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Album Review

While his name is nowhere near as popular as that of Ottmar Liebert, or even Jesse Cook, Johannes Linstead keeps the flamenco tradition very much a force in modern world and new age music by combining traditional fingerstyling with fanciful modern groove ideas. And of course, a sense of melodic seduction that grabs on and can't be shaken. He's pictured on the CD cover holding an acoustic guitar, but his sense of sonic architecture extends to a multitude of instruments (piano, keys, mandolin, wood flute) and arrangement and production. To achieve his overall vision, he thus draws from a wide palette of textures. The title of the recording means "shakeup," which begins with the jubilant and brassy "La Cabanita en la Playa" — a tune blending precise, speedy fingerstyling with rhythm guitar accompaniment, and jumpy piano chords topped with the mariachi trumpet fire of Alexis Baro. Before you start dancing too quickly, however, Linstead simmers down for the seductive sway of "Cielo Azul." The sensual, horn-drenched "Guayabera" perfectly captures his desire to blend traditional and modern styles; the tune blends classic picking and brass licks with a Santana-esque rock foundation. The gentle "Eleni" reflects the genuine romantic in Linstead's soul, while the two-part "Echoes of the Forest" mixes meditational atmospheres with a little of the Liebert influence. Beautifully written, and excitingly performed and played, this disc summarizes all there is to love about modern flamenco.

Biography

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Instrumentalist Johannes Linstead is not an easy artist to categorize. Some listeners have described the acoustic guitarist's ambitious, far-reaching albums as new age (although he is much more energetic than new age artists are typically known for being), and others have labeled him nuevo flamenco (that is, modern flamenco-pop rather than traditional straight-ahead flamenco). But while some of his acoustic guitar playing is, in fact, relevant to Spain's nuevo flamenco scene, the truth is that contemporary...
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Zabuca, Johannes Linstead
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