1981 Manuel Reyes Negra
Back and sides: Rosewood
Price: Please inquire
This is one of the most satisfying Reyes Negras to come through the shop since the 02 Negra of Coral that recently sold. Besides being a great Reyes Negra it has an incredible story. It is owned by a friend of mine who lives in Spain and who has helped me locate many fine Reyes over the years. When he found this one he simply refused to let me have it for the shop, it was just too good! After enjoying it for a few years however he decided to sell it only to help fund the Flamenco arts school he wishes to start in Spain, so the new owner of this guitar will have the double pleasure of owning a fine Reyes with a most interesting history, as well as helping a fellow lover of Flamenco establish a new Flamenco School! Nice. This Reyes is one of those great guitars that we all run into from time to time that needs about 20 minutes of playing to 'wake up' to it's full potential, and when she does, hold on! Capo the 3rd and snap out a bulerias and hold on to your chair, fire off some rasquados and they are crisp and clean, it has many qualities of a Reyes Blanca but with more complexity of tone, just wonderful...There is one small well repaired crack on the top and at some point it was repolished on the top with absolutely no sanding whatsoever according to the current owner.
As for the history, my friend wrote me the following word for word:
"The inside of the top bears the signature of one of the most famous bullfighters "El Cordobes". He had ordered the guitar to give it to El Curri a famous gipsy guitar player at the time in Cordoba. So the guitar has a romantic history background as well.
Before I bought the guitar I went to Reyes workshop in Cordoba with the former owner to make sure everything is allright with the guitar.
Manuel padre seemed to be emotionally moved when he saw the guitar and remembered the story of this guitar:
In the late seventies Manuel Benitez "El Cordobes" was a a celebrity and the hippest bullfighter in the scene.
One day he decided he wanted to learn flamenco guitar.
So he became friends with the hippest flamenco player in Cordoba at the time "El Curri" and asked him to be his teacher.
El Curri was on tour with paco de Lucia and he was also Vicente Amigos teacher for a while.
There are many videos in youtube now with Curri "El Corodobes de la guitarra" and his son.
He was sucessful in the USA with a version of Frank Sinatras My Way too.
El Cordobes was a generous man so he decided he wanted to give a present to his guitar teacher.
They went to Reyes workshop together and ordered two guitars made of the best materials spruce and rosewood.
Reyes said he felt flatterd by this order and really put very much care and love in it when he constructed those two guitars.
He used the best spruce and rosewood he had "gran reserva" as he expressed it with a twinkle.
Both guitars resulted to be exeptionally good when he finished them but one of them was a bit better so he gave it to the musician and the other one went to the torero.
A rich lawyer and collector of guitars owns the bullfighters guitar now.
El Curri kept his guitar for almost thirty years until two years ago when he had to sell it.
Before Reyes put the guitars together the tops were signed inside by the bullfighter and Manuel Reyes.
Reyes said when he saw my guitar after such a long time that in his opinion it's one of the best guitars he has ever made.
Anyone can check this: Just ask him about "El Curri's" guitar which is signed by "El Cordobes" who received the title of "kalifa" the highest honor which can be bestowed on anyone by his city of birth Cordoba some time ago.
This is the name of the former owner of my guitar:
son of an important gipsy musician's family in Cordoba
nickname: "El Curry" (El Curri)
and "El Cordobes de la guitarra"
You can find quite a few videos with him now on youtube (even with this guitar).
Mainly from his glorious past when he did recordings and television sessions with orchestra. (In Spain, USA and South America)
His picado is breathtaking .....
He was on tour with Paco de Lucia in the seventies and he was the teacher of Vicente Amigo for a while.
Today he is still a legend in Cordoba."
Absolutely fabulous Reyes, one of his best by his own admission, and with a history so rich too, a once in a lifetime opportunity for some lucky player.