Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia dies at 66

World-renowned Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia has died aged 66 in Mexico, reportedly of a heart attack while playing with his children on a beach.

The death of one of the most celebrated flamenco guitarists was announced by the mayor’s office in Algeciras, southern Spain, where he was born. He is said to have died in the Mexican resort of Cancun.

Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomes (21 December 1947 – 26 February 2014), known as Paco de Lucía, was a Spanish flamenco composer, guitarist and producer. A leading proponent of the New Flamenco style, he helped legitimize flamenco among the establishment in Spain, and was one of the first flamenco guitarists who has also successfully crossed over into other genres of music such as classical and jazz.

Richard Chapman and Eric Clapton, authors of Guitar: Music, History, Players, describe de Lucía as a “titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar”, and Dennis Koster, author of Guitar Atlas, Flamenco, has referred to de Lucía as “one of history’s greatest guitarists.”

De Lucía was noted for his fast and fluent picados. A master of contrast, he often juxtaposes picados with rasgueados and other techniques and often adds abstract chords and scale tones to his compositions with jazz influences. These innovations saw him play a key role in the development of traditional Flamenco and the evolution of New Flamenco and Latin jazz fusion from the 1970s. He received acclaim for his recordings with flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla in the 1970s, recording 10 albums together

Some of his best known recordings include Río Ancho (later fused with Al Di Meola’s Mediterranean Sundance), Entre dos aguas, La Barrosa, Ímpetu, Cepa Andaluza and Gloria al Niño Ricardo. His collaborations with guitarists John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Larry Coryell in the late 1970s saw him gain wider popularity outside his native Spain. De Lucía formed the Paco de Lucía Sextet in 1981 with his brothers, singer Pepe de Lucía and guitarist Ramón de Algeciras, and collaborated with jazz pianist Chick Corea on their 1990 album, Zyryab.

In 1992, he performed live at Expo ’92 in Seville and a year later on the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Starting in 2004 he greatly reduced his public performances, retiring from full touring, and typically gave several concerts a year, usually in Spain and Germany and at European festivals during the summer months.

News of his death became the top trend among Spanish users of Twitter. “Rest in peace,” wrote one tweeter. “You’ll teach the angels to play guitar!”

“One of my heroes died today,” wrote another. “One of the best musicians ever.”

Boston, ‘Life, Love & Hope’ – Album Review

Boston, 'Life Love & Hope'

After 11 years Boston released december 2013 his sixth album “Life, Love & Hope”. The sound of this classic rock/arena rock band pretty identifiable with a lot of power chords, solos, and catchy riffs. This album too. Boston does a great job of everything.

You’ll here the voice of legendary vocalist Brad Delp. But Delp committed suïcide on March 9, 2007, at age 55. Aftrer his death the band sticks with its tried-and-true sound, one that has come to nearly define the classic rock genre. But Boston succeeded to save their DNA in a great classic rock album:  layer upon layer of angry guitars, harmonic solos and angelic vocals backing Delp, who could hit notes only dogs could hear.

There’s an unreleased Delp track here, “Sail Away,” about the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and it’s the only one of the three Delp tracks on this album that’s new. Two others — “Someone” and “Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love” appeared on the band’s “Corporate America” album, but Scholz was never really happy with them and has rebuilt them from top to bottom while keeping the original Delp vocals.

Other songs don’t fare as well, including “If You Were in Love” with Kimberley Dahme’s nothing-special vocals.

David Victor took the vocal on the opening “Heaven on Earth”, a song that could into a hit single. The only complaint is that this album could get bored after awhile. The songs are alike in structure, and even though it’s different lyrics, or a different riff, it still feels the same as the last song.

However, if you like classic rock, if you like massive guitars and if you like Boston, than you’ll have to hear Boston.

“The Crank Master” Neil Zaza (Interview)

Neil Zaza, AKA “The Crank Master”, is an independent guitar player from Ohio, who is carving out a career in music using some very creative methods. A blistering guitarist who shames most other guitar-wielding human containers, Zaza balances his technical mastery with a keen melodic sense as well as a challenging compositional style. Zaza has consistently aimed for control over his musical career, and has definitely hit the bullseye.

Dan McAvinchey asked Zaza about his influences and musical goals, the advantages of digital home studio recording, and his ideas for others wishing to follow in his footsteps.

Dan McAvinchey: Neil, how did you get interested in music, and who were some guitarists that influenced your musical tastes?

