Paco de Lucia, Rest in peace.

I’m sorry to say that the outstanding flamenco guitarist of the last 40 years, Paco de Lucia, has passed away at the age of 66. There’s an article about him at this link.

He has left an outstanding legacy of recordings and videos - long may he be remembered for his passion, his technique, and his astonishing stamina. Rest in peace, Maestro.

I know him only from the two albums he made with Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin, Friday Night in San Francisco and Passion, Grace and Fire, but it’s still unbelievable to me that someone could play with that much speed and power on a nylon-stringed guitar.

This is a stunning loss to the music world. I first became familiar with him on Al Di Meola’s Elegant Gypsy album in the 70s. His playing on Mediterranean Sundance was astounding. Here he is, playing that tune with Di Meola and McLaughlin. I was lucky enough to see him in concert some years ago and was blown away.

Entre Dos Aguas

The man was a genius.

What a loss. :frowning:

I’ve been in meetings all day, but assumed someone would start a thread.

What a true master.

On a somewhat related note, Franny Beecher, the guitarist for Bill Haley and the Comets, died at age 92. He didn’t play the original lead on Rock Around the Clock - that was Philadelphia session guitarist Danny Cedrone, who died in 1954 - but Franny played it on their first national TV appearance and for the movie that made the song famous, Blackboard Jungle.


My interest and love for flamenco began when I was about 17 years old and I bought an album by the late, great Bola Sete. When he passed away a few years later, I knew that my world was a little smaller. It got a bit smaller today, too. Paco de Lucia’s innate grasp of melody, rhythmic juxtaposition and musical composition stood him head and shoulders above any other flamenco artist and in fact set him firmly in the top tier of guitarists regardless of genre. RIP Francisco.

He was truly The Maestro. Unmatched by any other for his combination of technique and musicality.

I was lucky enough to consider him a friend - at least a friend of the family, since the 1970s when I was just a toddler. There is a photo hanging in my folks house of Paco holding me on his lap.

Besides being the world’s greatest guitarist, he was a kind, unimposing, polite, soft spoken, thoughtful and generous man.

RIP Tio Paco

Absolutely incredible albums. A great talent.

Compare to this version 34 years later.

I used to tend bar at Tablao Flamenco in San Diego. Lots of people were at least familiar with the place in passing–it had a huge presence on the 5.

We had live music, mostly, with dancers but when they took their breaks it was Tio Paco’s music we played.

RIP Paco Papi.

I woke up this morning to a dark, cold and rainy day. The weather was so dreary that I thought: this is the kind of day that brings bad news. I turned on the radio; flamenco was playing. Then, sure enough, came the bad news.

I saw Paco live in the 90s. It was a great show. He was one of a very, very rare kind of musician that could take a well-established genre and single-handedly rejuvenate and transform it into something new and fresh again.


Sure, he could play fast but so could many others and usually, that sort of things gets boring after a few seconds. Paco could play fast but his licks were always intriguing, tasteful and edge-of-your-seat exciting.

But what I think is really important is that he took a genre that was more or less seen as kitsch exotica by outsiders and made it popular while experimenting, often convincingly, with other genres (classical, jazz, …) and maintaining integrity.

Besides his work with Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin, here are two of my favourite albums:

Playing the music of Manuel de Falla:

Live in America (three guitars, bass, flute/saxophone and percussion - includes a mesmerizing take on Zyryab)

He was all that and much more. Regarding technique, he was not only amazingly fast (which, as stated is not that big a deal) but smooth, too. He used his strength and dexterity to make the guitar sound beautiful (“tone” is the word used by electric-guitar players). His harmonic palette was broad and his sensitivity to rhythmic nuances was extraordinary. His knowledge of traditional forms was deep and he took the work of his predecessors to new heights. He really was on top of the game in every single aspect.

His peers, without exception, always held him in the highest regard. One of the nicer things I remember reading took the oft-heard “he can’t be human” kind of comment even further by adding “he must have two or three hearts.” His responses in interviews are among the most interesting and intelligent that I’ve encountered. In one interview, he said that he was interested in philosophy when he was young but he gave it up because he thought it was making him lose his sense of humor (it somehow seems appropriate to mention this here on the SDMB).

I saw him in concert just once. As usual, he opened the show on his own, without the other members of his group. Everyone was standing and straining to get a better look at him. A teenage girl in front of me was sitting and staring at her mobile phone in the dark. Every other head in sight was trained on Paco, but this girl seemed only to be interested in her mobile phone. There might have been a good reason for this, but I got the impression that she didn’t really want to be there. About half an hour later, I noticed that she was on her feet, her mouth ajar and her eyes locked on Paco, like the rest of us. I thought that was a pretty good indication of his musical prowess.

No snark intended toward anyone, but forget that “Friday Night…” stuff with other guitarists and in other genres. All of his recordings are good, but “Fuente y Caudal” is among his best.

Very lovely music.


The only other person to even come close to doing that with Flamenco is Ottmar Liebert and his Nuevo Flamenco group.

I’d argue that Rodrigo y Gabriela are extending this new tradition with their fiery brand of rock- and metal-tinged flamenco. The spirit of innovation and genre-bending is still alive with respect to nylon-stringed guitars.

Jesse Cook

This video is blocked in the US.

This one works fine tho, and so I say: thank you. The opening was pleasant, but the violin grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and threw me in. The timbales then grabbed my ankles and held me down. I don’t think Mr. Cook comes across as a virtuoso like Paco, but this is damned good music.

The blocked one is a much earlier version of Tempest, and older rendition of which is found at 51:50 of the second vid.