One of my students had a great idea - a list of must-have flamenco guitar recordings for those in the early stages of learning the art. I will not include anything too modern as I believe it is best to listen to earlier recordings initially to understand where the modern style comes from and which players formed the changes in styles over the years. The most important player who brought the guitar into the modern style was undoubtedly Paco de Lucía, although he himself was clearly influenced in his early days by Niño Ricardo and Sabicas. I would urge anyone with a serious interest in playing flamenco guitar not to listen to only modern flamenco music as it is often difficult - without experience - to grasp the context in which it sits in relation to where it stemmed from. Some of these recordings may not be available on CD but are still worth seeking out on any format - this is essential stuff. Okay here goes:Grandes Figuras del Flamenco Vol 5 (Ramon Montoya) Compiliation of classic flamenco solos by Ramon Montoya.
L'art de Ramon Montoya (Ramon Montoya) 2-CD compilation.
Grandes Figuras del Flamenco Vol 11 (Niño Ricardo) Compiliation of classic flamenco solos by Niño Ricardo.
Historia del Flamenco (Niño Ricardo)
Homenaje al Niño Ricardo - In Memorium (Various players interpreting Niño Ricardo solos except Sabicas, who plays one of his own compositions as a homage).
Flamenco Puro (Sabicas) - Groundbreaking album
El Rey del Flamenco (Sabicas) Only 6 tracks currently available on CD as part of a package with book of transcriptions by Alain Faucher. Click here to go to Alain's Affedis website where he has hundreds of excellent transcriptions available for sale.
Flamenco Reflections (Sabicas) Includes a fantastic Alegrias in C.*
Flamenco Guitar (Paco Peña) Phillips/Fontana records - includes classic rumba 'Lola'.*
The Art of Flamenco (Paco Peña) CBS records.*
La Guitarra Flamenca (Paco Peña) Decca records.*
Note Most Paco Peña recordings from the 70s and 80s are worthwhile and contain expert playing in the traditional style.
La Fabulosa Guitarra de Paco de Lucía (Paco de Lucía) Paco de Lucía's first album.
Fantasia Flamenca de Paco de Lucía (Paco de Lucía) Includes a classic interpretation of Esteban Sanlucar's Panaderos Flamencos onto which Paco has grafted an escobilla passage by Sabicas. In fact this is the album in which Sabicas' influence on Paco can be heard the most.
Fuente y Caudal (Paco de Lucía) The album that introduced the world to Entre Dos Aguas. Paco's innovations on this album changed the way flamenco would be played forever.
Note Unavailable in their entirety for years, both the above Niño Miguel recordings became available on CD some time ago in a package called El Niño Miguel - Diferente & La Guitarra de Niño Miguel. A compilation of both albums (everything except for 2 or 3 tracks) is also available as Grandes Guitarras del Flamenco - Niño Miguel.
Virtusismo Flamenco (Serranito)*
La Guitarra de Enrique Melchor (Enrique de Melchor) *
Azules (Pepe Justicia) **
Calahora (Jose Antonio Rodriguez) *
Callejon de las Flores (Jose Antonio Rodriguez) - A beautifully lyrical album. Anybody who likes Jose Antonio Rodriguez' playing in Carlos Saura's movie Flamenco will love this album, which contains toques de 'ida y vuelta' such as Colombiana and Guajira.
Aljibe (Manolo Franco)*
El Gallo Azul (Gerardo Nuñez)
Maestros (Rafael Riqueni)
Rosas del Amor (Tomatito)
* As far as I'm aware these have never been available on CD.
**I believe these CDs are currently out of print.
A good search around the internet and on eBay etc. should yield good results with most of the recordings listed. Good hunting!
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