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Comparing PDL and Sabicas...   You are logged in as Guest
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JBASHORUN

Posts: 1839
Joined: Jan. 23 2005
 

Comparing PDL and Sabicas... 

Firstly, let me start off by saying that this thread is NOT intended to belittle either player in any way. IMO these players are BOTH great, if not greater than great.

I started off listening primarily to PDL, but after receiving some Sabicas CDs recently, I noticed that I now listen to just as much Sabicas as I do PDL, despite having far fewer Sabicas CDs.

As far as I can tell, both players have excellent technique. But to be honest, I don't really feel qualified to know if one has the edge over the other. So if anyone has an informed view on this, I would be interested to hear it. Although please try and remain objective. And its probably wise not to let Paco's more modern work influence your decision, if possible, and concentrate mainly on his more traditional stuff.

Any other major differences between the two that I should be aware of?

I would also be interested to know if there is any consensus as to which guitarist better represents Flamenco as a whole. Obviously Paco is MUCH more famous, but is this for the right reasons? And if a friend asked to borrow ONE Flamenco CD featuring either Paco or Sabicas, which artist and album would you lend them?


Cheers,


James
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2006 12:54:21
 
PacoPaella

Posts: 163
Joined: Nov. 7 2004
 

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to JBASHORUN

I think more or less everyone who truly loves flamenco (i dont talk about world music/jazz crossover country metalflamenco) goes through more or less the same cycles. First you listen to some traditional flamenco and you love it...the old harmonies, the powerful and readable compas. Sabicas, Montoya. Mabye people like paco pena, Juan Martin, Paco del Gastor. When people tell you to listen to the modern paco stuff...vicente, tomatito and the other modern guitarists, you just say "Bah thats jazz, not my idea of flamenco". Then after a few years (6 or 7 in my case) you discover how even the modern stuff has the traditional ideas and thats when the old stuff begins to sound boring.

For me, sabicas was unchallenged #1 despite having heard all paco stuff, for years. Now...i rather listen to Vicente and my current favorite, Riqueni, honestly.

BTW does anyone know who accompanies "Sobre la arena" from Nina Pastori? Thats just brilliant
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2006 13:01:27
 
Doitsujin

Posts: 5063
Joined: Apr. 10 2005
 

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to JBASHORUN

I think Paco and Sabicas are not good for compareing. Paco came after Sabicas. Sabicas had his very unique style. Whenever I hear him it reminds me a bit on classic like Mozart. Sabicas is more the direction to Manolo Sanlucar than to Paco. Paco was the pure youth with tons of energy and coolness. Sabicas was a very serious composer. Complete different characters I think.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2006 13:31:38
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3523
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to JBASHORUN

Or you could just listen to and enjoy both.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2006 16:22:15
 
henrym3483

Posts: 1498
Joined: Nov. 13 2005
From: Limerick,Ireland

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to Miguel de Maria

both are great composers, imo, though i do like what paco has done with the bulerias as a style, it has a lot more "bounce" than some of the older styles of playing, i still prefer tomatitos bulerias palying.

sabicas' bronce gitano and el castillo moro are possibly the finest examples of the art of flamenco.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2006 17:16:10

ivan

 

Posts: 73
Joined: Oct. 6 2005
 

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to JBASHORUN

sabicas came in the scene and brought flamenco guitar to more of an art form before PDL. Sabicas was an extremely clean player w/ a great technique and this was instrumental to paving the way for modern flamenco. In the past, many flamenco players had good compas and rhythm but also, many lacked the qualities to be solo flamenco artists. Along came Paco de Lucia and in essence took over Sabicas for the same reasons that I have mentioned, along with a bit more power, youthful approach, and ofcourse his innovations in playing, and musical structure. Paco is and will always be a guitar genuis. Both of them are legends.
Ivan
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2006 1:11:05
 
Shroomy726

Posts: 1329
Joined: Jun. 5 2005
From: Argentina (living in U.S.)

