Surrender 2 Love: The Best of Ottmar Liebert, Vol. 2
Higher Octave Music was a small new age label when the success of Ottmar Liebert's Nouveau Flamenco propelled it into another stratosphere of indie companies in 1990. After that recording, the company grew in leaps and bounds and expanded its genre scope immensely. It seemed appropriate to offer a tenth-anniversary special edition of that first recording, which was followed by Barcelona Nights: The Best of Ottmar Liebert, Vol. 1, drawn from his three label outings before he moved to Epic. This lushly packaged sequel mines the more gentle, reflective side of those first outings. For the Liebert enthusiast, easy swaying, sparsely arranged, and quite melodic pieces like "Surrender 2 Love" and "Twilight in Galisteo" (one of the rare Liebert tunes featuring sax) will be nice to hear again. With its dreamy basslines and plucky sense of whimsy, "Waiting for Stars to Fall" epitomizes the shadows and shadings of romance that draws so many people to his work. The darker hues and subtler contemplative passions show the deeper side of the early artistry which gave rise to a whole new interest in pop-oriented flamenco artists. And there's a beautiful spirituality in simple numbers like "Shepherd's Nite Watch" from his Christmas album. Lesser fans may complain that with a few exceptions (most notably, the brisk-paced "La Aurora") it's too mellow to be exciting, but those up-tempo pieces are available on the first compilation. This would be easy to view as a company simply milking a catalog, but from the packaging and liner notes, it's clear that it was also a project designed to remind Liebert fans of the simple musical power at the beginning of the journey.