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 and the guitar trio with John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia, 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.
The sticker on the disc's cover states that this is "a return to his solid-body electric guitar," and while that may be true in parts, Consequence of Chaos is still pretty far from the tense, nonstop electric sizzle of di Meola's first three albums, which are landmarks in the jazz fusion genre. And while there is plenty of electric guitar here - and a musical reconnection with Chick Corea, Steve Gadd, and Barry Miles, all of whom have previously worked with di Meola - this is still dominated by the world music and more subtle framework that have characterized the guitarist's playing for the last few decades. The performances are uniformly excellent, and even though the approach shifts from prog to acoustic to electric and world, di Meola's distinctive style and classy approach congeal the music with authority…
For who hasn't heard of Andrea Parodi before, he was the lead singer of a folk-pop group (Tazenda) that had a brief moment of success in Italy in the early 90s. His unique voice and the folk themes sung in Sardinian make him more belonging to world music. In this album Al di meola rediscovers the european and mainly Spanish influences that are very evident on Friday Night in SF. The quality of the recording, taking into account that it's a live album, is excellent and remarkable.
Latin music has been a strong influence on Al Di Meola since his early years, and in the '90s, he paid especially close attention to the music of Argentina. A welcome addition to his already impressive catalog, Di Meola Plays Piazzolla pays homage to the late Argentine tango master Astor Piazzolla (whose distinctive and very poetic brand of romanticism was considered quite daring and radical in Argentina). It would have been easy for an artist to allow his own personality to become obscured when saluting Piazzolla's legacy, but the charismatic Di Meola is too great an improviser to let that happen. Though his reverence for Piazzolla comes through loud and clear on these haunting classics, there's no mistaking the fact that this is very much an Al Di Meola project.
Al Laurence Di Meola is an American jazz, jazz fusion, and world music guitarist. Albums such as Friday Night in San Francisco have earned him both critical and commercial success with fans throughout the world.
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.