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Al Di Meola - Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody CD (album) cover

PURSUIT OF RADICAL RHAPSODY

Al Di Meola

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First Al Di Meola's new studio release in last almost four years didn't bring any surprises. He plays with his busiest during last years project New Sinfonia, just powered it with some high class guest jazz musicians.

I'm familiar with almost every Di Meola's album and saw him playing live three times during last five years (twice with New Sinfonia, and once - with RTF incarnation), so this album sounds absolutely as I expected it should sound. Lyrical and romantic world fusion with great tunes, mix of Latin ,Mediterranean ,Middle East and Eastern European elements with mid tempo relaxed jazz fusion roots. Di Meola's New Sinfonia with Latin percussion,great accordion (bandoneon) player and second guitarist is almost excellent team if you like Piazzola, Southern European relaxed breeze and very warm atmosphere, but want to avoid boring smooth jazz. The only project's problem is they found great formula and exploit it year after year without changes,so music becomes more and more predictable. This release didn't avoid same problem, but at least few additions refreshed the sound.

Main difference is many classy guests,collaborated on this recording.Weather Report drummer Peter Erskine, great bassist Charlie Haden, Havana-born pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba between others didn't change Di Meola's musical direction, but each added plenty of small details to music,making it more sophisticated.Hungary's Sturcz String Quartet plays on some compositions, and - Al Di Meola switches to electric guitar time to time as well.

Not like music is much different from previous New Sinfonia releases, but it sounds as essential mix of all their previous experiences.Very different from Di Meola's early fast and cold electric guitar fusion works, this album is possibly one between most quality world fusion releases of some last time around.

My rating is 3,5,rounded to 4.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#419588)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
3 stars I'm rating this with only three stars because for me personally this was not exactly what I enjoy in fusion. It's only the third Di Meola album I've listened to, so I'm very green to rate his albums anyway. But I did enjoy the other two more.

The playing is doubtlessly fine, the top jazz guitarist (who served in Return To Forever in the 70s and is among the most respected in jazz / fusion world) is accompanied by an accordionist, two percussionists, another guitarist and someone playing "acoustic upright baby bass" (what? an instrument for dwarfs?). None of those band members are familiar to me, unlike guest musicians such as bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Peter Erskine. Well, maybe the accordion, and a sort of World Music flavour in general, is the first feature I'm not liking much. And another is the notable Latin feel, including busy percussion, in the music. Most tracks are quite restless in rhythm instead of being melodious. This was not so much the case with my other Di Meola hearings.

I liked about 50 % of the album, among the more enjoyable tracks were those not composed by Di Meola: 'Strawberry Fields' (the Beatles tune) and 'Over the Rainbow'. If you like rhythmically hectic Latin-flavoured guitar fusion, check this one out. 15 tracks, over 72 minutes.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#840036)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2012 | Review Permalink

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