DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Paco De Lucia & Group – Jazz (2012)

A fine concert of the New Flamenco, with flute, percussion and a dancer.

Published on January 18, 2013

Paco De Lucia & Group – Jazz (2012)

Recorded live at 1996 Germeringer Jazztage
Program: Mi Nino Curro, El Panuelo, Alcazar de Sevilla, Playa del Carmen, Zyryab, Buena Buana King Kong
Director: Dieter Hens
Performers: Paco De Lucia, guitar (octet with 3 guitars, cantador, doublebass, flute & sax, percussion, dancer/percussion)
Studio: Loft/ArtHaus Musik 107 071 [11/13/12] [Distr. by Naxos]
Video: 16:9 color
Audio: DTS 5.1, DD 5.1, PCM 2.0
No region code
Length: 80 min.
Rating: ****

A most enjoyable concert which mixes flamenco and jazz. The octet includes two of Paco’s brothers, the singer plus a percussionist/dancer. I normally find the catador part of some flamenco performances rather annoying, but actually liked the delivery of Pepe de Lucia. The notes go into the similarities between jazz and flamenco, and in fact Miles Davis said the flamenco dirges were similar to the blues in jazz. Many composers in jazz have been attracted by what Jelly Roll Morton had called “the Spanish tinge.”

The flute and sax of Jorge Pardo add a strong jazz flavor to some of the numbers by bringing wind instruments into flamenco; all six tracks are originals from Paco de Lucia. Percussionist Rubem Dantas comes from Brazil, and has pioneered the use of Latin percussion in the New Flamenco. Paco did an album with Chick Corea in 1991 which was titled Zyryab, and the band on that album also did another tune here, “Playa del Carmen.”

Paco de Lucia has been criticized, just as was Astor Piazzolla for the tango, for his groundbreaking work in broadening out the standard form of flamenco. In the early 80s he was part of a tremendous jazz-based guitar trio with Al di Meola and John McLaughlin.  But with all the changes he has brought about, de Lucia is still a pure flamenco musician, steeped in the traditional Andalusian Gitano musical form. He says “Flamenco has too much personality and character, as well as emotional drive, to be able to survive without change.”

The large audience at this festival in Bavaria clearly is in tune with the performances, and the image and sonics are excellent.

—John Sunier

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