REVIEW: Tierra Negra & Muriel Anderson – New World Flamenco

Flamenco music is one of those instantly recognizable genres, the kind that immediately takes the listener to a familiar place. In this case, it inspires in me a mental image of a beautiful dancer with flashing eyes, clicking castanets, and a rose in her teeth; backed by a dark, brooding guitarist.

A new album on the CGD Music/Tierra Negra label — New World Flamenco — presents listeners with something along those lines, albeit with some modifications. For one thing, the lady doesn’t dance — she’s the renowned American harp-guitarist Muriel Anderson. And her accompanist is actually two guys the long-established German Flamenco duet Tierra Negra, which is made up of Raughi Ebert and Leo Henrichs.

The three talented guitarists met when Anderson was in Germany for the Gitarrentage Festival in Nurnburg. They hit it off so well that they soon found themselves planning a collaboration. It would eventually become this album, which offers Anderson’s many fans a chance to hear her play in a different milieu. Helping support the three stars are bassists Mark Egan and Victor Wooten, drummer Danny Gottlieb, and a few others on selected tracks.

It’s a collection of fifteen pieces that certainly offers up a variety of sounds. They range from the slow and softly melodic, such as “En El Bosque De Cristal” or “Sara La Noir,” to the lively and moving “See You In The Bar,” which was one of my favorites. I also enjoyed “Summer Morning Rain,” which allows Anderson free reign to revert to something a little closer to her normal style while maintaining the Flamenco feel.

For something more like the traditional Flamenco sound, listeners should enjoy “Fantasia De Fuego,” a piece that was probably my favorite here. It’s one that will appeal to a lot of listeners, but speaking for myself let me just say that I could almost see that lady with the rose. ‘Nuff said.

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