Rodrigo y Gabriela

Live in Japan

Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero are wizards with acoustic guitars. Their fingers—sometimes quicker than the eye—move over the strings with precision and fluidity. They hail from Latin America, so the tendency to label their music “flamenco” is natural … just don’t do it when they’re around. They prefer “fusion” as a moniker: “It’s mainly got Latin harmonies and rhythms, but the structure is rock. It’s not jazz because it’s structured, and we don’t improvise.” Fair enough. By any name, the licks Rodrigo y Gabriela unleash on Live in Japan are fierce. Most come from a gig this March at Tokyo’s Duo Club, plus some earlier recordings. The CD/DVD set works just as well for Rod & Gab novices as for aficionados—just when you’re sure what’s coming next, they electronically bend the sound or reinvent a riff. Think you know “Stairway to Heaven”? Not if you haven’t heard this version. Live in Japan won’t please everyone, but for connoisseurs of fine guitar, this set is vintage.