128

Paco de Luc: Cositas Buenas

Eric J. Iannelli By

Sign in to view read count
When a musician as rare and as skilled as Paco de Lucía falls silent for over five years, you might guess that he’s either suffering a nervous breakdown in relative privacy, or he’s busy composing some of the best music of his career (though some artists have managed to do both at once). Cositas Buenas would seem to be a confirmation of the latter hunch. It qualifies as the flamenco guitarist’s most praiseworthy album behind the still unparalleled Siroco (1987).

The reason for its exceptionality is clear. Cositas Buenas thrives on a vital tension, one which stems from a deliberate intrinsic dichotomy. This is never more apparent then when trying to put a critical finger on the pulse of the album. Is it primal or sophisticated? Conservative or progressive? Aggressive or sensual? Purist or eclectic?

It’s all of them at once. The music is continually charging against the furthest limits of its genre; and yet it is so stylistically rooted in its own history—that is, traditional flamenco and Spanish folk music—that a first-time listener would be forgiven for thinking that nothing has changed in the past century. Hearing the album is akin to watching an object undergo radical and mesmerizing physical mutations while remaining entirely stationary.

To achieve this, de Lucía has whittled his usual group of musicians down to the bare essentials: guitar (as well as bouzouki, lute, mandolin), flamenco vocals (including some by himself), palmas (handclaps) and percussion. (In a slight break from this sparse format, trumpeter Jerry González appears on the final track, “Casa Bernardo,” along with Alain Pérez on bass and Alejandro Sanz on tres.) By limiting himself in this way, de Lucía has then been forced to concentrate on developing the rhythms, mood and harmonies that lie at the very heart of flamenco, not simply enriching the music with expanded instrumentation or electronic means. It recalls Stravinsky’s take on artistic freedom in his lectures The Poetics of Music : “The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself of the chains that shackle the spirit.”

In addition to González, other guest musicians include guitarists Tomatito and Juan d’Anyelica and vocalists La Tana, Montse Cortés, el Potito and Camarón de la Isla, de Lucía’s collaborative partner of three decades. Astute readers will wonder how de la Isla, dubbed “The Mick Jagger from Cádiz,” managed to lend his voice to “Que Venga el Alba” in spite of his passing in 1992. This is best looked upon as a prime example of those aforementioned intrinsic dichotomies: resurrecting the past through the use of contemporary technology.

Visit Paco de Lucía and Blue Thumb Records on the web.


Track Listing: 1. Patio Custodio (Buler

Personnel: Paco de Luc

Title: Cositas Buenas | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Blue Thumb Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "My Head is Listening" CD/LP/Track Review My Head is Listening
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Short Notice" CD/LP/Track Review Short Notice
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017" CD/LP/Track Review Official Bootleg: Live in Chicago, June 28th, 2017
by John Kelman
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Il sistema periodico" CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "For Massas" CD/LP/Track Review For Massas
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Irmãos De Fé" CD/LP/Track Review Irmãos De Fé
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.