on 3 April 2000
In Almoraima Paco de Lucia continued to move away from the traditional forms of flamenco. He used electric bass and new rythms and harmonies. Influenced by his travels in South America he incorporated rythms and instruments to widen out his sound. Having said that this is still a very recognisably flamenco record. It has a sharp dry quality and eschews the later softer harmonies. On tracks like "Ole" pulsing rythms and harsh harmonies drive the song forward with an irresistable pulse. The title track is a beautiful, forceful and intense flamenco statement, which for me contains everything that makes this music so expressive. On other tracks he moves through moods from joy to sorrow and on "Rio Ancho" creates an irrestable melody with a light bouncy rythm; it's one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.
I cannot recommend this record enough. For me it contains everything wonderful about flamenco and is more expressive than later albums. I went to Spain to buy this and was not disappointed.
on 27 June 2008
Contrary to the guy from Napoli I find this Paco de Lucia's best album of all. It might not be as 'pure flamenco' as Fuente y Caudal (another fine album) but it represents the summit of invention coming from him. To be honest, Paco de Lucia is far and away the best flamenco guitarist you are ever likely to hear, way surpassing his contemporaries. This album shows him incorporating other elements into the flamenco but at the same time it represents the best flamenco I've heard. Beyond being a great guitarist he is also a fine musician and composer. There is nothing gratuitous about what he plays, however flashy it gets (and it gets very flashy). It has direction and discretion.
Later Paco de Lucia became a bit more abstract, more jazzy. I think, like many great artists, he maybe got a bit bored of just doing one thing and incorporated others. If anyone ever mastered flamenco guitar it was him. I like him best as here where the flamenco and the jazz are in a fine balance.
on 21 July 2004
This album was Paco de Lucia on his way down, from great heights (it is hard to imagine a purely flamenco album better than Fuente y Caudal ever being made), but downwards all the same. What happened to Paco? Very difficult to say. Fame? Laziness? Ran out of ideas? Perhaps Sabicas' comment about 'only the fingers evolving' was true, and this album lays bare the truth that Paco simply had insufficient depth. It pains me to say it, but Paco de Lucia has had nothing worth saying musically since the mid-seventies - this album was the start of the rot.