Raised in the gitano tradition, Chuscales has influenced and taught many of today's hottest flamenco guitarists, including Jesse Cook, Ottmar Liebert, and Miguel de la Bastide, among others. This long-awaited recording embodies the flamenco tradition and the sounds and spirit of Spain's rich and diverse cultural center. From the opening track, "Mangas Largas," it's clear he has one foot steeped in tradition and another in modern times. The first few minutes find him plucking sparsely over an increasingly percussive pitter-patter rhythm line, and then the tune evolves into almost a house dance tune with a throbbing machine-generated drum groove behind his more frenetic guitar lines. "Loda de Corazon" is a bit more on the trad side, offering an organic mix of his crisp acoustic lines over a gently rolling percussion/bass pattern. Tunes like "Cueva de Principe" feature two guitar lines -- a breezy harmony underneath a snappy melody with occasional flourishes. His loping and exotic twist on "The Shadow of Your Smile" is a definite highlight. Narada Records has released samplers featuring great fingerstyle players and flamenco performers; in Chuscales, the label has found an artist that is both in one.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran