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Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia The Guitar Trio album cover
3.68 | 39 ratings | 4 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. La Estiba (5:51)
2. Beyond The Mirage (6:10)
3. Midsummer Night (4:36)
4. Manha De Carnaval (6:11)
5. Letter From India (3:54)
6. Espiritu (5:30)
7. Le Monastère Dans Les Montagnes (6:15)
8. Azzura (7:58)
9. Cardeosa (6:36)

Total Time: 53:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Paco de Lucía / guitar
- John McLaughlin / guitar
- Al di Meola / guitar, percussion

Releases information

CD Verve (533215), 1996
CD Polygram (5332152), 2005

Thanks to Joren for the addition
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AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA The Guitar Trio ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When I prepared the review for The TANGENT "The Music That Died Alone" (in January 2005) I started the write-up with whatever printed at the CD jewel case: Three Generations of Progressive Music: Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), David Jackson (Van der Graaf Generator) and Andy Tillison (Parallel or 90 Degrees) - One Remarkable Album. I don't know why at that time I remember "The Guitar Trio" - a collaborative work by Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin, and Paco De Lucia. The context is, of course, different because the latter is basically a blend of talents with different expertise in guitar playing. I think it's worth to take a look the expertise of each individual musician that contributes to this album before the review itself:

Al Di Meola is a legend guitarist in Latin-influenced jazz fusion. He enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. He then joined Return to Forever (1974). He explored his musical journey and he is a four time winner as Best Jazz Guitarist in Guitar Player Magazine's Reader Poll. He explored Mediterranean cultures and acoustic genres like flamenco and interpreted his skills into albums like "Elegant Gypsy" as well as "Splendido Hotel". He is a technical master in complex notes, chords and scales of guitar playing. His style is very unique. If you like acoustic guitar solo, you might enjoy "Two To Tango" of "Splendido Hotel" album or "Mediterranean Sundance" or "Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil" from the "Elegant Gypsy" album (1977).

John McLaughlin (born January 4, 1942), also Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, is a jazz fusion guitar player from Doncaster, Yorkshire in England. He came to prominence with the electric group of Miles Davis in the late 1960s, and with other well-known players such as Chick Corea and Tony Williams. [Wikipedia]. In the 70s he formed The Mahavishnu Orchestra that featured violinist Jerry Goodman (The Flock), keyboardist Jan Hammer (later Gayle Moran / Stu Goldberg), bassist Rick Laird (later Ralphe Armstrong), and drummer Billy Cobham (later Narada Michael Walden). If you have ever heard The Mahavishnu Orchestra you would easily finds his energetic jazz-rock electric guitar work.

Paco de Lucía (b. December 21, 1947) is an internationally recognized Spanish flamenco guitarist, and leading exponent of the New Flamenco style. He is the son of flamenco guitarist Antonio Sánchez, and brother of flamenco singer Pepe de Lucía and flamenco guitarist Ramón de Algeciras. Paco is considered by many to be one of the greatest flamenco guitarists of all time. Not only does he dominate in flamenco, he is one of the very few flamenco guitarists who is also talented in other genres of music, e.g. jazz, classical, and world music. Many think that Paco fluently goes into these territories and plays like no other, whereas some purists of these other genres will state that he is just making a venture and is still a flamenco player at heart, lacking the pure jazz style. He is the winner of 2004 Prince of Asturias Awards in Arts. [Wikipedia]

With differing backgrounds an fields of mastery, Al Di Meola [Mediteranian latin-influenced jazz rock], John McLaughlin [jazz fusion, Mahavishnu], and Paco de Lucia [Flamenco] - It is therefore becoming so interesting that the three who play the same instrument (acoustic guitar) record a collaborative effort. At a glance it might be difficult to differentiate each style. But with repeated spins you will be able to do it. Even if you won't, just enjoy the music.

"La Estiba" (5:51) [music by Paco] opens the album featuring John as first soloist followed with Al and then Paco at later part. You can smell the differing styles of the three heroes, easily. But if you can't, you may need to try second or third spin. I can sense with Al at the right channel while John at the left and the music flows beautifully into my ears. "Beyond The Mirage" (6:10) [music by Al] gives the "splendido Hotel" nuance of Al's composition. This is where I refer to "Two To Tango" composition. Man . if you have not heard "Two To Tango" you should not listen to this track, really. They are not the same but the two give you good comparative grounds on how Al approaches his songwriting and how he communicates with the other guys to contribute. "Midsummer Night" (4:36) [music by John] opens with an India altar - no wonder because John has been heavily influenced by India's culture. At first I cannot differentiate how each player plays at this track but later I can do it and appreciate the composition much better. John opens the solo and concludes it at the end (4th solo). I can hear vividly how Al interjects his style beautifully in the middle, with his "Two To Tango" style.

