folding in its complex harmonics and fluid sense of phrase and understatement. He expanded jazz by weaving in flamenco's more complex rhythms, organic melodies, and timbral slips. This 18-cut collection details de Lucia's development from the beginning of his second decade as a leader in 1966 to his more experimental and expansive period through the late '90s when he had come full circle and returned to flamenco properly. De Lucia's music was always rooted in flamenco even at its most adventurous; that thread was always audible, and this set proves that in a fascinating way. The music here can be jarring in its brilliance at times, but it is always clearly delineated and its purpose is direct, full of nuance, beauty, and fiery precision, as well as plenty of soul. This is a great budget item for the uninitiated and a nice pick-up for the veteran who is looking for a new way to hear a favorite artist.

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