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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

PACO PEÑA

By RAFFI MENESHIAN
Published May 30, 2006

Flamenco Master: Essential Flamenco Recordings
Manteca

Any discussion surrounding the greatest flamenco masters of the last 50 years would not be complete unless Paco Peña is mentioned. Following in the footsteps of the great Spanish masters Ramon Montoya, Nino Ricardo and Sabicas, Peña moved forward by creating his own sound. Part innovator, part guardian of the Spanish Flamenco tradition, Peña has influenced a generation of guitarists much like the more classical Andre Segovia. In the ’80s and early ’90s, the British label Nimbus released recordings by Peña that took the world by storm. Manteca has wisely chosen to combine highlights of the Nimbus recordings to give this disc a retrospective feel. The approach is just right and sonic quality magnificent. This collection includes classic recordings of Peña playing Montoya (“Solea” and “Rondena”), duets with the great Eduard Falu, and an excerpt from his own “Misa Flamenco.” In the latter, Peña is teamed with Sir Neville Mariner of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus. Paco Pena: Flamenco Master is abruptly standout.