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mwe3

"Guitarist Jim Stubblefield came to the attention of mwe3.com with his playing in the guitar trio Incendio. Taking some time out from Incendio, in 2015 Jim released his sixth solo guitar masterpiece entitled Encantado. It’s a solo CD in the sense that Jim's guitar is front and center and his music is the prime focus here. With Jim playing all the steel string acoustic guitars, Spanish guitar, 6 and 7 string electric guitars and the synthesizers, there’s a number of fine players backing him up throughout the ten track album. Enhanced by the fine co-production of Jim and Bo Astrup, the Encantado CD features stellar support and backing from Ramon Yslas (drums), Randy Tico (bass), Novi Novog (violin and viola), Moksha Sommer (vocals) as well as added Spanish guitar work by Mark Barnwell and Eric Hansen. Speaking to mwe3.com about his innovative guitar sounds in the following interview, Jim explains, "With Encantado, I immediately set out to do music that would engage the listener on more than a casual level. I also wanted to get away from the strong Latin guitar sound that has been associated with me. I have always loved other styles of instrumental music - Celtic, classical, Arabic, jazz fusion, etc. It's music that is hard to put in a box. I'll let the critics and listeners categorize me, but for now I'll just write stuff and hope people enjoy what I'm doing." With its stunning crossection of Nuevo-flamenco, World Beat jazz, neo-classical guitar sounds and superb recording techniques, Encantado is Jim Stubblefield’s best solo album yet and is one of the most intriguing guitar recordings of 2015."

20th CENTURY GUITAR

"California-based guitar trio Incendio are one of the hottest acts on the nuevo flamenco guitar scene and one third of the band, guitarist Jim Stubblefield has a solo career that's well worth checking out. On his fourth solo CD from 2007, Guitarra Exotica, Stubblefield is backed up by bass, violin and percussion. The sound on Guitarra Exotica is expertly recorded acoustic flamenco with added sounds from South American and even Afro-Cuban music genres. Having grown up listening to jazz icon John Coltrane and nylon string classical guitar legend Segovia, Stubblefield keeps his musical palette brimming with stirring instrumental guitar-based ideas."

ALL MUSIC GUIDE

"Californian guitarist/composer Jim Stubblefield is one of the rising stars of the nuevo flamenco movement, joining the passion of traditional flamenco with contemporary elements like South American rhythms and Afro-Cuban jazz. His 1994 debut November introduced his signature blend of world-beat, new age, jazz and rock, using electric and acoustic guitar textures for a contemporary feel. Cities of Gold arrived a year later, and 1999 saw the release of Rhythm of the Heart which also featured the Jim Stubblefield Group, the guitarist's touring band since 1995."

IKON.SE

"On his solo album are melodies that speak and he shows that he is a dazzling guitarist. For this new release "Inspiración" is actually hard to stop listening to. It is beautiful."

HFP PORTAL

"The American-born musician, Jim Stubblefield made a very remarkable guitar album recently. The result is a burner over high heat..."

ROCKTIMES.DE

"...there is also always music that works like a charm from the first note and after the first piece, one is hopelessly in love with this music. ...the compositions have substance and depth and often develop the energy of a brilliant jam session. The three musicians seem to work together telepathically. Every break, every melody line is unmistakably in the right place in the overall sound."

ROCKNETWEBZINE.COM

"Okay, why am I reviewing a flamenco guitarist on a rock and metal webzine? Well, because sometimes I come across stuff that is beautiful, inspiring, and strikes a chord with me. And also because I find a lot of rock and metal fans and even musicians like other types of music in addition to their main passion. And because we're all bettered by the music we listen to. I came across this guy and listened to his music and it's awesome stuff. This is his first solo release in a decade and he's traveled all over the world and has been inspired by the music he's come into contact with. He's also one of those people you can't apply a label to because he plays such a variety of different music. This guy's music is well composed and excellently played and produced. All of the compositions take you on a mystical carpet ride through Latin America, Spain, and even the Middle East. He understands and respects different cultures and he takes you along on an experience that is mind blowing and that you won't forget soon. This is your ticket to world travel on a sonic level. Enjoy the trip."

SOUTHWEST BLEND

"Jim Stubblefield’s latest solo album ‘Guitarra Exotica’ is a delectable feast for all of your senses that stirs with passion, evokes mysticism, and kindles the human spirit. You’ll literally feel the wind blow through your hair as ‘Guitarra Exotica’ sweeps you off your feet and takes you on a magical carpet ride that journeys through the heart of South America’s rainforests, relaxes in a quaint Spanish village, glides across a vibrant desert sunset, and lands amidst a colorful gypsy gathering. Stubblefield’s roaming spirit and respect for other cultures resonates through all of the songs on his album, as they cross borders offering listeners a taste of tradition infused with his visionary creativity that is truly ‘exotic’. From the passionate ‘Gitana Mora’ to the beautiful La Selva Negra, and from the soothing ‘The Mystic’s Dream’ to the flirtatious ‘A Gypsy’s Kiss’, you can hear the attention to detail yet feel the open melodic and rhythmic flow of the stellar the musicianship of ‘Guitarra Exotica’ that features Jim Stubblefield on nylon and steel string acoustic guitar, and electric guitar; Ruben Ramos and Randy Tico on bass; Bryan Brock on percussion; and famed violinist Novi Novog."

