Presented here are selected recordings from albums released between 1974 and 2015 and are arranged in two parts. Discs 1 & 2 are pure flamenco, while Discs 3 & 4 have compositions in other genres – including collaborations with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and other musicians. Selected by Juan Martín himself, the recordings are listed mainly chronologically in each pair of CDs.
The booklet identifies all of the albums that the tracks on this compilation are taken from together with informative notes about each piece.
Juan Martín was voted two years running into the top three flamenco guitarists in the world in the American magazine ‘Guitar Player’. Pyrotechnics can be produced by quite a few players, but instinctive musicianship is a rare quality “No flash, just loads of panache.” The Melbourne Age. His compositional ability in presenting the traditional forms of this mercurial art has led music critics to compare him to Turina, Tárrega and Albéniz.
His guitar sound, whilst lively in the typical timbre also has a richness, clarity and depth of tone which reflects his having projected his instrument unamplified in many of the world’s great halls. One speaks of the Wigmore, Carnegie, Albert, Barbican, Frankfurt’s Alte Oper, Istanbul’s Cemal Resit Rey, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Australia’s Melba Hall, Sydney’s Conservatoire, San Francisco’s Herbst and many, many others. His festival appearances include Edinburgh, Bath, Montreux, Adelaide, London Guitar Festival, Seville, Málaga, his city of origin, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta, Shanghai, Beijing and Vancouver. He has recorded 20 albums and was the first and only flamenco guitarist to make a record with the RPO.
At Sir Roland Penrose invitation, he performed at Pablo Picasso’s 90th birthday celebration when very young which resulted in ‘Picasso Portraits’, an album released in 22 countries simultaneously by Polydor. Apart from presenting flamenco artists of the stature of Eva la Yerbabuena and Rafael Romero ‘El Gallina’ at the Barbican and Wigmore hall respectively, he has appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock and made a superb CD with jazz trumpeter and film composer Mark Isham.
His early influences were Niño Ricardo and later Paco de Lucia in Madrid. The ‘notes per second’ brigade however don’t interest him musically and he is more likely to draw inspiration from Debussy, Ravel and Falla. In this sense Juan Martín is a guitarist composer of contemporary music whilst respecting the great tradition. This has led to him twice performing as soloist with the Nash Ensemble at the Wigmore Hall. His guitar method “el Arte Flamenco de la Guitarra” is regarded as the ‘Bible of flamenco’ worldwide and within his lifetime is at least as well-known as Fernando Sor’s book – no wonder The Times referred to him as “Doctor Flamenco” and José Manuel Gamboa the most eminent Spanish flamenco writer and critic, wrote “he has an impeccable technique and is an authentic ambassador of flamenco music throughout the whole world”.