German guitarist, composer, and producer Ottmar Liebert rose to success in the 1990s with his Spanish-influenced, easy listening instrumental music that he initially described as "Nouveau Flamenco." Born in Cologne, West Germany, Liebert spent much of his youth traveling around Europe and Asia with his parents. After picking up the guitar at age 11, he developed an early interest in flamenco music, although it was a career in rock that would initially bring him to the United States. After plying his trade for a few years in Boston's early-'80s rock scene, he eventually settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where began to develop the instrumental guitar sound that would soon vault him to the top of the new age charts. A self-released album called Marita: Shadows and Storms, under the name Luna Negra, was released in 1989 and sold at a local Native American art gallery in Santa Fe. The album found favor on local radio and soon drew the interest of Higher Octave Music, which re-released it the following year under the title Nouveau Flamenco and bearing Liebert's own name. It was an immediate success, eventually going double-platinum in the U.S. and propelling Liebert into the spotlight as a new age star. Over the coming decade, he would sell millions of albums and earn Grammy nominations for releases like 1991's Borrasca, 1993's The Hours Between Night & Day, and 1996's Opium.
Over the years, Liebert's style would continue to develop, fusing jazz, classical, pop, and Latin into his own distinctive mix. After many years with Epic Records, Liebert returned to the Higher Octave label, releasing 2002's In the Arms of Love: Lullabies 4 Children & Adults. 2005 saw the release of Winter Rose, his second holiday-themed release, which was followed a year later by the solo guitar album One Guitar, earning him yet another Grammy nomination. For 2008's Up Close, Liebert recorded the album in binaural surround sound. That same year, The Scent of Light earned him yet another Grammy nod. He continued recording prolifically into the next decade, issued albums like 2011's Santa Fe, 2012's Dune, and 2014's three-oh-five. A new anthology released that same year called Bare Wood collected many of his best recordings from 2002-2012. 2015's Waiting N Swan continued his evolution mixing tango and flamenco styles with reggae beats. ~ Timothy Monger