Sabicas - Rock Encounter. 1970 USA/Spain

58 year old Sabicas was a legendary flamenco guitar player from Spain who was living in New York in the 1960s. He somehow was bamboozled by his agent into participating in an instrumental rock album with some of New York’s finest young jazz players at the time (including Joe Beck and Tony Levin). His distinctive flamenco guitar and much respected name was much desired I'm sure.

Maybe it's best we reflect on this situation before going further. Today it's not uncommon for the older generation of musicians to intermingle with the young bucks. I'm sure they remember the resistance they received in their youth and were determined they would be different when they reached gentrification. But in 1970 it simply WAS NOT DONE. To lower one's standards to play simplistic rock music (even if that's not the case, especially here) was an insult to many. And sure enough years later, maybe not surprisingly, Sabicas himself admitted he didn’t like the album.

This is really Joe Beck’s show, and the whole album is so far ahead of its time, it deserves a doctoral study. Though to be fair this was an extension of Beck’s sessions with John Berberian on Middle Eastern Rock - also a landmark work. This extraordinary release predates the Spanish flamenco rock movement (as spearheaded by Triana amongst many others) by at least 5 years, if not more. An essential pioneering world-jazz-rock-fusion work.

Personal Collection
CD: 2006 Long Hair (Germany)


  1. Tom, this was actually one of two albums that he did in this sizzling style and Sabicas was firing bulletproof pistons on this,meshing well. Did I not point you towards the other one? Hmm..

  2. Hi Cesar,

    Looking at Gnosis, I guess that would be "The Soul of Flamenco and the Essence of Rock". No, I haven't heard that one... sounds like one I should investigate. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. Tom,
    Here for more:



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