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Ottmar Liebert: Waiting n Swan

James Nadal By

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Ever since Eric Clapton covered "I Shot The Sheriff," back in 1974, the Bob Marley catalog has been a source for a multitude of interpretations and tributes, in every conceivable genre. His legacy in the annals of modern music is secure, and continues to be an impact on a worldwide scale, both in music sales and as an inspiration and influence to other artists. Guitarist Ottmar Liebert has been no exception to this trend, and on Waiting n Swan he delves into Marley music with his customary passion and virtuosity.

Liebert has been on an exploratory trajectory beginning with his debut "Noveau Flamenco," which exploded on the instrumental charts in 1990. With over twenty albums out, he has dedicated his life to intense study and experimentation of flamenco oriented guitar. Discovering an underlying similarity between the flamenco variation known as tango and reggae, Liebert maintains the melodic structure of the original, complementing with his unique embellishments and improvisations.

Opening with "Is This Love," a relaxed mood is established which is adhered to throughout. "Could You Be Loved," is accelerated with just the right amount of spicy strumming added for a gypsy flavor. "No Woman No Cry," is opportune for light soloing, as is "Jamming," since both are at a laid back pace. "Three Little Birds," becomes a rhythmic interplay with background percussion and a tasty accordion. Adding an accordion to the ensemble brings an eerie Argentine tango taste to "Them Belly Full," and the perennial favorite "I Shot The Sheriff," is taken to that flamenco zone Liebert knows to well. Closing with "Waiting In Vain," was a wise choice for it lends itself to familiarity with an edge. Liebert going out with his thoughtful and focused finger pickings, while keeping that percussive pulse in an essential pocket.

Liebert brought back a couple of his original songs "Heart Still/Beating," and "Barcelona Nights," from previous records, but they are given a fresh coat of reggae, in keeping with the albums concept and direction. This is the music of Bob Marley done with grace and finesse—with all the pomp and panache that Liebert is acknowledged for—and the proper respect and integrity it deserves.

Track Listing: Is This Love; Heart Still/Beating; Swan; Could You Be Loved; No Woman No Cry; Jamming; Three Little Birds; Barcelona Nights; Them Belly Full (But We Hungry) I Shot the Sheriff; Lively Up Yourself; Waiting In Vain.

Personnel: Ottmar Liebert: flamenco guitar, drum programming, palmas; Jon Cagan: electric bass, pick bass, upright bass, keyboards, sound design; Chris Steele: drumkit, cajon, percussion; Mark Clark: timbales, percussion; Bobby Rothchild: cajon, djembe, silverware; Char Rothchild: accordion; JQ Whitcomb: trumpet.

Title: Waiting n Swan | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Spiral Subwave Records

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