Do you like flamenco, but feel a bit stuck in the Luna Negra/Ottmar Liebert rut? May I recommend Johannes Linstead? I was shocked to discover that his latest, Tales of a Gypsy, is his eighth album. Johannes, Johannes, where have you been for all my life? In any case, I'm very glad I found him now.

Growing up in Canada with European parents of a cosmopolitan bent, Linstead traveled extensively as a child, a lifestyle he continues as an adult. for his inspiration for this project and its title, Linstead says, “I travel around the world, and each of my compositions is like another tale to be told. I feel like I’m following in the footsteps of the original gypsies who traveled wherever they wanted and spread ideas, culture, and art as they went.”

Johannes Linstead is a blazing quick yet eloquently lyrical guitarist. With upbeat hooks and fiery melodies, his music is imbued with a sense of joy. Several of the tracks incorporate the gypsy jazz violin stylings of classically-trained Vasyl Popadiouk (who hails from Ukraine). Linstead is capable of much more than gypsy jazz, however, proving that with the beautifully serene compositions “Flows Like Water” and “September Remembered”, the latter inspired by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Linstead’s guitar is the musical thread that weaves together a complex fabric consisting of his keyboards, udu drum, shakers, and percussion effects, as well as congas, bongos, drums, oud, acoustic guitar, accordion, timbales, doumbek, pan pipes, operatic voice, and violin from an outstanding lineup of excellent musicians.

The result is a musical quilt that reflects a diverse range of styles including flamenco, classical, new age, and jazz.

Highly recommended.

~review by: Lisa Mc Sherry

Artist: Johannes Linstead
Johannes Linstead, 2012

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