FOLK WORKS ONLINE

"This is very nice stuff. Jim Stubblefield plays sizzling flamenco-infused guitar, with extra helpings of steam. Who knew that this level of intense, sexy energy could come from a nylon string acoustic guitar? But Stubblefield can play him some fine tunes, hey. I have to confess, I didn't expect to like this as much as I do. The slickly packaged CD shows a hunky young blond rock & roll surfer-looking dude, and has a credit line for his makeup artist. Makeup?? And it was recorded in Castaic. Castaic?? Well, looks can be deceiving, and as it turns out Jim Stubblefield really does have a thing or two to offer here.

Yes, Guitarra Exotica's take on flamenco definitely has a rocker's sensibility, but living in LA, and exposed to all the great sounds available in this musical melting pot ... how could it not? So, melt it does, like burning, swirling lava that just keeps rolling through, becoming more intense the closer you come to it. There are lots of good flamenco musicians around. What makes Stubblefield stand out is the way he melds his excellent guitar skills (he's a GIT grad) with a solid feel for flamenco passions and modalities, and an LA urbanite's spot on sense of sound and pacing in this recording.

Stubblefield's sound here is well supported by Ruben Ramos and Randy Tico alternating on bass, Bryan Brock on percussion, and Novi Novog on viola. They provide a sensual grounding layer from which Stubblefield's skilled flamenco inventions can soar. To hear some of Guitarra Exotica you can check out Jim Stubblefield's CDBaby page (CDBaby.com/cd/jstubblefield2) which has samples from all the cuts of this album. Alternatively, his My Space (www.myspace.com/jimstubblefield) page has less selections, but they are full cuts not excerpts. The MySpace page also has his tour schedule, which lists a couple of upcoming California dates.

I couldn't find any video of Jim with his Guitarra Exotica band, but YouTube has a number of entries for him with Incendio, another of his flamenco-on-steroids projects. This album is a great example of how genres evolve, merge, and inform each other. Stubblefield's amalgam of flamenco sounds and stylings, with pop pacing and support, is a winner. Definitely worth checking it out." Barry Smiler is a former touring musician, retired concert producer, and all around great guy. In his doddering senescence he still retains a few opinions, and occasionally offers them in places like this."

Minor 7th

"I often wonder why mainstream guitarists often fail to laud the credibility deserved to Nuevo Flamenco guitarists such as Johannes Linstead or Strunz & Farah. Their recordings have found a loyal audience among upscale listeners but are often snubbed by musicians who regularly play jazz, blues, rock and classical. Jim Stubblefiled may be the artist to open their minds. His CD "Encantado" is filled with the kind of fiery runs whch are the trademark of Al Di Meola or Paco de Lucia. The latin-infused passion of his playing is authentic, not at all contrived in contrast to the polished, perfect production. I would challenge any smug detractor to duplicate Stubblefield's playing - that smugness would quickly evaporate."

Zone Music Reporter

GUITARIST JIM STUBBLEFIELD STRETCHES THE LATIN-STYLE GENRE TO INCLUDE MORE

"Jim Stubblefield is known as one of the finest Latin-style acoustic guitarists around, especially when he is touring with or recording with the band Incendio, which he co-founded. But besides his eight albums with that group, he also has six excellent solo recordings, the newest being Encantado, named after the legendary Amazonian boto encantado pink dolphins (they are real, but the myths surrounding them are incredible). When Stubblefield does a solo project, it gives him a chance to stretch out even further than the high-flying Incendio do. This new album is a perfect example because, even though there is Latin-style nylon-string guitar throughout, Stubblefield also plays some acoustic steel-string and, even more impressive, soars on electric in a few places.

 

In addition to his stellar guitar-playing and melodic song-writing, Stubblefield is an excellent arranger and producer, and is smart enough to surround himself with top-flight musicians. These include violist Novi Novog (who has hundreds of amazing credits, but will always be known for turning The Doobie Brothers’ “Black Water” hit into solid gold), bassist Randy Tico (one of the best Latin-style bassists in music, just ask Strunz & Farah), and percussionist/drummer Ramon Yslas (a much in demand session mainstay in world, jazz and pop music). On a couple of pieces the singer Moksha Sommer (from the group HuDost) adds some tasteful wordless vocalizations.

 

Since fans have swarmed to Stubblefield because of Latin-stylizations over the years, he gives listeners plenty of that (“Puesta del Sol” is right in the pocket). But he also pushes out that envelope to include hints and flavors of Arabic (“Beyond the Horizon”), Celtic (“Highland Dreams”), Middle Eastern (“Odyssey of Fire”), progressive-rock (the nine-minute “Phrygian Suite, Op. 1”), and neo-classical (“Terra e Sole”).

 

Perhaps this recording signals the dawn of a new era of Latin-style guitar where it co-mingles with a variety of other instruments and styles, but always retaining its warmth, passion and wonderful rhythmic-melodic yin-yang bonding. And Jim Stubblefield proves here he is just the musician to make this happen as he spreads quality entertainment each step of the way."

 

Rating: Excellent 

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