NYT reports: Paco de Lucía, Flamenco Guitarist, Dies at 66
Paco de Lucía, who was born into a musical family and grew up to become one of the world’s greatest guitarists, mastering flamenco music and finding new audiences by blending it with jazz and other genres, died on Wednesday in Mexico. He was 66.
He died on his way to the hospital after feeling sick while playing on a beach in Cancún, according to an official from the city hall of Algeciras, his native port city in southern Spain...
...Born on Dec. 21, 1947, Mr. de Lucía grew up in a musical family and aspired to play the guitar from childhood after receiving his first lessons from his father. He won an international flamenco competition when he was 14. Shortly thereafter, he made his first recording, “Los Chiquitos de Algeciras,” with his brother Ramón, who also played guitar.
He took his stage name from the fact that his Gypsy neighborhood was full of children called Paco (short for Francisco), so that he was generally referred to as “the Paco of Lucía,” his mother’s name. the mayor's office in Algeciras, southern Spain, where he was born.
Read on at the NYT: Paco de Lucía, Flamenco Guitarist, Dies at 66
A statement from de Lucia’s family published on the websites of Spanish newspapers said it best:
“Paco lived as he wished and died playing with his children beside the sea”
A 1994 Guitar Player article quoted him as providing these biographical details about his childhood:
"My family grew up with the Gypsies. My father and all my brothers played guitar, so before I picked it up, before I could speak, I was listening. Before I started to play, I knew every rhythm of the flamenco. I knew the feeling and the meaning of the music, so when I started to play, I went directly to the sound I had in my ear."
Having made his name with flamenco, he crossed over into classical and jazz guitar. His partnership with fellow guitarists, John McLaughlin of Britain and Al Di Meola of the United States brought him adulation as one of the best guitarists ever in any genre
Although some flamenco purists decried his infusing the traditional art form with jazz, bossa nova, classical and salsa influences, de Lucia remained rooted to flamenco no matter what he played.
In 1981 he formed his own sextet, and his high-profile collaborations included work with guitarist Larry Coryell, and pianist Chick Corea, who joined Paco’s sextet for the album “Zyryah” in 1990.