Neil Zaza: I just always loved music and when I found that I could play it if I wanted to, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. To try to list some of the bands and/or players that influenced my own playing…that would be a very long list. I have to say that my number one influence from the beginning was Van Halen. I don’t think I sound like him at all, but I really was influenced by him in a fanatical way early on. I still listen to the first four records (the REAL Van Halen) and it still give me chills how great he was.

Another player that I feel has had a lasting impact would have to be Neal Schon. His phrasing and sense of melody are just outstanding and that is the stuff I try to emulate these days. Guitar playing is not about technique, but about melody and the translation of emotion.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us about the guitars and other gear you are using to get the Zaza sound.

Neil Zaza: I have been changing gear around a lot lately. I have just fell in love with an amp that I just purchased from Dr. Z. Amplification here in Cleveland. It is a handmade, class A, hand soldered amp that just KILLS! It has the best tone I have ever heard in an amp and it is all over anything I am doing in the studio as well as live.

Other amps and stuff include a 5150 combo/half stack with a STRAIGHT cab, Rocktron PatchMate, Replifex, Rack Interface, Power Station, tube screamer, mxr phase 90, mxr flanger and a Lexicon Jam Man all controlled with an All Access pedal.

That is the live stuff. In the studio I have been using the Z as well as a Peavey Classic 30 with a 112 e cab. Guitar wise, I have been using my EVH Music Man, some Zion Ninety Telecasters, a G&L ASAT classic custom, and a G&L George Fullerton model. I love ’em all!

Dan McAvinchey: What are you hoping to achieve musically?

Neil Zaza: I am hoping to bridge the personal gap of what I feel inside, translating that to the instrument and finally to the audience. I really have come a long way from the “shredder” that I used to be. I have spent some time finding what it is that I want to say on guitar and how I want to say it. I really focus on melody as opposed to just riffs now which I feel really helps my playing as well as my compositions. I really am just trying to be myself.

Dan McAvinchey: What is your most recently completed project and what’s up for the future?

Neil Zaza: My just completed Christmas CD would have to be the most current one. I also am going to LA to record a project with drummer Robin DiMaggio (Steve Vai, Toni Braxton, Boyz 2 Men, Mariah Carey, etc.) that will be some heavy funk stuff.

headline Dan McAvinchey: How do you compose your music?

Neil Zaza: I really compose all the stuff I write with a guitar and a little hand held tape recorder to capture the idea. I really just play the guitar and hum the melody and go from there. I find that if it sounds good in that state, it is a good song.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you record at home or rent time at a commercial facility?

Neil Zaza: I do record in both my home studio as well as a commercial facility. I feel that I can get the best of both worlds like this. When I record at home, I can take the time to do the recording the way I want and take time on things that I feel are important to concentrate on. I don’t have to look at the clock and think about the bill that is running at the time. Then, I go to a bigger studio to do some of the tracking that I can’t do at home (drums) as well as mixing some of the material. In terms of digital editing and recording, I really have it great at home. I never knew that the command “undo” could cause so much creativity in me. I can’t screw anything up and I can take chances with crazy punches and riffs because all I have to do is press “undo” and I am out of it.

Dan McAvinchey: What went into the decision to form your own record label and release an independent record?

Neil Zaza: The real basic premise is that no one else is going to put records out the way I want them done. I don’t want be one of the millions looking for that elusive deal that never comes or when it does, it is not right. I can record anytime I want, set my own budget, and release things when I have something musically to say. That is a great freedom that I really could not live without. I know it is not Geffen or Warner, but at least my music is getting out right now.

Dan McAvinchey: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent musician?

Neil Zaza: The only real thing with it is that you have to do it all. That is the good as well as the bad. You get it done just like you want, but you have to do it yourself. I would love to have a great company do it for me, but for now this is how it is.

Dan McAvinchey: Care to share any marketing or promotion tips for musicians about to release their first independent record?

Neil Zaza: There are a few thing to be very cognizant of. One is that you have to have a good promotion budget and not to skimp corners when it comes to this. You can have the greatest album and if no one knows that you have one out and available, it really is no good. Utilize all that you can with local publications and national ones as well. Always think of the nation as your market and not just your town. You can be the biggest thing in your hometown and unless they know you around, it really is not going to help you. Be a big fish in a big pond.

Always stick to your vision of the music that you want to play. Do not be swayed by trends. Be true to yourself and your art. If you are not, you and your music will suffer. Great music will survive if it comes from the heart.

(Source: www.Guitar9.com)