Ottmar Liebert has said that "flamenco is a music both romantic and dangerous; it is an attitude as much as it is a musical genre." Therein lies the philosophy that catapulted him to fame at the end of the '80s with an engaging mix of subdued flamenco guitar and South American percussion, rock, jazz, and pop influences. Liebert's "attitude" actually suppresses the more challenging and "dangerous" aspects of flamenco in favor of the romantic -- and the stylish. He's not a technical wizard on the guitar, but he has a feel for the music's innate sensuality and a gift for creating memorable melodies.
Born in Cologne, Germany, to a Chinese-German father and a Hungarian mother, Liebert traveled throughout Russia and Asia before moving to Boston and eventually settling in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After years of trying to hit the big time in various jazz-funk bands, he began playing acoustic guitar in Santa Fe restaurants. His first (self-produced) cassette, Nouveau Flamenco, was basically recorded for friends, but the album received heavy radio airplay on WAVE in Los Angeles. Higher Octave Records re-released it nationally in 1990. After his subsequent album Borrasca quickly climbed the charts, Liebert was picked up by a major label, Epic. With his exotic good looks and enigmatic stage presence, Liebert has brought flamenco to mainstream America with a certain level of class and accessibility. His prowess as a composer and instrumentalist has steadily improved over the years. ~ Linda Kohanov
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