|You modernize Flamenco by revealing yourself - but not with embellishments. "What is difficult is revealing yourself", said Eva Yerbabuena. This quote covers exactly what Paco de Lucía has done on his latest recording. The Spanish guitar legend waited five years to issue his newest studio recording. The cover art of Cositas Buenas shows the now 56 year-old clad in a long black coat carrying his guitar case. Simple - the antithesis of flashy. If you remember, Paco de Lucía reinvented flamenco during his 40-year career and made this traditional music more accessible for a larger public. His recordings and performances with Al de Meola and John McLaughlin in particular are legendary even with non-flamenco listeners.
It seems Paco used these past five years to dive deeper in his soul and there distill the very Zen of Flamenco. With only a minimum of man-made instruments -- guitar or guitar-related instruments like bouzouki, lute or mandolin -- and percussion, Paco uses the human body as his base, with voice and hand claps the only other main ingredients. Merely the last track welcomes a trumpet.
The music is delivered in eight tracks which cover four Bulerias, two Rumbas, one Tango and one Tiento. Beside the variety of songs, Paco invited some amazing guests. For example, the opening track features the extraordinary voice of Montse Cortés. The Buleria starts with a show of hands by Paco, but not with any overt see-how-fast-I-am intro but just an emotional song line accompanied by palmas before Montse sets in. In the title track which translates into Good Little Things, Paco gives the spotlight to singer Victoria Santiago 'La Tana'. In the song for his daughter Antonia, he takes the vocals himself for another number masterful in its simplicity and raw emotions. Jazz/Flamenco guitarist Juan d'Anyelica joins de Lucía in the Rumba "El Dengue". Vocals are abundant in "Volar" when La Tana and Paco are joined by the young singer El Potito, Antonio Vargas Cortés' stage name of' the little dove'.
The Tiento "El Tesorillo" is a song for the lute which next to Angela Bautista sports another young male flamenco singer, Diego 'El Cigale' Ramón Jiménez Salazar. With the help of modern post-mortem overdubbing, "Que venga el Alba" is sung by Camarón de la Isla who died in 1992 and, together with Paco, was greatly responsible for the original Flamenco Nueva movement. This song also invites Camaron accompanist extraordinaire, Tomatito, 'the little tomato'. The combination of performances and sheer intensity of playing makes this song truly remarkable.
The final track is very different from the rest. First bassist Alain Pérez joins Paco together with Alejandro Sanz on the tres, a small guitar, then Jerry González enters on the trumpet. This latter element adds a distinctive Miles feeling, with sporadic notes providing haunting accents to the very jazzy tune. Al in all, Cositas Buenas is exactly what the title promises - beautiful rhythms and melodies played from the heart by the grandmaster of the modern Spanish guitar.