Al Di Meola: The Grande Passion
MP3 | Jazz | 98.10 MB | 256 Kbps | Original Release Date: October 24, 2000
Fusion firebrand Al Di Meola continues his passion of the 1990s, compositions written and inspired by Astor Piazzolla. What's remarkable is how strong Di Meola's own music sounds next to those of the late Brazilian tango avatar. "Misterio" opens the album and sets the tone with a lush, romantic setting for acoustic guitar interpolated with colorful accents of sitar and winds, triggered by Di Meola's MIDI-guitar. It's a dynamic piece that takes unusual twists, and it sits comfortably next to Piazzolla's "Double Concerto," which follows. Again, using his strangely uncredited MIDI-guitar, Di Meola emulates Piazzolla's inimitable bandoneon sound. The guitarist has assembled a phenomenal group, including bassist John Patitucci, percussionists Gumbi Ortiz and Arto Tuncboyacian, pianist Mario Parmisano, and second guitarist Hernan Romero.
With the virtuosity of his playing, Di Meola is often overlooked as a composer, and The Grande Passion underscores what a fine composer he is. String arrangements color "Double Concerto," the title track, and several other pieces, but Di Meola hardly needs orchestral frills to legitimize his already epic compositions. The guitarist has slipped from critical prominence since the days of Return to Forever, Splendido Hotel and the guitar trio with John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia (try out Friday Night in San Francisco for a great trio outing), but Di Meola spent the 1990s doing some of his best work with his World Sinfonia group and The Grande Passion starts the new millennium in fine form. – John Diliberto