Los Angeles Blues
2012 / Into Productions
Review by Kathy Parsons
Los Angeles Blues is a wonderful collection of eleven original acoustic guitar solos from Peruvian-born Ciro Hurtado. Hurtado started learning the guitar at age twelve and was playing in rock bands as well as Andean Folk ensembles by the time he was fourteen. Over the years, traditional Latin American and rock music have been major influences, and Hurtado has spent the past several decades developing his distinctive guitar style by incorporating Peruvian folk motifs from the Andes Mountains that he grew up listening to and performing as a teenager. Hurtado moved to the US in 1975 and studied at the Guitar Institute of Technology. He performed with the renowned guitar ensemble, Strunz and Farah, for four years and recorded with them on the album Misterio. He has also released seven albums under his own name and seven with the band Huayucaltia (pronounced why-you-call-TEE-ah). Several of his previous albums were instrumental ensembles with a few guitar solos, but the most recent three have been acoustic solo guitar. Hurtado has studied a broad scope of Latin music as well as rock, blues, folk, jazz, classical, flamenco, Celtic, African, Middle Eastern, and other styles, giving him a true world view of music. I especially like the intimate feeling of this album - soothing and relaxing yet masterful. It is wonderful to listen to with full attention and also blends well as warm background music for a nice meal, talking, reading, etc.
Los Angeles Blues begins with the title track, an easy-going blend of American blues and Andean music. Based on the same pentatonic scale structure used in both traditions, the mood is melancholy, but not without hope. “Aguas” was first released as an ensemble piece in 1990 and now appears as a solo with some very impressive finger-picking. “Spring in the Hills” is much lighter and more carefree. “IrlAndes” is a fascinating melding of Irish and Andean styles - charming! “Reflection” has a more classical Latin guitar sound - smooth, evocative, and incredibly graceful - a favorite. “La Negrita Tomasa” picks up the tempo a bit with the feel of a folksong and catchy light percussion in the background. Containing several of the standard riffs from traditional Afro-Peruvian music, it feels light and dancelike. “Bordon Triste” closes the album with a melancholy piece with a gorgeous melody expressed in a variety of Latin American styles.
Los Angeles Blues is a solo guitar masterpiece! It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
May 21, 2013