Gino D'Auri - Flamenco: Passion & Soul (Hearts of Space)
When I was going to school in Florida, there was this wonderful little café down the street from campus that featured live flamenco music and dancing at least one night a week. They had no liquor license, but they'd allow people to bring alcohol in off the street so long as they were over 21, disguised the bottles in paper bags and behaved themselves. It was an amazing place to hang out after class, and I've been totally in love with flamenco music ever since.
This disc perfectly captures what it was I loved about the music: the raw, sinewy, passionate rhythms that make you want to twirl around and around forever; the foreboding opening minor chords that somehow lead into full-blown joy; the incredible guitar work that makes it seem as though the performers have extra fingers or even hands. The recording quality of the disc is an extra pleasure-everything is perfectly balanced here, the castanets far in the background and the guitars and cello miked way up front. Half of what makes flamenco music memorable is atmosphere, and that sultry, heady atmosphere is definitely captured throughout this disc.
by Holly Day.