earMUSIC [Release date 23.02.18]
Many will remember Al Di Meola from his three-album sojourn with jazz fusionists Return To Forever. After that time Di Meola pursued a solo career frequently incorporating world flavours and collaborating with other guitar icons.
His solo albums are always welcome, perhaps in drip-feed mode now compared to his late 1970s heyday. ‘Opus’ finds Di Meola in remarkably good form.
The opener ‘Wandering In The Dark’ is typical with his self-accompaniment and rich orchestrations.
Di Meola’s acoustic stylings are very much in the Spanish/European tradition although tracks like ‘Ceretto Sannita’ and ‘Escapado’ also reveal his familiar Latin leanings.
The music is technically driven, with a remarkable ear for intricate rhythms and exotic harmonies. If at times you’ll be thinking “where’s the tune?” you will still be enveloped in the guitar pizzaz that permeates all these tracks.
‘Broken Heart’ features electric lead and a nice propulsive acoustic ground. The long ‘Ava’s Dream Sequence Lullaby’ allows Di Meola to explore a sumptuous semi-classical piece inspired by his baby daughter. This reminded me a little of Jan Akkerman’s album ‘Aranjuez’ (1978) with its rich mix of orchestra and guitar.
‘Notorious’ and ‘Rebels’ are the closest we get to jazz rock with the busy acoustic rhythms topped by Di Meola’s fluid electric guitar.
‘Opus’ represents something of a quiet renaissance for one of our jazz fusion guitar heroes. ****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).
Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 CORMAC O CAOIMH Swim Crawl Walk Run (indie)
Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREED Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)
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