A few years ago, Higher Octave Music rang in the new millennium with the release of Nouveau Flamenco 1990-2000 Special Edition, which celebrated the ten year anniversary of Ottmar Liebert's legendary, platinum selling debut. Over the past twelve years, the guitarist become one of instrumental music's most popular and compelling live performers across the globe. As the ensemble dynamics have developed with the revolving members of his band Luna Negra,Liebert has naturally taken many of his best-loved tunes to incredible new places. Santa Fe Sessions revisits some of his best loved classics, but with a twist -- each track reflects the new, expansive live in concert character of the tunes -- including fresh guitar, percussion and horn parts. Longtime fans will enjoy the nearly nine minute opening rendition of "Snakecharmer," which moves from an atmospheric start into a tender ballad and then expands into a percussive celebration. Most tracks don't get that elaborate, however, which keeps the pace moving briskly. Other highlights include the graceful coolness of "Heart Still/Beating," brassy new attitudes for "Isla Del Sol" and "Dancing Under the Moon" and a fanciful reworking of "Barcelona Nights," the trademark song that launched Liebert's career into the stratosphere in 1990. He expands more into Brazilian and Cuban territories with two brand new tracks as well.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran