Barcelona Nights: The Best of Ottmar Liebert, Vol. 1
This compilation of spirited, up-tempo works by flamenco chart-topper Ottmar Liebert is drawn from two of the guitarist’s early albums, the groundbreaking Noveau Flamenco and Borrasca. The straggler, “Festival (of 7 Lights),” comes from his Christmas album, Poets and Angels. Although Liebert never exhibits the churning tremolos, volcanic runs, or finger-tangling chords of a traditional flamenco guitarist, his Latin-tinged take on flamenco is infectiously visceral and visual. Part of the Liebert appeal comes from the spatial separation of the mix: You can almost see the palmas clap to the left, Liebert’s solo line veer to the upper right, and the rhythm guitars flow beneath it all. The Borrasca lineup takes the music south of the border with the addition of a horn section. "Dancing Under the Moon" features a delightful debate between horns and guitar. "La Rosa Negra" touches some of the deeper sensuality of flamenco, as Adolfo Weitzman’s piano brings a nightclub ambiance to the track. Dave Bryant adds dollops of zest on the rhythm side; his snazzy trapset, percussion, and palmas exhibition on celebratory "Bajo la Luna Mix" is a dizzying blast. While Leibert’s legions probably have most of the material here, it is a fine acquisition for any newcomer to his music.