Paco de Lucia, The Montreux Years: A Live Album by the Flamenco Guitarist

“I was scared to death, because of the responsibility involved in performing at this festival. Just before going on stage, my uncle came up to me and whispered in my ear: ‘Here, if I take a wrong note, they find out, here you are I can hear everything. I almost died’ “.

be necessary Anthony SanchezFlamenco guitarist. your uncle (was) Francisco Sanchez Gomez, that went down in history as it Paco de Lucia (Algeciras, 1947 – Playa del Carmen, Mexico, 2014). The performance was in 2010, which was the first time that Sanchez had participated as part of The second hexagram From the genius of Algeciras, he went to Montreux Jazz Festival. It was a special concert, like every time Paco de Lucia has been on stage. They will return in 2012, the last time he will be the festival’s guitarist.

Now, all those offers that Paco de Lucia did with his sextet in Montreux Festival She is the subject of a new album, the eighth by two symbolic artists published by the Claude Nobs Foundation in a collection they have called Montreux yearsAnd Edited with BMG Records. Nina Simone, Muddy Waters, Marianne Faithfull or Chick Corea are some of the artists chosen. In the case of the Spanish, it is a live show with some of his own The most famous pieces (muddyAnd ZiryabAnd I just want to walkmining…)All this was explained by the freedom that he gave them in Concerts (Songs that range from six to ten minutes in length, including his iconic songs between two waters), an organization in Double disc or vinyl In such a way as to revive the musical development of the sextet, a type of formation that would change flamenco guitar concerts forever, but which would also achieve great international fame. “Paco would have loved to see that record published,” Sanchez explains. “What he called most was giving concerts, though he always struggled before going on stage.”

The boy from Luzia, who played the guitar overwhelmingly but couldn’t read sheet music, ended up being crowned one of the most important musicians in the world. The guitarist also wrote in the album booklet: “Many superlatives have been written about Paco de Lucia and they are all true”. John McLaughlin The great friend of the person from Algeciras, with whom he has shared the stage on many occasions (two of them, at the same Montreux Festival) and who is also part of the group Montreux years with one of his Concerts at the festival. McLaughlin recalled it this way: “I didn’t read music, but I had never met a musician with such a flawless ear”.

Paco de Lucía has always mentioned in interviews that his tapping speed, One of his greatest legacies, who created a school for almost every guitarist who achieved success in flamenco after him, came from The anger he played with. Anger that had to do with Not recognizing flamenco As a cultured musician, it was something that was one of the clearest goals of his career: to open a space for flamenco guitar among the great musicians of the world. He succeeds in spades and this record is proof of that. “I hit the nail in the head,” Sanchez replies. Paco can express that contained anger through a Ingenious technique And I got that flamenco fix.”

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The sextet from Paco de Lucia

The first time Paco de Lucia played at the Montreux Festival was in 1978. He did it almost alone, accompanied by a second guitar, which was his older brother’s.Ramon de Algeciras It was he who introduced him to the world of professionals. But this concert does not appear on the disc Montreux years, because the festival wanted to focus on the appearances it presented after its hexagonal establishment. He climbed as many as eight times on the Swiss tournament tables, though not all with his own training.


It was about that time Late seventies, when Paco began to consider accompanying himself on stage with other musicians, especially percussionists. He knew the group The painsHe admired them, and from the encounter with them a line of musicians began to take shape, coming in and out and that would remain fairly constant with The first album in which the sextet appears: I just want to walk (1981). Together with Paco, these non-flamenco musicians learned the ins and outs of this art, unknown to them. So much so that at first they only dared to play the rumba, because they were not able to understand the rhythm of the ballerina or other styles of flamenco.

he baku sextet I’d like to change Flamenco parties Forever: the same The physical disposition of the musicians on stage (forming a semicircle with the lead guitarist in the middle) or introducing instruments unrelated to flamenco, such as electric bass (in fig. Carlos Benavent)or flute and sax (which are played in sextet Jorge Pardo), and later the harmonica or percussion behind the joint on the table or the clap (mainly flamenco cajun, which Paco de Lucia brought from Peru and incorporated thanks to rubim dantas, This is considered almost necessary today). In addition, the properties of the hexagram will be Improvise at parties Lengthening themes the way it is done in jazz.

