Saturday, November 6, 2021

MIradas (2021), by Jose Luis Serrano Esteban

For his fourth album, master guitarist Jose Luis Serrano Esteban uses nylon strings to create a well-rounded and immersive sonic environment that is a delight for the ears, the mind, and the soul.

The record is not only a marvel of composition and performance, but also of arrangement, instrumentation, and orchestration, all of which are done masterfully. In addition to Esteban’s guitars, the music comprises synthesizers (Esteban), piano and keyboards (Roger Subirana), violin (Sandra Lopez), flutes (Paula Campos, Carlos Calvo), and clarinet (Santiago Puente), with Nacho Serrano on bass guitar, Cristobal Caballero on double bass, and Mario Sanjuan on drums.


The melodies are beautiful and elegant, and Esteban’s pitch-perfect guitar playing is straightforward and accessible in service of the album’s overall light and pleasant pop sound. His note picking and chord strumming are palpable and poignant, thanks especially to the visceral sound mix.


This is one of the best guitar albums ever produced and recorded. It is soothing and refreshing and also a great showcase for the virtuosity of all of the musicians involved, especially under the steady hand of Esteban.


--Raj Manoharan

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