A sad day for music – as it was announced that today the master guitarist Paco de Lucia passed away at the age of 66. He suffered a fatal heart attack while on holiday with his family in Mexico.
I was introduced to his music via the Friday Night in San Francisco album, which he played on with John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola and then started listening to his own music as well. Luckily I met him for the first time in Vienna in the 80’s, shortly after having started working for Polygram and had the pleasure to work with his music and meet him occasionally for over 20 years after that initial meeting. His concerts over the years were always something special – his technical ability just beyond and his music touching and full of emotions and every time performed with the best musicians the Spanish scene had to offer.
I was the involved in the 1996 re-union of the Guitar Trio and the album and tour – many stories to be told about this … – and then again with his consequent releases for Universal up to his last studio album Cositas Buenas and then to the Vitoria Suite, on which he performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra. Always searching, trying still to improve, even so he was considered the best guitar player of his generation by many. Paco recorded all his albums for one company – first Philips, then PolyGram and finally Universal, so the complete catalogue is in one house and his heritage secure.
A great human being and a fantastic artist, who left a major legacy to music, not only to flamenco. I saw him last year at the Vitoria-Gasteiz festival playing with his group and then with Chick Corea – masterful as ever. Unforgettable!
Photo courtesy of the Vitoria-Gasteiz Jazz Festival