Al Di Meola
Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (Concord, 2011)
One of the great American guitarists of our time, Al Di Meola, has a superb new album titled Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody. In recent years, Al Di Meola has focused a lof of his attention on the music of Astor piazzolla and his contemporary vision of tango. Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody includes some of those tango influences. However, the album goes in other fascinating directions.
Fans of Return to Forever will recognize influences. Di Meola participated in the Return to Forever reunion tour of 2008. There are also many elements of flamenco and even two excellent covers of pop classics. I’m not a fan of covers of pop songs by jazz musicians or classical musicians. However, Di Meola reworks The Beatles’ “Strawberry fields forever’ in an exquisite fashion and turns the normally sappy “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” into a fine instrumental piece.
The current Di Meola Quartet includes Al Di Meola on guitar, Kevin Seddiki on guitar, Italian accordion master Fausto Beccalossi; and Peter Kaszas on drums.
Fausto Beccalossi was born in Castenedolo (Brescia) and is considered one of the top chromatic fisarmonica (accordion) players. On Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody, Beccalossi’s accordion and Di Meola’s nylon string acoustic guitar engage in dazzling call-and-response interactions.
In addition to his band, Al Di Meola is joined on the album by additional world class musicians, including virtuoso American bassist Charlie Haden, renowned Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, former Weather Report drummer Peter Erskine, the Sturcz String Quartet, percussionist Mino Cinelu and keyboardist Barry Miles.
Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody is a passionate and memorable album devoted to the rich sounds of the acoustic and electric guitars. The album release will be followed by an extensive world tour 2011.
- In North America: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody, Elegant Gypsy, He & Carmen, Land of the Midnight Sun, Splendido Hotel, Kiss My Axe, Consequence of Chaos, Flesh on Flesh, La Melodia Live in Milano, Casino, Friday Night in San Francisco – Live, Christmas: Winter Nights, The Guitar Trio, Infinite Desire
- In Europe: Land of the Midnight Sun, Elegant Gypsy, Friday Night in San Francisco, ‘The Guitar Trio’, One Night in Montreal