|Passion Grace & Fire|
|Produced by John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucia|
|Released on 1983|
|no chart information|
|Find it at GEMM|
|CK 38645 cover
[high resolution scan]
K RONOMYTH 12.0: VIRTRIOSITY. The three tuners return for a fleet and fiery adventure in modern flamenco music. Passion Grace & Fire is a mix of high-wire hijinx and artful balance, with each guitarist given their own channel (left, center, right) and two tracks to strut (and strum) their stuff. The idea here is that more is more, with the trio piling their pyrotechnics atop one another in near-constant overdrive. Chances are you’ve already encountered this music in a more personal setting, either through the albums of Paco De Lucia or the tango sortees of Al Di Meola. Passion compresses and cubes it, providing for an intense (if occasionally overwhelming) ride. The opening “Aspan” from McLaughlin perhaps says it best, with hints of instrumental prog woven into classical flamenco that spits hots rocks and oozes layers of molten lava like an erupting volcano. The closing title track from Di Meola is another highlight, a shapeshifter that morphs between rock and rollercoaster classical. De Lucia’s two works, sandwiched in the middle, are truer to traditional flamenco music, with percussive elements and stiffly strummed guitars. As impressive as it is, you’d need to have an affinity for flamenco music or an unquenchable thirst for the acoustic guitar to play Passion Grace & Fire repeatedly. Once heard, it’s not soon forgotten, but I grew jaded after the first two tracks, expecting the onesupsmanship to continue until it had reached some celestial summit. At its best, Passion returns to the heights of “Aspan,” but never reaches higher than that. Still, it’s a stunning record at times, and a fine addition to the individual works of each artist.
PACO DE LUCIA -- Spanish flamenco guitar (built in Spain, gut strung); Paco plays on right channel
AL DI MEOLA -- Ovation 6-string acoustic guitar (steel strung); Al plays on left channel
JOHN McLAUGHLIN -- Yamaha classical flamenco-type guitar (gut strung); John plays on center channel
Femi Jiya -- engineer
Dennis MacKay -- additional engineering
Barrie Marshall and Philip Roberge -- executive producers
STD -- sleeve concept, sleeve design
Assorted iMaGes -- sleece design
Rob Brimson, Andrew Ellis, Peter Nelimarkka -- photography
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