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Flamenco Guitar Master Paco de Lucía Dies at 66

His collaborations with John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola expanded the genre’s reach

Paco de Lucia
Paco De Lucia in performance at 2012 Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Festival

Paco de Lucía, the influential and virtuosic Spanish flamenco guitarist who expanded the music’s reach into other genres including jazz and classical, died this morning in Cancun, Mexico. The cause was a heart attack; de Lucía was 66.

De Lucía was a master of traditional forms of flamenco but much of his renown was due to his adventurousness, taking flamenco guitar beyond its role as accompaniment for singers and fusing it with other styles. His collaborative recordings with jazz artists brought him his widest recognition: In 1979, de Lucía, John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell formed the Guitar Trio, which recorded one album, and that name was retained after Al Di Meola replaced Coryell; in 1981 that lineup recorded a live album, Friday Night in San Francisco, that reportedly sold over a million copies.

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