Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Paco de Lucia

A few minutes ago, I was looking at my 2009 list of jazz artists I have heard live (a list which needs updating), and one of the names I stopped at was Paco de Lucia. I paused for a moment and remembered the concert: the John McLaughlin-Paco de Lucia-Al Di Meola trio, with Steve Morse opening on solo 12-string guitar. I tell two stories about this show: first, the trio's arrangements of the compositions were all very similar. After they played the head, McLaughlin would usually start, and his solo always felt like it was asking a question. De Lucia would then explore the ramifications of that question in his solo. All this was at incredibly high speeds, but then Di Meola would play his solo, and it always seemed like it was even faster—and like he was completely ignoring McLaughlin and de Lucia's previous discussion. From the back, voices could be heard: "Go, Al!" I assumed these were the voices of all the young guitarists who liked to play fast.

The second story: for the encore, Steve Morse came out with his 12-string guitar and sat in with the trio. It was a Chick Corea tune, though I don't remember which one. And Morse took the first solo. For what seemed like the entire first chorus of his solo, he played one note over and over again, bending it to various degrees. It was like a revelation, as not one of the players in the trio had played a single bent note in their two long sets! It was like Morse was saying, "Hey, guys, what about the blues?"

All that went through my head fairly quickly when I was looking at the list, but just now I read that de Lucia died today. I'll always remember his beautiful elaborations on McLaughlin's questions, even if Di Meola seemed to be ignoring John and Paco's conversations.

No comments: