Corea's interest in Spanish music was well documented on My Spanish Heart (Polydor, 1976), and he continued to place his own slant on it with Touchstone (Stretch, 1982)—a mixed bag that included two tracks with flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia and De Lucia's bassist Carles Benavent. Two decades later, while on tour in Europe, Corea found himself reacquainted with Benavent and two other De Lucia alumni—saxophonist/flautist Jorge Pardo and percussionist Rubem Dantas. From this chance meeting emerged a new project, Touchstone, with a European 2004 tour the source for Rhumba Flamenco: Live in Europe.
The writing on this double-disc set represents Corea's most successful marriage of improvisational freedom with longer form composition. Informed by the broader latitude and suite-like nature of classical composition, Corea assimilates writing styles honed on My Spanish Heart and other albums from that era, including Friends (Polydor, 1978) and The Leprechaun (Polydor, 1975)—even the final incarnation of Return to Forever that toured and released Live (Columbia) in 1977. But while those albums had much to recommend, they also leaned towards a sort of bombast that is wholly absent on Rhumba Flamenco.
A specially-price limited edition compilation of Manu Katché on ECM. Here the French drummer is joined in performances of his tunes by an outstanding cast of soloists including Jan Garbarek, Tomasz Stanko, Nils Petter Molvӕr, Trygve Seim, Mathias Eick, Marcin Wasilewski, Tore Brunborg, and Jacob Young. Recorded 2004 -2012 in Oslo, New York and Pernes-les-Fontaines, and drawn from his widely acclaimed albums: Neighborhood (ECM1896), Playground (ECM 2016), Third Round (ECM 2156), Manu Katché (ECM 2284)