The Legends of Laurel Canyon
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
It’s So Hard To Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best
Transfiguration of Vincent
Christmas in the Heart
Glitter and Doom Live
Let It Roll: The Best of George Harrison
Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
Playing for Change
No, not Gloria Estefan. No, not Ricardo Montalban, either (selling Cordobas with interiors made from the finest Corinthian pleather...), although you’d be excused for the confusion. Montalban is remembered for his role on Fantasy Island, and prime-time TV car commercials.
Most people only have a vague recollection of Esteban from his own late-night television commercials, when he hawked his latest album with cornball imagery and track samples. This (largely non-existent) correlation would naturally lead you to think of Esteban as a commercial gimmick artist, and it doesn’t help matters that his recordings are often labeled as ‘New Age’. I think that he would be better served if labeled as a ‘world’ artist, since his recordings have a flamenco flair with an accessibility that reaches well beyond the borders of Spain.
But Holy Jesus, I must be wrong! As I’m writing this, an informercial just popped up on the television with Esteban hawking his latest guitar program! Am I suddenly living in an alternate universe? The truth is probably much more mundane – I hate TV, so I simply haven’t seen the Esteban TV segments – but obviously, this guy is a signpost of our culture, like Slim Whitman was in the seventies, only with dark sunglasses and a flat-brimmed hat.
Andres Segovia, one of the best classical guitarists of our age, taught Esteban but his career was halted when injuries sustained from a serious car accident prevented him from playing for ten years. When he could finally re-approach his instrument, he did so with a positivity that may be responsible for the unfortunate ‘new age’ tag. This “Best of” collection transcends any such label, and it forces me to take the guy seriously. His choice of material here is a tad obvious, including “Besame Mucho,” “Fernando” and “Here Comes the Sun,” but his playing is both genuine and original. Other tracks reflect his love for Spanish culture, especially “Fuego Malaguena,” “Mediterana” and “Porto Allegro,” where his heartfelt performances only add to his appeal as a technically gifted instrumentalist. Those who don’t know may snicker, but don’t sell Esteban short, because there is more here than late-night television (or prime time informercials) indicate.
Buy it now! -