The first thing you have to know about Ottmar Liebert is that his music is glorious. The second is that he is an incredible musician, and the third is that his life story is as interesting as the compositions he weaves. Born in Germany to a Chinese-German father and Hungarian mother, Liebert began playing guitar at age eleven. He completed a course of study in classical guitar and then left home to travel the world. During this time, studied traditional musical, but found little outlet for the music he was developing in the Western pop music of the late '70s and early '80s. First in Germany and then in Boston, Liebert put his guitar skills to work in a series of jazz-funk bands, the last of which broke up in 1985. Frustrated and disillusioned with the East Coast music business, Liebert headed West, and ended up in Santa Fe. There he discovered an audience that appreciated his music and he began to create the band that in 1988 became Luna Negra. Taking a risk, Liebert had 1000 CDs pressed of his first album, Marita, and sent it out to radio stations around the South and West of America. This led to him signing a deal with Higher Octave Music, who remastered Marita for national release under the title Nouveau Flamenco. By 1993, the album had been certified gold in the US; by 1996, it was close to platinum. Two subsequent Higher Octave releases--Poets & Angels (1990) and the Grammy-nominated Borrasca (1991) all reached #1 on the Billboard New Age charts. Although Liebert later signed a deal with the Sony Epic label, where his music has continued to evolve into electronic diversions and ambient music, his strength lies in the ‘nouveau flamenco’ sound he pioneered. Higher Octave Music has compiled many of his early recordings into one glorious collection – Barcelona Nights, The Best of Ottmar Liebert, Vol. I.   Most of the tracks are from Borrasca, with a few from Nouveau Flamenco, and they are all lush, romantic and joyful. Some of the more playful melodies evoke a sense of dancing happily down a cobblestone street in Madrid (the title track, Barcelona Nights); others the smoldering passion of a once fiery love affair that has cooled with time (In the Hands of Love). And if you can resist leaving your chair to dance to Isla del Sol, then you have a stronger willpower than I. Liebert has a very personal style of music making, one that entices and seduces, and is just plain fun. I always find myself bouncing around as I listen, imagining myself as a much better dancer, dipping and doing the rumba… This album is a wonderful addition to your collection, most especially if you do not already own Borrasca. If you are new to Liebert’s music, then Barcelona Nights is a perfect introduction. Put the CD in, light a candle and enjoy the journey. ~review by Lisa Mc SherryArtist: Ottmar Liebert

Higher Octave Music, 2001

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