Grammy nominee Ottmar Liebert and his band Luna Negra are coming to Key West to celebrate their latest release and delight fans with “The Complete Santa Fe Sessions.”
A five-time Grammy nominee who has sold millions of records across the globe, Leibert is skilled practitioner of contemporary flamenco guitar. Always filled with surprises, his performances incorporate a lot of textures that contrast traditional and electric instruments.
Liebert and his band will play songs from prior albums as well as new numbers from “The Complete Santa Fe Sessions.”
“Coming home after a tour with Luna Negra XL in 2001, I recorded the music we had been playing live with that eight-piece band, songs that had previously been released on the albums ‘Nouveau Flamenco.’ ‘Borrasca.’ ‘The Hours Between Night + Day’ and ‘Opium.’”
To these big band versions he added two new pieces — “Song 4 Pablo” and “São Paulo” — and in 2003 released a selection of 12 tracks under the album title “The Santa Fe Sessions.”
In 2010 the band re-worked 13 of the songs for a new release simply called “Santa Fe.”
“For reasons I cannot explain, I was never really happy with either of these two albums,” he told me. “Then in the fall of 2017, I went into my studio in Santa Fe and on a whim pulled up the music of ‘Song 4 Pablo.’ I radically edited the song, muting every track except for my guitars and Jon’s upright bass. I loved the resulting sound and during the next few months I worked with each of the pieces we had recorded in 2001 until I had new mixes of all 15 tracks.
“Perhaps this is the album I wanted to make, but couldn’t get right. Or perhaps the years that passed gave me a different perspective that allowed me to tackle the project in a new way.
“In any case, I love this new album.”
Speaking about his previous release, ‘Slow’, Ottmar says:
Sometime in 2015 Liebert decided to record by himself, without the band. He wanted to create slow music.
“I wanted to raise my guitar against the sound of billions of smartphones beeping with the latest news, mentions, likes and comments that keep us in a state of constant alarm.
“I also discovered that there has been scientific research into how slow music can relax the listener’s heartbeat and lower their blood pressure.”
He made all of the music on the new album with just one guitar and one microphone.
“Working by myself in the studio felt like writing a very personal diary,” he said. “For example, I recorded ‘Elegy’ just a day after Prince died.”
This is the beauty of instrumental music: Like the description of a tree in a book that requires your imagination so it can take form in your mind, instrumental music can take on different shapes and colors, depending on your experiences.
Leibert was ordained as a Zen monk in 2009.
“Playing guitar is a practice,” he said. “So is zazen. I have played guitar since I was 11 and sat in meditation since I was 15. The two practices are so connected in my mind, that I can’t tell where one stops and the other starts.” ¦
Ottmar Liebert Nov. 7, 8 p. m. Key West Theater 512 Eaton St. www.lunanegra.com