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to JBASHORUN

I was actually talking about this matter with my flamenco teacher, who is 70 years old. He has basically been around for a long long time. He even heard Ramon Montoya play as a kid, personally! It's really nice to have such an old-school as a teacher because he tells me very nice stories. For example, he told me that when he was in the United States, giving concerts, he had the occasion of meeting Sabicas. He told me that being in the dressing room with other players after the concert, he hears a knock in the door. Guess who? Sabicas!! He tells me all the time that in Spain, EVERYONE was buying Sabicas' records and trying to get the falsettas. He was el Rey del Flamenco in that time. Anywho, after chatting with him for a while (referring to him as Maestro), Sabicas invites him back to his place. My teacher told me Sabas spent 2-3 hours playing in front of him, and of course, he told me it was magical. Such a gentle touch, it is like he is making love to the guitar! Sabicas even gave him some advice for his playing.
My teacher also mentions that Sabicas did his thing in the US. He recorded the albums there. Many players were coming to the US, such as Carlos Montoya, Mario Escudero, etc...
And so because of this, he lost the connection with Spain, with flamenco. My teacher always tells me that he had only one flaw, and that was his bulerias. He was perfect in any other sense, but his bulerias lacked this je ne sais quoi. It did not have the flamenco crisp that was going on in Spain at that time.
He also told me how he met Paco de Lucia, and told me immediately: "But Paco, he took the price". Meaning that he has reached a level that no other player has reached before.

If you ask me, I really really love both players, but they are both similar. Sabicas was the Paco at that point and vice versa. They are just two different styles now. Flamenco has evolved a thousand to one since Sabicas, and much of it thanks to PDL.
Now I do not "get" modern flamenco yet. I mean, I like it, but I just cannot see too many similarities with the traditional. I am still discoverin the traditional and I love it. I cannot get enough of it. Sabicas' music is just so beautiful!

Hope my anecdotes do not bother anyone

Regards, Lionel
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2006 3:24:19
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11268
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to JBASHORUN

Easy one, Paco kicks Sabicas's butt.

Seriously, it is not easy to compare. Sabicas influenced Paco in a big way, but not the other way around. Paco played a lot of sabicas type falsetas early on. In terms of technique, Sabicas was crystal clean for his time, and that was an amazing sound, tight rhythm and steady tempo when he wanted. Also Esteban Sanlucar and Juan Serrano were very clean players. Guys like Nino Ricardo and Escudero had some very deep complex music for it's day, but at the price of dirtier sound. PDL came along, influenced by all parties, and brought the idea of crystal clean technique together with the very hard music. His right hand style looks a lot more similar to the Nino Ricardo postition than Sabicas, but the idea of clean clear left hand like Sabicas carried into Paco's playing. So Paco raised the bar interms of clean playing and precision, but probably would not have if not for the Sabicas influence.

Anyway interms of music style, we know Sabicas is trad. and Paco is modern. Paco use his higher level of techinque to introduce synchopation into flamenco that was very different than the traditional way. That opened a new world of possibilities to flamenco guitar, and "colorized" the music big time. So Sabicas is like black and white tv, PdL is color tv. There is a special charm to watching old movies in black and white, or even some modern movies today are shot that way for artistic reasons. But you can't deny the importance of color in movies nowadays.

I learned some Sabicas and played it for an old timer in flamenco, he said one falseta I played was from Nino Ricardo. I said no it was Sabicas, he said he knew sabicas played it, but it was first from N. Ricardo. I went back and listened to some oldies and yeah, Sabicas recorded a lot of falsetas that were not his own. I also found some note for note Ramon Montoya falsetas I had learned from Sabicas recording. Ironic how he was the one to tell Paco to do his own thing. Anyway, the big thing for me that separates these guys musically, is that Sabicas had his style set in stone at a young age. He played the same falsetas in the 80's that he created in the 50's. Paco de lucia had no influence on Sabicas at all. But Paco changed his own playing after Tomatito, Nunez, Vicente Amigo, etc, made their own mark. Paco is still capable of being influenced by his disciples, which is amazing. Perhaps he is just very competative, but you can tell he gets inspired to create very easily, and he is no spring chicken at this point. It is an exciting thought, but maybe the thing that really will put Paco into the musical history books, the "definative work", we have yet to hear. Manolo Sanlucar's personal crowning achievement did not come until he was in his late 40's.

But in terms of who plays a faster Picado, I don't know we would have to do a speed test. The fastest I have heared Paco on record is 16th at about 230, but it was controlled and not pushed to the reall limit sounding. Not sure what is Sabicas fastest. For me Paco has a more controlled and deliberate sound when playing really fast, generally speaking. Sabicas loved those chromatic scales, which are not easy. But he liked to drag his finger when decending, which some folks might look at as "cheating". Anyway, there are more important things in flamenco than Picado.

