A high point of the Moroccan music festival is without doubt the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco. Al Di Meola’s fantastic appearance in 2009 also represented a summit of different cultures and religions – Al Di Meola (guitar), Peo Alfonsi (2nd guitar), Fausto Beccalossi (accordion), Gumbi Ortiz (percussion), Victor Miranda (bass), Peter Kaszas (drums), and with special guests from Morocco, Said Chraibi (oud), Abdellah Meri (violin) and Tarik Ben Ali (percussion). On his third trip to Morocco, the public gave this exceptional guitarist a rousing reception and showed ist openness towards Western music – and Al Di Meola wowed the audience with a special repertoire.
Al Di Meola (nee Al Dimeola) certainly has come along way from his native New Jersey to the stage of the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco, where this DVD was filmed on May 20, 2009. But there’s no need to question why. In modern jazz circles, Di Meola is among the most respected guitarists in the world, with lightening speed fingers playing in scale style.
One has been repeatedly hailed as the world's best guitarist, the other is Russia's most successful musician. And together, Al Di Meola and Leonid Agutin are simply unbeatable. For their DVD "Cosmopolitan Live", the two have created a unique sound, giving crossover a new dimension. Is this sophisticated pop for adults, then? Or popular world music? No matter, the sounds created by this fantastic duo will seduce every music-lover. Dreamily beautiful pop tunes meld with Russian jazz, Gypsy rhythms and Argentinian tango.
If you're an air guitarist, Al di Meola has likely been your man since his days as an unknown 21-year-old addition to Chick Corea's Return to Forever in the mid-'70s. Over the years since leaving RTF, he has been afforded the opportunity to record regularly, and this CD represents a good overview of his discography, primarily for the Columbia family of labels. His early dates Land of the Midnight Sun, Elegant Gypsy, and Casino are well represented, in addition to his collaborations with Jan Hammer on Tour de Force: Live. His middle-period efforts are not all that vital, as repeat ideas and predictable flash lost their original value even to the staunchest fans, therefore making this collection less than essential.
Two years after they recorded Friday Night in San Francisco, John McLaughlin, Al di Meola and Paco de Lucía reunited for another set of acoustic guitar trios, Passion, Grace and Fire, If this can be considered a guitar "battle" (some of the playing is ferocious and these speed demons do not let up too often), then the result is a three-way tie…