Juan Martín and Chaparro de Malaga’s ‘La Guitarra—Mi Vida’ Mixes Jazz and Flamenco

517BtVRaysLLa Guitarra—Mi Vida
Juan Martín and Chaparro de Malaga


Traditionally rooted flamenco with some jazz elements


Flamenco guitarist Juan Mártin has enjoyed much commercial success in the UK, where he has long been based. In 1984, he even had a hit single with “Love Theme from ‘The Thorn Birds,’” in which the orchestration was elaborate but the guitar content modest. In this 2015 release, he joins forces with the younger and clearly able guitarist known as Chaparro de Málaga. All 14 tracks, except the Lecuona-based “Malagueña,” are claimed as original compositions and most are based on established flamenco forms.

Although the material is traditionally rooted, the harmonies occasionally display a modern jazz element, with major and minor sevenths in evidence in the opening “Mar de Plata” and elsewhere. Apart from the snatched and uneven tremolo in “Farruca Martín,” all seems well on the technical front. Long haul fans will doubtless welcome the valedictory reworking of the rumba subtitled “La Feria,” a Martín staple dating back at least to the Andalucian Suites album of 1990.

—Paul Fowles