Flames of Love

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Flames of Love is the 25th studio offering from nuevo flamenco guitarist Armik. The Iranian-born Armenian guitarist has, since 1994, woven his considerable jazz and classical chops into an instantly recognizable style and sound. On this 12-tune set, Armik, ever the experimenter, explores Latin jazz inside his flamenco grooves on cuts such as "Fronteras," "Pasajes," and "Reaching for the Stars." While "Broken Dreams" is more overtly on the jazz tip, it also folds bossa into his flamenco to excellent effect. Two more highlights include "Toledo Solo" and "Geralda," where he performs entirely solo without the benefit of extant rhythms or backing sounds. "Passion and Grace" is another solo guitar piece, musically perhaps the most traditional of the lot on this recording. That said, it is augmented ever so slightly by ambient, textured reverb, but that hardly detracts. The friendly "Café Roma" weaves flamenco inside Gypsy swing, Italian street music, and Latin rhythms. For fans, Flames of Love will be a welcome addition to the shelf; for Armik novices this is an adventurous place to start.

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