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Al Di Meola has been a contrast in terms of music. He has taken his guitar into various streams with different levels of success. His playing has been marked with a gentle lyrical air just as it has been infiltrated with an abundance of technique; the latter at times at the expense of an emotional connect. The two performances captured here show both sides. The first is a solo acoustic set, the second finds him with Chris Carrington on guitar and Arto Tuncboyacian on percussion and vocals, the trio known as World Sinfonia.
Di Meola stamps his signature runs and clarion clean notes with "Shadow Vertigo" churning little eddies that never swirl out of context. The medley however, is a mixed bag. There are moments that elevate but there are also lengthy progressions that do little in the way of communication. Art is limited if it does not stoke a responsive chord. He gets back on track with "Etude" with its gentle musings. Overall, though, there is little passion triggered in the listener. The photography of this set is to be commended. There are effective long shots and some excellent super impositions.
The second concert does little to enhance involvement. The trio is tight-knit and the music evolves seamlessly but the rainbow of colours is a pretty artefact that does not leave an indelible impress. Even Astor Piazzolla's "Tango Suite" goes nowhere with its bland incantation. The one strong presence is Arto Tuncboyacian with his vocals that add a stimulating dimension.
Track Listing: 1986: Vertigo Shadow; Medley: Orient Blue Suite, Passion, Grace & Fire, Atavsim of Twilight, Enigma of Desire, Cielo E Terra; Etude; Capoeira 1993: Indigo; No Mystery; Tango Suite
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.