These pioneers, who in Spain did not enjoy the first years of success, are registered Montreux years: Concerts with Carles Benavent, Jorge Pardo, Robm Dantas & Bros Ramón de Algeciras and Pepe de Lucia (sings). Guitar (third) by Carlos Ripato also joins. but also The second hexagram Who has accompanied him on endless tours in recent years: Josel baby (2006) or Anthony Sanchez (2012) as second guitar, Antonio Serrano (harmonica), Alan Perez (a little), Piranha fish (percussion) f dkwende In the song In addition, in the credits to the album appear, as musicians at the 2006 concert, the Cantoris Diego El Cigala, Montes Cortes and La Tana, While also in 2012 David D Jacoba.

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Submitted by Quincy Jones

In Montreux, the concerts of Paco and the sextet were an event, they always performed to all sold out tickets and the chronicles of the time tell how they aroused applause at every appearance.

his widow Gabriela Canseco, who accompanied him to the Swiss event on two occasions, and remembers how important the festival was to him. “He knew the scale of the festival and the importance of the artists who were showing up there.” He was one of those artists Quincy Jones Who was not only a musician and composer but also the great producer of Jazz and Black Music (Blues, R&B, Soul…). The King of Midas who, among others, launched Michael Jackson’s march to stardom, producing three iconic albums: off the wallAnd excitement And bad. “I would like to introduce you For King Paco de LuciaJones says for his introduction to the audience in Montreux.

Quincy Jones didn’t just introduce him to him: It was A.J Loyal fan of flamenco He was a presenter of concerts of this kind at the festival. Flamenco, for example Blues They come from pain, and the greater the pain, the deeper. It is this pain and this depth that makes flamenco something so authentic and so different from what is done musically in the rest of Europe,” he stated to Country 1991 on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the festival.

“It was very special for Paco to meet Quincy Jones,” Canseco recalled. “They were having dinner together in 2012, and there are videos out there where you can see the two of them in the dressing room, joking and laughing, enjoying the pageant.”

A unique festival in the Swiss mountains

It is located at the foot of the Swiss Alps The Montreux Festival was born as a summer jazz festival (held in July) with the idea of ​​presenting unique concerts, where there was a special encounter between the musicians who attended and the audience, who year after year made pilgrimages to this enclave to witness unique events. Promoter driven Claude Nobs (died 2013), and his first release was in 1967, with the idea that his small town would be associated with jazz and be known worldwide. In the 1970s, the course began to open up to other types of music and at the end of the decade began to incorporate music. Flemish. At the beginning of the 90s, in addition, it began to be produced by Quincy Jones. Its celebration only stopped in 2020, due to the global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus.

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Its first stage was inside the Montreux Casino. However, the particular space to which Antonio Sánchez refers and in which he even heard the flight of the fly is Miles Davis Hall. Paco de Lucía performed alike and both on this album, but he loved and dreaded the latter in equal parts: the sound, Antonio Sanchez explains, is the same as on recording studio of the peculiarities of the room. There is no resonance and therefore it is cleaner.

From the beginning, Nobs wanted to record every one of the concerts, and to the recordings he used the best technology available at all times. In fact, pianist Bill Evans would go on to win a Grammy Award in 1968 with an album recorded live at this festival. The foundation protecting his legacy has up to 5,000 hours of video and audio recordings of 4,000 different concerts and this material has been recognized by UNESCO as part of its Memory of the World Register.

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In 1984, he organized the first festival Spanish nightin which, in addition to Paco de Lucia, they participated, Lol and Manuel, the Catalan group Pegasus and the Montoya Family. It was so successful that the festival decided to incorporate it into the program more frequently. Paco de Lucia has repeated eight times since then.

Montreux years He collects those great moments on stage, and although the selection of songs – made by the festival itself – focuses on the most memorable interventions of the brilliant guitarist, his widow is missing one of Paco’s emblematic creations: I like them to wear the rondeña “, confirms Don Canseco He hesitated. “I think it’s one of Paco’s great contributions to flamenco.” Sanchez nodded in agreement, adding, “At least there’s La Minera, which he always played alone. But of course, I’ll tell you forty thousand songs, I would have played all of them. The nice thing is, the years have gone by and he lives up to his name with these releases. Montreux has so many records that they can release new ones from Paco de Lucía later”.

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