Al di Meola's first so-called Christmas album is a relaxed, flowing, intensely musical affair that jazzers, world music buffs, and new agers will feel equally comfortable with. Mostly, he steers away from the often-cracked chestnuts, composing several nice tunes of his own ("Zima," the leadoff cut, is especially inviting), playing acoustic guitar and a battery of percussion instruments and keyboards in a graceful one-man band, thanks to multi-track tape. Other tracks feature duets between di Meola (with overdubbed additional instruments) and Roman Hrynkiv, who plays a Ukrainian zither-like instrument called the bandura.
Jazz guitarist Al DiMeola gives new meaning to the phrase world music by working with Ukrainian bandura player Roman Hrynkiv. Here DiMeola explores a special collection of instrumental seasonal works, underscoring them with layered percussion. A number of captivating originals and intricately arranged standards surface here, including "Carol of the Bells, "Ave Maria," and "The First Noel." DiMeola certainly titled the album right: these seasonal songs readily capture the penetrating chill and peacefulness of a star-laden winter sky. Recommended.Martin Keller, Amazon.com
"Elysium" is the climax of this process so far. The artist has arrived where he always wanted to be. He himself thinks of Elysium as a "place of perfect happiness". A paradise where acoustic and electric components, triumphant rock and finely entwined jazz, delicate and pumping rhythms, guitars and keyboards, wide panoramas of rock and diaphanous carpets of sound come together in harmony. In this magical Elysium, everyone complements each other. Al Di Meola has brought together a five piece band with no bass. While he plays all the guitar parts himself, both acoustic and electric, including unbelievably fast and elegant riffs and effervescent rocking chords, three keyboard players and pianists provide shades of colour.
Guitarist Al DiMeola's second record as a leader is generally an explosive affair, although it does have a fair amount of variety. With Jan Hammer or Barry Miles on keyboards, electric bassist Anthony Jackson, drummer Lenny White (Steve Gadd takes his place on the "Elegant Gypsy Suite" ), and percussionist Mingo Lewis on most of the selections, DiMeola shows off his speedy and rockish fusion style. He was still a member of Return to Forever at the time and was a stronger guitarist than composer, but DiMeola did put a lot of thought into this music. The brief "Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil" (an acoustic guitar solo) and "Mediterranean Sundance" (an acoustic duet with fellow guitarist Paco de Lucia) hints at DiMeola's future directions. A near classic in the fusion vein.
Al Di Meola’s latest release, “All Your Life” is an acoustic tour de force that has him revisiting the music of the Beatles. A virtual one-man show of virtuosity, it features the guitar great interpreting 14 familiar Beatles tunes in the stripped-down setting of strictly acoustic guitar.
Al Di Meola has been known throughout the world for the past two-and-a-half decades as one of the most prominent virtuosos in the contemporary instrumental jazz field.
Two years after they recorded Friday Night in San Francisco, John McLaughlin, Al di Meola and Paco de Lucía reunited for another set of acoustic guitar trios, Passion, Grace and Fire, If this can be considered a guitar "battle" (some of the playing is ferocious and these speed demons do not let up too often), then the result is a three-way tie…