It’s funny because yesterday when I heard about the death of Paco de Lucia, of course shocked and feeling sad, (he was the main inspiration for making my album because I realised I could combine chords, melody and rhythm in a certain way after listening to him) I started trying to think of the ultimate piece he played to sum up that moment, that atmosphere that he’d just gone. And a certain phrase appeared in my mind, I knew it was from a Paco de Lucia album so I started searching for the track… I knew it was at the beginning of the track. I went through probably 6 albums and I couldn’t find it, so I rechecked – still no joy.
Then suddenly it occurred to me it was on the Guitar Trio album Passion, Grace and Fire (with John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola). So here was the track, “David”… yes, this intro is perfect… evocative… poignant. Yes this is the track that epitomises Paco.
Then just before posting on Facebook (as you inevitably do) I realised this track was written by McLaughlin and it’s he who plays the solo intro I heard in my head! PDL and JM both play nylon string guitars on the album, but JM uses a pick. But JM plays so skilfully here, such a flamenco feel, my memory has registered it as Paco!
Of course, I also idolise JM anyway, but this taught me a lesson. The music is the music, whoever plays it. We shouldn’t put these people on pedestals, like gods… we should listen to the music they play. To paraphrase something Paco once said, I don’t believe in genius, it’s all about the situation you grow up in, and hard work.
All sorts of people “have greatness thrust upon them” as it were… they grow up in families where they live and breathe a certain artform, expressing it like a native language. Mozart the same. Yes let’s call them geniuses or whatever, but more importantly, let’s appreciate fully the music, the art, the beauty.