With a musical career spanning more than three decades, Al Di Meola continues to be one of the most influential and pioneering guitarists in the jazz-world-fusion category, mirroring the rich influences of flamenco, tango, Brazilian, African, and Middle Eastern music in his work. Recorded in 1993 at the North Sea Jazz Festival, an event widely acknowledged as the biggest and most prestigious festival in the world. Over the past 30 years, Al Di Meola has been recognized as a prolific composer, with over two dozen recordings to his name. The profundity of Di Meola s writing, along with the soulfulness and natural lyricism of his playing, have won him a large number of admirers worldwide.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection
I like Di Meola's music and trying to see and hear him live at any possibility (to be honest, during last some years he is very regular in our side of Europe).And I like his different music - perfect early electric jazz-fusion albums, and later world -fusion with "World Sinfonia".
This album is real transition one. After some excellent electric fusion albums and one not very successful "Splendido Hotel" trying to change things, Al Di Meola returned back to his roots. But only in part.
Loose and spontaneous, this (mainly) live album is a meeting of three of the greatest guitarists in the world for an acoustic summit the likes of which the guitar-playing community rarely sees. Broken up into three duo and two trio performances, Friday Night in San Francisco catches all three players at the peaks of their quite formidable powers.
Now that the whole Return to Forever reunion experience is in his rearview mirror (and unlikely to be repeated ever again), guitar star Al Di Meola is pursuing his own musical vision with newfound conviction via his World Sinfonia. Essentially an acoustic ensemble featuring Fausto Beccalossi on accordion and Di Meola’s longtime collaborator Gumbi Ortiz on cajon and assorted hand percussion, along with second guitarist Peo Alfonsi, bassist Victor Miranda and drummer Peter Kaszas, this edition of the World Sinfonia has developed a tightly knit chemistry through frequent touring. This limited-edition release, the first in a series of live recordings being sold initially at World Sinfonia gigs, documents their easy rapport in concerts held in Seattle, San Francisco and Istanbul.
Despite the aggression its title implies, Kiss My Axe is the work of a softer, more reflective Al di Meola, who had become greatly influenced by Pat Metheny's subtle lyricism, but still had a very recognizable and distinctive sound. Di Meola's new approach was perfectly summarized when, in 1991, he told Jazz Times he wanted to be "enchanted" by the music instead of dazzling listeners with his considerable chops. Di Meola still has fine technique, but avoids overwhelming us with it, and shows more restraint than before.
Too some, Al di Meola is best known for is shredding guitar work as part of Return to Forever, and also his early solo albums. But di Meola has always had an interest in flamenco styled acoustic playing ("Mediterranean Sundance" off of Elegant Gypsy, anyone?) – which is the six-string style that he fully embraces on his 2007 release, Diabolic Inventions and Seduction for Solo Guitar, Vol. 1: Music of Astor Piazzolla. Like its title says, the album is comprised solely of renditions of tunes by Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla, who is best known for trailblazing the nuevo tango style (which contained traces of both jazz and classical). And di Meola has no problem offering up a fine tribute, especially on such tracks as "Campero" and "Romantico."
Fusion firebrand Al Di Meola continues his passion of the 1990s, compositions written and inspired by Astor Piazzolla. With the virtuosity of his playing, Di Meola is often overlooked as a composer, and The Grande Passion underscores what a fine composer he is. String arrangements color "Double Concerto," the title track, and several other pieces, but Di Meola hardly needs orchestral frills to legitimize his already epic compositions. The guitarist has slipped from critical prominence since the days of Return to Forever, Splendido Hotel, but Di Meola spent the 1990s doing some of his best work with his World Sinfonia group and The Grande Passion starts the new millennium in fine form.