Legendary Flamenco Guitarist Paco de Lucia Has Died

The great Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia has died. According to CNN, he apparently died of a heart attack while on vacation with his family. He was 66 years old.

Paco de Lucia was a phenomenal guitarist noted for modernizing the art of flamenco guitar and for his crossover collaborations with guitarists such as John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola, and Eric Clapton. His influence in flamenco guitar has been compared to Andres Segovia’s on classical guitar.

I first heard of Paco de Lucia more than thirty years ago and nearly wore out an album (yes, an LP) called “Friday Night in San Francisco,” listening to some of the most dazzling acoustic guitar playing I had ever heard. The live concert recording featured John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola (whose playing I knew from their “jazz-rock” performances on electric guitars in the 70′s), performing on steel-string acoustic guitars and using plectrums (guitar picks) for very fast single note playing.

On that record, Paco de Lucia played what looked like a regular wooden classical guitar and played with his fingers and had no trouble being just as dazzling. It was a revelation to me, and eventually I believe it helped lead to my growing interest in music for the classical guitar.

Thank you, Paco, for some great and exciting playing that helped a much younger fellow become more interested in acoustic music.

Here is something more reflective:

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