Pioneering fusion of rock and jazz more than 25 years ago, guitarist/composer/arranger Al Di Meola continues to bring his special brand of music to the recording studio. For his third CD for the Telarc label, the electric guitarist has put together a play of list of eight melodies, five of which he wrote. One of the more interesting is "Innamorata" which features jagged rhythms interspersed among long lyrical lines produced by a wide variety of instruments, including different guitar models supplied by Di Meola. Di Meola continues to favor the songs of tango master, Astor Piazzolla with the inclusion of the Argentine's "Fugata" where Di Meola not only plays acoustic guitar (!), but his first instrument as well, the drums. In 1990, the guitarist devoted an entire album to Piazzolla. The presence of sensuality, pain and romance inherent in this composer's work is replaced here by highly stylized rhythmic patterns, captured in their passionate fullness by Di Meola. This session is enhanced by the presence of several top flight artists from this jazz genre that Di Meola has brought with him into the studio. Among the most notable is Gonzalo Rubalcaba whose fender Rhodes is important on "Zona Desperata" as well as "Fugata". Another major contributor is percussionist Gumbi Ortiz whose rhythmic electricity shows up on several cuts. A front line of flute, two alto saxophones and trumpet are the highlights of a haunting, exotic and sometimes very busy, "Zona Desperata".
Di Meola is still fusing, but the components are not the same as they were a quarter of century ago. They are more varied and cosmopolitan now. He can be visited on at the web at www.aldimeola.com.
Track Listing: Zona Desperata; Innamorata; Meninas; Flesh on Flesh; Fugata; Deep and Madly; Saffire Soleil; Se
Personnel: Al Di Meola - Acoustic & Electric Guitars/Cymbals/Drums; Gonzalo Rubalcaba - Fender Rhodes; Anthony Jackson - Electric Bass; Gumbi Ortiz - Percussion/Congas/Cajone; Mario Parmisano - Piano/Synths/Marimba/Calliope; Alejandro Santos - Flutes/Pan Pipes; Jean Valdes, Guillermo Ruiz - Alto Sax; Williams Polledo - Trumpet; Ernie Adams - Drums; Monserat - Vocals
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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