FAME Review: Ciro Hurtado - Los Angeles Blues
Ciro Hurtado - Los Angeles Blues

Los Angeles Blues

Ciro Hurtado

Inti Productions - IT28061

Available from Ciro Hurtado's web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

If you dig Peruvian music, and I've always been enamored of really good pan pipes and Andean rhythms (and am still playing my old Urubamba LP a lot), you're going to here find a very clear base of what's going on underneath it, as well as with a good deal of Spanish infusion. Ciro Hurtado's Los Angeles Blues is a beautiful and mellow excursion into thoughtful excellence amid some jaw-dropping technique, chops, and sonics. He's fluent not just in native styles but also flamenco, latinate blues, greatly transposed Brit rock (remember when Peter Green incorporated all those great Spanish/classical lines into the extended version of Oh Well?; you'll hear some of that, but, even more, you'll understand why he went there in the first place), jazz, classical, and chamber musics. The quotations, transmutations, inflections, and seamless polyglot transitions are so profuse and often so subtle that the careful listener will find himself going "Whoa! Did you catch what he just did??" even if no one else is in the room.

You may think I'm putting you on, but I swear it's true: I didn't even realize this was a solo-guitar CD until the third cut. That's how full the sound of just Hurtado and his fingerstyle playing is. Yeah, Julio Ledezma plays a bombo on one cut and cajon on another, but other than that, this is 100% Ciro, and though the term 'master' may be slung around a bit too much nowadays, you'll be agreeing with me in short order that it's perfectly appropos here. I've rarely been that absorbed into this kind of music. There's depth after depth after depth, and not a cut is less than fully steeped while simultaneously sunny and attractive purely on a sensual level.

Without doubt, this release stands with the estimable CandyRat label's exceedingly fine works and will compel classicalists, traditionalists, fusioneers, and just about anyone with an ounce of artistic sensibilities to drop what they're doing and just wallow in the pleasures of such rare accomplishment. Consider this: Hurtado's sat in with Strunz and Farah, gents of exceptional world-class finesse, and scored or helped score a number of films and documentaries, esp. Ron Fricke's classic Baraka, so it's not like he's unknown, but until his name is a musical household word, well, justice just won't be served. Give a listen and see why. He wrote every single cut here, and Tarrega himself would be impressed.

(And mention must be made of J. Michael Walker's brilliant design work for the CD: classic, futuristic, suffused with sunlight, semi-abstract, pastoral, and highly innovative, all in one.)

Track List:

  • Los Angeles Blues
  • Aguas
  • Camino a Cuzco
  • Spring in the Hills
  • Tahuampita
  • Irlandes
  • Reencuentro
  • Reflection
  • La Campanera
  • La Negrita Tomasa
  • Bordon Triste
All songs written by Ciro Hurtado.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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