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Innamorare, Summer Flamenco

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Album Review

After recent excursions into classical and dance music, Liebert returns to the simple, toe-tappin' joys of his early-'90s works on Innamorarae: Summer Flamenco, but with a few exciting first-time twists: a vibrant horn section and a full drum kit played by Carl "Cozmo" Coletti. With their loping, gently swaying melodies punctuated by aggressive, percussive hooks, plucky tunes like "Verano de Alegria," "Spanish Steps," and "2 the Night" are spirited, Caribbean-flavored reminders of his first radio hit, "Barcelona Nights," only with bursting brass harmony lines, extra drum kick (including drum and percussion duets), and subtle blues organ underpinnings. Liebert has always balanced his exuberance with touches of melancholy, but here the reflective moments give way to the summer sun; on tunes like the tribute "Ballad 4 Santana," Liebert weaves gently around Jon Gagan's sly, mournful bassline before the horns spark a festive fire, which in turn spurs the guitarist's upbeat spirit. With its brisk, 6/8 rhythm scheme and colorful improvisations off a folksy melody, "Alameda" is a mariachi-styled piece that blends brooding darkness with seductive glints of light. As producer, Liebert takes more chances with enhancing moods through unique instrumentation. Indian tablas and Mike Middleton's muted trumpet spruce up the hypnotic atmosphere on "Desert Elysian," while Eric Schermerhorn's twangy slide guitar adds a dash of cowboy spunk to "Borboletta."


Born: 1963 in Cologne, Germany

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Ottmar Liebert has said that "flamenco is a music both romantic and dangerous; it is an attitude as much as it is a musical genre." Therein lies the philosophy that catapulted him to fame at the end of the '80s with an engaging mix of subdued flamenco guitar and South American percussion, rock, jazz, and pop influences. Liebert's "attitude" actually suppresses the more challenging and "dangerous" aspects of flamenco in favor of the romantic -- and the stylish. He's not a technical wizard on the guitar,...
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Innamorare, Summer Flamenco, Ottmar Liebert
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