Tell me, who in this Planet Earth would not love "Manha De Carnaval" (6:11)? This is really nice composition with touchy melody line and I am sure that this one is accessible to many ears - not necessarily a jazz lover! Well, I have tested this with a friend of mine who just love "generic" music and it blew him away at first spin. Based on this experience it might be wise for me to advise you to jump to this track if you cannot accept the first track.

"Letter From India" (3:54), as the title implies, you must have guessed that this is written by John. You bet! John gives way to Paco to do the first solo beautifully. It's awesome opening, in my humblest opinion. John himself takes his part as second soloist and Al is absent in this scene. "Espiritu" (5:30) [music by Al] is totally performed by Al with all guitars and percussions. In this scene Al plays softer then usual. I almost can not identify him from this track. "Le Monastère Dans Les Montagnes" (6:15) [music by John] brings all three heroes together again in a mellow style, blending individual player characteristics nicely. There are interesting fills from three players at this track.

"Azzura" (7:58) [music by AL] is the best track for my personal taste from all tracks in this album. This is the most prog track in this record not because of its long duration but its structure is like an epic with John plays the opening part, followed beautifully with Al. It's really nice! Paco de Lucia gives his shot as third soloist. The most important thing is not how each soloist gives his work but how the guitars are played to shape the curved structure of the song. It's an excellent acoustic prog! This album concludes wonderfully with "Cardeosa" (6:36).

At summary level, I could only say that this is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. For fans of Al Di Meola or John McLaughlin, it's a MUST to have this CD. How can you claim as AL Di Meola's fan if you don't own this CD? Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If you ever listened "Friday Night In San Francisco" you will realize that there are same musicians from the very fisrt sounds. I was very impressed again after I started this Cd. My good impression even grow up after first and second compositions. What a delight, triple acoustic guitars mixed sound!

I even didn't realize at what moment it became .... boring. Yes , everything is better than OK, but... slowly you understand, that you heard this yet, ... that you heard this more than once... that , in fact, you are listening one endless composition, and this composition even isn't bright enough!

You should be a heavy fan of acoustic guitar sound just to enjoy this long repeating strings vibrations. Please understand me right, the music is very professional, of high technical level, so you should be happy with that. But I just think, that once found original and extremely sucsessful "triple acoustic guitars" formula was intereted in "Friday Night...", used once again in second Trio release, and now, after so many years sounds more as cliche or clone.

I think the only right decision should be one excelent Trio album (the first one, of course). The third one is just shadow, copy of the Original. Some fresh ideas will be realy helpfull on it, but-sorry, you can find only old music, tested by time, but more useful for Hall of Fame, than for regular repeating.

I think, if you never heard about DiMeola-McLaughlin-DeLucia trio, and will start by accident from yhis album, you will be enjoyed by it's music and sound. But in that case both other albums will sound as it's copies for you, and vice versa.

If you are just at the beginning, really just start from "Friday Night In San Francisco". I think, you will find some new music for you, but just finish where you started. For acoustic Latin guitar sound maniacs my recomendation is useless :)

P.S. If you are not familiar with Trio music, please not, that it isn't prog at all: Latin acoustic guitar sound, sometimes fusion or Latin jazz, but -never prog.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nº 214

"The Guitar Trio" is a reunion and a collaborative acoustic studio musical effort from three of the finest guitarists of all times, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia. This happened after thirteen years without playing together.

Al Di Meola is an American guitarist. In 1971 he entered in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1974 he joined Chick Corea's band, Return To Forever and stayed with them until its dissolution, in 1976. Al Di Meola explored different types of music. His work was influenced by jazz and Latin music. He became involved with other musicians like Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia. In addition to that he has also a prolific and great solo musical career. Four times he was considered the best guitarist by Guitar Player Magazine.