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2006 4:54:35
 
Phil

Posts: 382
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Rota, Spain

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to Ricardo

Ricardo,

You seem to have made some very careful observations on how various guitarists play. I've seen a lot of people play, but haven't really 'observed' their technique. However, I did notice something on the Rito y Geografia series: Paco de Lucia plays extremely close to the bridge. After seeing that I start watching other guitarists more closely, and I haven't seen anybody else that play that close to the bridge. Not even Tomatito, who was heavily influence by PdL. I'd like to hear your comments on this.

Phil
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2006 9:51:41
 
TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to Ricardo

Ok, so both Sabicas and PdL made a huge impact on flamenco and forever changed it, is there anyone out there that is the next phenom? Tomatito, VA, Gerardo are all incredible, monstruous players but I consider them of the same school and but they are not radically different from Paco. Maybe it's a 14 year old kid doing things that would make PdL nervous (like he, reportedly, made Sabicas nervous when he played for him as a kid). Is there anyone re-revolutionizing el arte?

Todd
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2006 11:03:50
 
Shroomy726

Posts: 1329
Joined: Jun. 5 2005
From: Argentina (living in U.S.)

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to JBASHORUN

Ricardo,

That is a very deep and careful analysis of the Sabicas-Paco relationship. Thank you!
Also, I can relate to your Sabicas' falsetta anecdote. I played the tremolo in minor from Can Garbo Y Salero to my teacher in one of our lessons, and after I finished, I said it was from Sabicas (he liked it). But he corrected me and said that the falsetta is very old, not specifically from Sabicas.
My teacher also stated that one of the reasons why Sabas invited him back to his house (if you read my previous post) was also to hear the current sounds of flamenco in Spain and to analyze the technique. This is how he would stay "updated" with the music going on across the Atlantic. So our little Tio Sabas was quite a trickster!

Lionel
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2006 14:04:12

ivan

 

Posts: 73
Joined: Oct. 6 2005
 

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to Shroomy726

Is there anyone re-revolutionizing el arte? "quote"
TGerman,
Yes..Vicente Amigo but many people will debate this but one cannot argue w/ the way he has popularized and had an impact on flamenco, whether you hate it or love him.
Ivan
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 7 2006 15:20:35
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11268
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to Phil

quote:

After seeing that I start watching other guitarists more closely, and I haven't seen anybody else that play that close to the bridge. Not even Tomatito, who was heavily influence by PdL. I'd like to hear your comments on this.


I notice your punk rock avatar so maybe you know about electric guitars. Well they have pick ups that get a certain sound. Generally the bridge pick is more rhythmic, the neck pick up more lead. But in the 80's Van Halen got the "brown sound" by using distortion and the bridge pick up only for more bite. Lead and rhythm had that one sweet sound, the "sweet spot" for hard rock/metal. Kramer guitars started making guitars with only the bridge pick up after that.

Acoustic guitars achieve the same quality by where you play literally. Bridge is rhythmic and bright, over the sound hole is more mellow, softer attack. But the flamenco sound is more akin to the VH "brown sound" IMO, meaning you want that bridge position for more attack, more bite. Certain guitars have the "sweet spot" as I call it between the hole and an inch or so from the bridge. You actually adjust a bit your hand position to the guitar, depending how it responds. Paco always played those Conde guitars that have a sweet spot a little close to the bridge. Also Tomatito plays with a slightly straighter wrist for certain techniques, but he is certainly not playing over the hole like Sabicas or Nino Ricardo. So most of the post Paco players play rather close to the bridge exclusively, sort of like the Post Van Halen Rockers always used the bridge pickup.

quote:

Ok, so both Sabicas and PdL made a huge impact on flamenco and forever changed it, is there anyone out there that is the next phenom? Tomatito, VA, Gerardo are all incredible, monstruous players but I consider them of the same school and but they are not radically different from Paco.


Like Ivan said you have Vicente Amigo. But here is the thing. Each guy you mentioned had his "day" as the king, the revolution. That is how they made names for themselves. Tomatito was ahead of Paco interms of synchopation and stuff in 1980. But he only did accompaniment. By the time he recorded solo stuff, Paco had already gotten into the "funk" of what younger guys like Tomatito were doing and matched or surpased the level with his newer offerings (Solo Quiero Caminor/Siroco). Then Riqueni/Nunez had Paco nervous with technique and musical knowleadge. But he figured them out and beat them at their own game too with Zyrab and an overall freedom to change and adapt in his live shows. Then Vicente. If you can't beat em, join em. His playing on the duet with Vicente on "Quierido Metheny" is almost indistinguishable. They blend surely, but Paco took some ideas for himself and future records. Canizares' Craziness also rubbed off on "Luzia" and his accomp. of Duquende.

