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Juan Martin - Picasso Portraits CD (album) cover

PICASSO PORTRAITS

Juan Martin

 

Prog Folk

4.89 | 9 ratings

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erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Juan Martin is a flamenco player who wanted to broaden his musical horizon, just like PACO DE LUCIA did by founding a trio with JOHN MACLAUGHIN and AL DIMEOLA in the early Eighties. Juan moved to England, wrote books about the flamenco guitar technique and played together with rock musicians. This album is one of his many musical projects and in my opinion his best and a great one to discover for the visitors and reviewers of this site. On this album Juan Martin has invited an impressive list of guest musicians: drummer IAN MOSLEY (TRACE/MARILLION), bass player JOHN GUSTAFSON (QUATERMASS/ROXY MUSIC), SIMON PHILLIPS (one of the best session drummers) and keyboardist TONY HYMAS (both on the splendid JEFF BECK albums "Wired" and "There and back"). The result is an exciting meeting between the world of the flamenco guitar and the progressive rock, this is one of my favorite LP's and recently released as a digitally remastered CD version. 1) "Harlequin" First soaring keyboards from Tony Hymas and then exciting interplay between the quick flamenco guitar runs and a dynamic rhythm-section (Phillips/Gustafson), embellished by the typical flamenco handclapping. 2) "Desire caught by the tail" This is a sensitive duet from the flamenco guitar and the synthesizer (Memorymoog). Halfway there is a sensational break featuring sweeping drums, spectacular synthesizer sounds and rattling castannettes followed by a mid-tempo with splendid runs on the guitar and a fine colouring by the keyboards. 3) "Three musicians" We can enjoy a swinging and catchy rhythm with a funky bass by John G. Perry, powerful drums from Ian Mosley and exciting rasgueado play (quick downward strokes from the nails on the guitar strings). 4) "Sleeping girl" This piece is in the vein of the famous romantic guitar piece "Romance d'amor" delivering a sensitive duet from a twanging acoustic guitar and mellow sparkling piano, WONDERFUL! 5) "Self portrait" The start is like "Spanish caravan" from The Doors: a bit sultry flamenco guitar, culminating in spectacular and propulsive interplay between the flamenco guitar, rhythm-section (Mosley/Perry) and keyboards, it sounds pleasantly bombastic. 6) "The aficionado" An exciting blend of typcial flamenco elements (based a 'bulerias', one of the more complex flamenco rhythms) and the technical sound of the progrock: handclapping and quick flamenco runs blended with a funky bass (Gustafson) and pitchbend-driven Moog flights from Hymas, VERY SPECTACULAR! 7) "Girls of Algiers" This one is based on a 'zambra mora', the most Arabian-influenced flamenco rhythms. First swelling keyboards, drums and bass, then great interplay between the flamenco guitar, keyboards and rhytm-section, its sounds very dynamic. The tension between the spectacular Moog flights from Hymas and the quick runs on the flamenco guitar delivers a captivating climate, in the end there is a magnificent duel, THIS IS PERHAPS THE FINEST MOMENT ON THIS ALBUM! 8) "Weeping woman" Here is the only solo guitar track from Juan Martin, it introduces you to the wonderful art of the flamenco guitar and sounds very varied with halfway a great build-up, very moving. 9) "The picador" The 'malaguena' is perhaps the most famous flamenco rhythm, you will recognize it for sure! It is a cheerful climate with catchy and powerful interplay from the flamenco guitar, rhythm-section and keyboards featuring sensational Moog runs. Halfway the music slows down and then goes faster and faster until an ebullient atmosphere, what a 'grand finale'! THIS ALBUM IS NOT JUST ANOTHER SMOOTH RUMBA-DRENCHED BLEND OF FLAMENCO AND ROCK BUT AN EXCELLENT MEETING OF THE FLAMENCO GUITAR AND THE PROGRESSIVE ROCK, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
erik neuteboom | 5/5 |

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