John McLaughlin is a British guitarist. In 1971 he formed The Mahavishnu Orchestra, a band with a good and complex fusion of jazz, rock and Indian music. After the breakup of the band, John McLaughlin worked with the group Shakti which combined elements of Indian music with jazz. In 1973, John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana collaborated on an album of devotional songs, "Love, Devotion, Surrender" which included recordings of John Coltrane. In the early of the 80's began the collaboration with Al Di Meola and Paco de Lucia. The trio recorded three albums, "Friday Night In San Francisco" in 1981, "Passion, Grace & Fire" in 1983 and "The Guitar Trio" in 1996. In addition he has also a solo career.

Paco de Lucia was a Spanish flamenco guitarist internationally recognized. He was probably the best flamenco guitarist of all time. He was the youngest of five brothers, sons of the flamenco guitarist Antonio Sanchez. His brothers Pepe de Lucia and Ramon de Algeciras are also flamenco musicians. Pepe is a singer and Ramon is also a guitarist. It was with his father and his brother Ramon that Paco learned to play guitar. Paco de Lucia released many albums of flamenco and classical guitar music. Through his vast discography, he showed a new way of understanding the flamenco music and he as also turned his music and his form of playing guitar to a level comparable to that of modern jazz musicians.

"The Guitar Trio" was released in 1996 and has nine tracks. The first track "La Estiba" was written by Paco de Lucia, the second track "Beyond The Mirage" was written by Al Di Meola", the third track "Midsummer Night" was written by John McLaughlin, the fourth track "Manhã De Carnaval" was written by Luiz Bonfa and Antonio Maria, the fifth track "Letter From India" was written by John McLaughlin, the sixth track "Espiritu" was written by Al Di Meola, the seventh track "Le Monastere Dans Les Montagnes" was written by John McLaughlin, the eighth track "Azzura" was written by Al Di Meola and the ninth and last track "Cardeosa" was written by Paco de Lucia.

About the performance on the album we can say that is very good, as we can expect from this three gentlemen. It's very impressive the uniqueness of the all compositions. All the compositions are so different, yet pleasing. The three guitars are flawlessly, seamlessly and intricately weaving the music like a beautiful and complex tapestry, but the sound is always pleasing to our ears. There are no wasted notes, no irrelevant riffs made to impress the listener. The trio is creating and improvising at a level of communication very impressive. There are nine tunes on the album, but all are different. Some are powerful and quick, while others are slower, but every cut has some great moments. After listening to the extraordinaire "Friday Night In San Francisco" you couldn't expect less than a true display of guitar virtuosism. And that's we get here. Paco de Lucia is a master playing, he plays in a true flamenco way, with no pic, just with his fingers, Al Di Meola's compositions, and John McLaughlin's feeling on the guitar, takes us on a very pleasant musical journey. This new album is certainly a collaborative effort. Except for Luis Bonfa's and Antonio Maria's classic song "Manhã De Carnaval", all tracks are original compositions from each guitarist. No one player is listed as the leader, and, at any given time, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia take turns soloing while the remaining two play rhythm. Unless you follow the liner notes that list, which plays the solos, you can't discern one player from the other.

Conclusion: Despite all I wrote before, I agree with the point of view of Snobb. "The Guitar Trio" is a good album, very well professionally played with high technical level. It's an acoustic album influenced by jazz and Latin music. It's true that musically isn't a progressive album but, in my opinion, that isn't the main problem with this album. For me, the main problem is that this album despite is very well balanced and also superiorly performed, is sometimes repetitive, unimaginative, without much flame and soul, and is even sometimes boring. Maybe the problem of this album, for me, is that I listened "Friday Night In San Francisco", before. So, if you aren't a fanatic fan of this trio of musicians or even a fanatic acoustic guitar fan, you mustn't start with this album. If you like this type of music and you aren't a progressive rock music fundamentalist, I advise you to start with their live album "Friday Night In San Francisco", which is, without any doubt, an incredible, fabulous and fantastic album, and is also one of the best acoustic live albums I've ever heard.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

5 stars The most appealing and diverse of the De Lucia / Di Meola / McLaughlin acoustic guitar trio projects ( including the live Friday Night In San Fransisco album). Guitar freaks, jazz afficionados and the layman alike will glean something from this one as the masters bring their guitar trio concept to a ... (read more)

Report this review (#229718) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Monday, August 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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