Rhythm of the Heart
BACKGROUND: RHYTHM OF THE HEART was recorded by the JIM STUBBLEFIELD GROUP in 1998 and features Michael Peters (flamenco guitar), Steve Hong (bass), and Jeff Packman (drums). The CD was a semi-finalist in the New Age Voice Magazine (NAV) 'Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year' category for 1999. Jim's music also appears on Neurodisc's PURE FLAMENCO: NUEVO FLAMENCO PASSION compilation along with such artists as Ottmar Liebert, Govi, and Eric Hansen. Jim is a founding member of the Latin guitar oriented world music group INCENDIO. Their recordings, MISTERIOSO (2000), ILLUMINATION (2001), and INTIMO (2003), have gone on to sell tens of thousands nationally and have charted in Billboard, NAV and CMJ. REVIEWS: 'The Jim Stubblefield Group's album, Rhythm of the Heart, is an imminently listenable nuevo flamenco/adult contemporary instrumental recording that goes down very smoothly. The music is accessible, likable, and infectious. Jim plays a mean acoustic guitar and the other group members (second guitar, drums/percussion, and bass) play with authority and conviction. This group is tight - very tight. Something tells me these guys play together a lot. There is real camaraderie at work here and it's a lot of fun to listen to. Michael Peters is the other guitar player and his guitar is miked into the right channel, while Jim's is in the left channel. This produces some startling imaging fireworks on a good stereo system. The CD itself is engineered flawlessly. I won't tell you that the quasi-flamenco music on Rhythm of the Heart is exceptionally original, but it is a nice blend of traditional Spanish textures with a more contemporary approach to melody. It's hard to pin down what I mean but it's there nonetheless. Starting off with the mid-tempo romantic title cut, the Spanish elements are present in full-force. There is a lilting flamenco beat and fiery spirit to the music. 'Sombra' is more sultry, as it's rhythm is slower and the music has an element of heat to it. 'Agua Azul' (Blue Water, if my Spanish is still worth it's salt) is light-hearted and sunny-sparkly. The two guitars circle each other in a lively dance, while the rhythm section keeps up a nice fast tempo undercurrent. 'Temple of the Sun,' while certainly having it's flamenco elements, also has a solid AC feel to it as well. The rhythm is at a relaxed gallop pace, so to speak, and the mood is mysterious. It's one of the best songs on this solid album. 'Conscious' is the one oddity on the CD, since it's best described as 'flamenco-funky' with an overemphasized bottom and a sexy slower beat. There is even an element of the blues to this number - and that, of course, sits just fine with me! Obviously, Rhythm of the Heart will appeal most to fans of artists like Ottmar Liebert or other nuevo flamenco players. However, I'd suggest that fans of guitarists like Chris Spheeris and Jamie Bonk give it a listen too. While Jim Stubblefield eschews the use of anything but minimal keyboards, the musicianship and compositions on this album warrant a lot more attention than relegating it to world music fans alone.' - Wind & Wire Magazine.
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