Ottmar Liebert, Jesse Cook, Lara & Reyes -- all have their place in modern flamenco music. But something about these guys sets them apart. Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah are in top form, with their own label, Selva, and a disc that is an easygoing rival for their two Mesa classics and previous, pre-stardom releases. Ten seconds of the opening fireball, "Jardin," or the slow-building brushfire of "La Tinaja," and listeners are back in familiar territory, with the chemistry carrying complex improvisational refrains within a deceptively simple melodic structure. Then each will split off like a buzzing bumblebee eager to find its way back to the hive. Long John Oliva's percussion ensures that no toes will be still for long, but fortunately there are a few spots of slow-dance relief to avoid possible exotic heart attacks. The best of these is the brooding "Dark Fire," which features the violin wrappings of Charlie Bisharat (who should have been used more). This collection takes a few listens before each individual tune emerges from the plucky multiculturalism, but it's every bit as soul-piercing as their previous work. ~ Jonathan Widran
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