3

Al Di Meola: Opus

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Guitarist/composer Al Di Meola explores his heritage musically and otherwise in the near hour-long Opus. Largely a solo project, the music becomes all the more compelling for an intricacy mirrored in the deceptively ornate cover art.

The intimacy arising from the very first tones of "Milonga Noctiva (Wandering in the Dark)" eventually alternates overdubs of acoustic and electric guitars with orchestral punctuation. As flamenco flourishes introduce the sounds of classically-tinged piano, the musicianship conjures an air of formality that is a direct reflection of Di Meola's personality, yet the prominence of percussion here supplies a heat that compensates for what might be construed as an overly cerebral approach. The sharp edges of fiery electric guitar lines serve the same purpose on "Broken Heart."

"Ava's Dream Sequence Lullaby" presents a tangible sense of a band playing rather than a single individual and that effect, not surprisingly, is even more readily discernible on "Cerreto Sannita," one of the two cuts featuring keyboardist Kemuel Roig, as well as drummer Richie Morales. True to its title, "Escapado" bounces along with an effervescent joy, while "Pomp" evinces a more sinuous approach, adding to the cumulative momentum of Opus, even as it provides a necessary change of pace.

There is some sense Al Di Meola is repeating himself to a certain extent on this record, but that is his intent, at least in part, so the concept imbues his prodigious technique with a purpose. The hint of steel drums on "Insieme" also offsets the impression of overly familiar territory: the combination of rhythm and melody freshens an indirect but nonetheless palpable evocation of the classic Elegant Gypsy (Columbia, 1977). "Rebels" continues in that vein, again with the formidable participation of Roig and Morales, so that Opus ends on an affirmative note echoing long after the authoritative conclusion.

Track Listing: Milonga Noctiva: Wandering in the Dark; Broken Heart; Ava’s Dream Sequence Lullaby; Cerreto Sannita; Notorious; Frozen In Time; Escapado; Pomp; Left Unsaid; Insieme; Rebels.

Personnel: Al Di Meola: acoustic and electric guitars, electric bass, drums, percussion, additional orchestration; Richie Morales: drums; Kemuel Roig: piano, keyboards; orchestration: Dario Eskenazi: orchestration.

Title: Opus | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Sheer Sound

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Sep8Sun
Al Di Meola
Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO
Sep17Tue
Al Di Meola
Rialto Theatre
Tucson, AZ
$38
Sep19Thu
Al Di Meola
The Coach House
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Sep21Sat
Al Di Meola
The Rose
Pasadena, CA
$34 - 58

Related Articles

Read Down & Dirty Album Reviews
Down & Dirty
By Jack Bowers
July 21, 2019
Read Sublunary Minds Album Reviews
Sublunary Minds
By Troy Dostert
July 21, 2019
Read Peace Planet & Box of Light Album Reviews
Peace Planet & Box of Light
By Don Phipps
July 21, 2019
Read Hyperuranion Album Reviews
Hyperuranion
By Glenn Astarita
July 21, 2019
Read The Turning Album Reviews
The Turning
By Bruce Lindsay
July 20, 2019
Read Reveries and Revelations Album Reviews
Reveries and Revelations
By John Eyles
July 20, 2019
Read Live/Shapeshifter Album Reviews
Live/Shapeshifter
By Don Phipps
July 20, 2019