Vicente Amigo has done it again. When his year 2000 Ciudad de las Ideas [BMG 74321 78495-2] eventually became re-released as City of Ideas, it won a Latin Grammy. Then came 2003 and Canto with El Pele, one of the most intense male Flamenco vocalist albums ever committed to polycarbonate [Ariola 82876559282]. A collaboration on Sting's Sacred Love followed as did multiple world tours. 2005 now sees the return of this world-class guitarist to the recording studio for his 5th album [1993 brought us De Mi Corazon al Aire on SDI, followed by Vivencias Imaginadas in 1996 on Sony and the symphonic Poeta a year later again on Sony].
This year's long-awaited album Un Momento en el Sonida | A Moment in Sound is every bit as stunning as its Grammy-winning predecessor. With it, this amazing guitarist from Cordoba continues a Flamenco legacy that seamlessly crosses over into a commercially viable hybrid while maintaining the very highest standards of musicianship. That's a razor's edge to walk and here is once again flawlessly navigated by a crack team of collaborators who include Tino di Geraldo on percussion and singers El Potito, Antonio Villar and Blas Córdoba.
While the traditional Flamenco forms of bulerías, soleá, farruca, taranta, tangos, rumba, zapateado and bolero are in felicitous attendance, their presentation is ultra modern. In the ravishing bolero dedicated to Vicente's younger son Marcos for example -- the counter gesture to "Bolero de Vicente" on Ciudad dedicated to his other son -- Ariel Herández enters on a bandoneon for a bit of distilled Uruguayan tango flavor, taking the place of the harmonica in the last album.
Discovered in hindsight as already hinted at by the immaculate album cover of painter José Luis Muñoz, Un Momento attends to the finest of details. In fierce defiance to the tradition of filler -- musically empty tracks that add content to a short stack of good material to make a complete album and feed the label pipeline -- there isn't a single ill-considered note on the entire album. The high standards set by the opening rumba "Demipati" continue unbroken to the very end, a rearranged (not remixed) bonus track of the central "Bolero a Marcos" with voluptuous string orchestra.
This album is the golden harvest of five years of intense traveling and playing. Each of its 10 generous track takes us on a journey flavored with different emotions - dreamy, fiery, rebellious, celebratory, romantic, playful. This parlays what one imagines is an artist at the peak of his powers retreating into the relative solitude of the recording studio to distill dormant ideas and impressions gathered from so many encounters and pour them forth into one perfect moment in sound. Make no mistake, this is a very serious Flamenco album. But unlike Canto with its truly incendiary lead singer going way deep into the Blues like a Howling Wolf to speak to the aficionados of the style, Un Momento requires no prior familiarity with the art of Flamenco to be appreciated by music lovers regardless of nationality and background. This is world music for the 21st century. Executed as perfectly as Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel or Shah Jahan's Taj Mahal, Un Momento en el Sonido is a masterpiece, one for the ages that will be mentioned when historians collect the 10 most important albums to describe a particular musical strand or stylistic archetype. This one will be used to articulate and then define global flamenco which none of the presently working guitarists seems better positioned to pioneer than Vicente Amigo.