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Al DiMeola

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Al DiMeola The Best of Al Di Meola: Manhattan Years album cover
3.57 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. July (5:25)
2. Traces (Of a Tear) (7:50)
3. Maraba (5:11)
4. Song to the Pharoah Kings (8:44)
5. Etude (7:01)
6. Rhapsody of Fire (5:03)
7. Coral (3:17)
8. Beijing Demons (6:22)
9. Ballad (5:00)

Total Time: 53:50

Line-up / Musicians

- Roberto Pinheiro / percussion
- Harvey Schwarz / bass (acoustic)
- Josť Renato / vocals
- Carlos "Beluba" Dasilvapinto / percussion
- Elizeu Felix / percussion
- Harvie S. / bass (acoustic)
- Kei Akagi / keyboards
- Airto Moreira / percussion, vocals
- Danny Gottlieb / drums
- Tom Brechtlein / drums
- Mino Cinelu / percussion
- Al DiMeola / guitar (acoustic), guitar, synclavier, synclavier guitar
- Anthony Jackson / guitar (bass)
- Chip Jackson / bass
- Phil Markowitz / keyboards

Releases information

CD Blue Note Records (1992)

Thanks to memowakeman for the addition
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AL DIMEOLA The Best of Al Di Meola: Manhattan Years ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(71%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AL DIMEOLA The Best of Al Di Meola: Manhattan Years reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For those who missed Al Di Meola's acoustic/synth period while on Capitol's Manhattan label, this is just about as perfect a summation of that era one could hope for. Between 1985 and 1987, Di Meola made a quiet but confident turn toward a deeper expression of his amazing talents by composing from a more introspective place. Taking revelry in his love of acoustic music but allowing relaxed washes of synthesizer to play about in the pieces, he created a new sound for himself and, consequently, a new kind of music.

The collection starts with the upbeat pop number 'July', but 'Traces of a Tear' from his great 'Cielo e Terra' album puts things squarly on path. 'Maraba' from the Tirami Su session with its South American flavors and beautiful vocals is a haunting ballad... and then the real fire begins. With the help of his fine band, keyboardist Kei Akagi, drummer Tommy Brechtlein, bassists Anthony Jackson and Harvey Schwartz, and Mino Cineilu on percussion, Di Meola acoustically reinterprets Chick Corea's opus 'Song to the Pharoah Kings' with amazing power, a deft arrangement and delicate treatment. The solo is one of his most blistering and percussive machine-gunners, and the piece moves along effortlessly with rollercoaster thrills and hot Latin jams where all members shine bright. 'Etude' follows, a delicious solo performance on acoustic guitar, at once composed and improvised for seven minutes and a must hear for Di Meola lovers. 'Rhapsody of Fire' continues the hypnotic charm of this period with a joyus and complex Brazilian spirit. Keith Jarrett's 'Coral' is a sweet respite and 'Beijing Demons' refreshes with electronics, rock rhythms and some drop-dead playing from the master. This short interlude in Mr. Di Meola's career reflected remarkable inspiration and passion, and accomplished a flawless blend of South American fire with the soothing calm of the desert at night. His finest compilation and a thoroughly satisfying experience.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was quite familiar and loved the music of Al Di Meola in the beginning of his career with albums like Elegant Gypsy, Land of the Midnight Sun, Splendido Hotel, Casino, Electric Rendezvous. But after he released Scenario (1983) I did not follow through his works. I think Scenario was not good as Al Di Meola's album. SO I considered a waste of money to collect another album of Meola. This is the best of Al di Meola's years with the Manhattan label, which only included three releases: Cielo e Terra, Soaring Through a Dream, and Tirami Su. The era that I did not have any single album of the mentioned three - so I cannot compare this compilation from the studio albums.

The music presented here is somewhat good as for me it's like a return to his music after not monitoring closely his works. Of course I do not expect this compilation would be in the style of his previous works - to be precise his early career as solo artist. The tracks offered here are basically easy listening jazzy tracks with his unique guitar style. The first two tracks July (5:25) and Traces (Of a Tear) (7:50) flow easily. The third track with vocal line Maraba (5:11) is a good one as I enjoy the unique classical guitar work by Meola. The one that reminds me to the roots of Meola's music is Song to the Pharoah Kings (8:44) - where I can have beautiful combination of piano and guitar work. It's really an excellent music. Etude (7:01) demonstrates Meola's nice guitar solo. Rhapsody of Fire (5:03) reminds me to his work in Splendido Hotel. Coral (3:17) is another guitar solo (acoustic). Beijing Demons (6:22) is a fusion music with big band (brass section). Ballad (5:00) is a mellow track with good piano and guitar work performed in relatively slow tempo.

Overall, it's a good compilation even though it lacks energy. It's suitable to those who love jazzy style. You should not expect things like Land of The Midnight Sun from this compilation. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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