So the reason those guys sound like "Paco school" is because Paco was actually inspired by them and out did them (or tried to raise the stakes) on his next album. They were influenced by Paco, but ended up influencing him. And actually it has been going back and forth like that for awhile now, with the young guys reexamining what they do or spinning off of Paco's idea. But so far, Paco's playing is still at the vangard along with the monsters he created. Check out Cigala's last album. 3 generations all at sort of the same level and current style:Paco, Tomatito, Diego del Morao. I am hopin good things to come from Diego and also Paco's nephew Jose Maria Banderas.

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 8 2006 6:44:47
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo
Kramer guitars started making guitars with only the bridge pick up after that.


Ah, nostalgia I used to have a Kramer Baretta.

..then there was the pink Ibanez...

_____________________________

Spanish Guitarist in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 8 2006 10:09:52
 
Romanza

 

Posts: 296
Joined: Oct. 24 2005
 

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to JBASHORUN

James, I've recently been trying to tear myself away from Paco and broaden my flamenco horizons, and have been listening to 'La Guitarra de Sabicas'. It has really blown me away. It sounds so flamenco - for some reason it brings to mind those early technicolour films with the guitarist wondering around under trees wooing the ladies (I don't know - I may have just invented that).

I don't have a preference, but for me listening to Sabicas and also some of Paco Pena's stuff has given me a much greater understanding of the various Palos - which are I think are more difficult to identify with some of the more modern flamenco.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 8 2006 10:31:48

JBASHORUN

Posts: 1839
Joined: Jan. 23 2005
 

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to Romanza

Hey Jacqueline,
Glad to hear you're enjoying Sabicas so far! Be sure to check out his DVD "King Of Flamenco Guitar"... as DVDs go, its nothing fancy, and quite brief. But its a good display of some of Sabicas' talent, and as far as I know there are very few DVDs featuring him about. Another one worth checking out is a double CD, book, and DVD set featuring the cantaor Carmen Amaya:

https://www.flamenco-world.com/tienda/shop.php?&vshopferca=8c99071d40114c97422e5278a676c4c4&op_shop=show&id_prod=3280&page=1

I'm told its Carmen doing the cante and Sabicas accompanying on guitar, although I only have the CDs from this set (not the DVD and book at the moment). Carmen has a fairly soft and sensitive voice, at least compared to many other cantaors. But thats not to say she lacks passion, and its traditional "old-school" style Flamenco as opposed to the more modern stuff by the likes of Estrella Morente. This is one of my favorite albums featuring cante (at least so far) and definitely worth a listen IMO.


Cheers,

James

PS: anyone know if Sabicas is still alive? Does he do tours/performances?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 8 2006 18:28:42
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to JBASHORUN

I once saw Sabicas play "live" in Madrid.
Although I was into the "young" sounds of Paco and Camaron..
It was truely an amazing performance.
Sabicas is fast and accurate, but his "rounded" and "full" sound, didn't click with the younger generation who were turned onto Paco's "clipped" and very "non lyrical" but very"direct" sound.
At the time, I had actually written Sabicas off as being "old stuff"..being young myself.
But when I left the concert, I had a completely different opinion.
The guy was an incredible Flamenco Guitarist.
Most of the time he made you feel he was just making it up as he went along..he was just so relaxed and enjoying it.
Just spinning yards and yards of falsetas with total rhythmic command.
I've heard some Paco "sound-alikes", but I've yet to hear a Sabicas sound-alike!
I really doubt if anybody "ever" will be able to duplicate that tone.

You might not like Sabicas..but you can never say he's not totally Flamenco.

cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 8 2006 20:01:00
 
henrym3483

Posts: 1498
Joined: Nov. 13 2005
From: Limerick,Ireland

RE: Comparing PDL and Sabicas... (in reply to Ron.M

quote:

PS: anyone know if Sabicas is still alive? Does he do tours/performances?


JBASHORUN,

sabicas has been dead for the last 16yrs i believe, he died in 1990. camaron i think died the year after, not a good time for flamenco.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 9 2006 8:35:47
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