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AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Multi-National


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Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia picture
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia biography
Active between 1980 and 1983 and again a one-off reunion in 1996

Though it would be anything else than a normal collaboration between artists, considering any one of the three musicians (being a normal character of jazz recordings/performances/outlined "gatherings" etc.), it's an event (or just as well a phenomenon) that speaks beyond words, it's interpreted above notes and means much ahead of impressions or symbols. The musicianship of AL DI MEOLA, JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, PACO DE LUCIA (an order which doesn't really count, each one was, at least once, "first up the order") is a most refined example of how great minds think alike and how great souls can play on the same symbolic chord. Without a deep glance, the entire character is appointed upon the collective music effort, slightly upon a mix of style and personality (McLaughlin being a jazz/fusion/(world) artist, Meola being also on the jazz-rock tone, but slightly more titrated and De Lucia being a flamenco jazz artist) and upon the occurrence of great taste. The trio is in its entire eclectic and distinguished.

In 1979, Larry Coryell formed "The Guitar Trio" with jazz fusion guitarist John McLaughlin, and flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia and toured Europe briefly, eventually releasing a video recorded at Royal Albert Hall in London entitled "Meeting of Spirits". In early 1980 Larry was replaced by Al Di Meola, due to drug addiction.. The point of view is obviously focused on the "later" Guitar Trio (not that its prestige would be unfounded as the prime effect, major result, etc.). The essence is the virtuoso talents of all three musicians being equally on display

As far as style is concerned, the combined powers make out of the trio's music a flamenco essence jazz. Besides that, the best to notice aspect is the dazzling virtuosity of guitar play and the eccentric subtlety of jazz interpretation, improvisation and such to think of. Within their last album, there is a piece exploring bossa nova.

Two releases stand as the reflection of their works, within the 80s. Friday Night in San Francisco , of 1981, is a best-seller, a fabulous performance, a most accomplished recognition and a fantastic masterpiece. Passion, Grace and Fire is what followed up in 1983, being a studio-recording only. After this 13 years of silence and of inactivity made out of the trio a select thing. The Guitar Trio...
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AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 23 ratings
Passion, Grace & Fire
1983
3.66 | 30 ratings
The Guitar Trio
1996

AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.20 | 103 ratings
Friday Night In San Francisco
1981

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AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA Reviews


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 Friday Night In San Francisco by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Live, 1981
4.20 | 103 ratings

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Friday Night In San Francisco
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nș 215

Al Di Meola is an American guitarist which is better known because, in 1974, he joined the Chick Corea's band, Return To Forever and played with the band until its dissolution, in 1976. John McLaughlin is a British guitarist which is better known because, in 1971, he formed The Mahavishnu Orchestra, a band very well respected throughout the world due to their good and complex fusion of jazz, rock and Indian music. Paco de Lucia is a Spanish flamenco guitarist and classical guitarist which is better known and recognized, probably because he was the best flamenco guitarist ever.

"Friday Night In San Francisco" is a live album of the fantastic trio of guitarists, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia and it was recorded at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, in 5 December 1980 and was released in 1981.

We can say that it was a historic occasion. The appearance of John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, and Paco DeLucia at San Francisco's Warfield Theatre in one Friday night in 1981 was a musical event that could be compared to the Benny Goodman Band's performance at Carnegie Hall in 1938. The Guitar Trio did for the acoustic guitar what Goodman had done for jazz. As we lnow, the acoustic guitar had gone commercially in those years, already. In 1979 and 1980, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia had actually toured Europe with Larry Coryell. John McLaughlin tried to release a recording of this group but Columbia would have none of it, claiming Coryell wasn't a big enough name. Coryell had some personal problems at the time that did not help either. When the time came to tour America, Al DiMeola stepped in. His presence suddenly made the trio commercial. Anyway, "Friday Night In San Francisco" was the final result of it.

"Friday Night In San Francisco" has five tracks. Four of them were recorded live and one was recorded in studio. The first track consists of two songs, "Mediterranean Sundance" written by Al Di Meola and that appeared for the first time on his fantastic second studio album "Elegant Gypsy" and "Rio Ancho" written by Paco de Lucia. Both songs are performed as one by Paco de Lucia on the left channel and Al Di Meola on the right channel. This is an extraordinary song superiorly performed live by these two great guitar artists. It's hard to describe how great this track is. It consists on a fabulous guitar acoustic duel by this duet with about 11 minutes without lowering the musical rhythm and the speed of play. This is really an amazing piece of music and just because of that we should buy this album. It's my favourite track on the album and it's also the best way to open this amazing album. The second track "Short Tales Of The Black Forest" written by Chick Corea is performed on the left channel by John McLaughlin and on the right channel by Al Di Meola. This is a more subtle and quiet song also very well performed with good and great changes because suddenly is quiet and suddenly is faster. It has also a fantastic moment when the Pink Panther's theme makes an appearance and suddenly they change to a blues. This is absolutely a delightful song. The third track "Frevo Rasgado" written by Egberto Gismonti is performed on the left channel by John McLaughlin and on the right channel by Paco de Lucia. This is another fantastic track with perfect harmony and precious dialogues between the acoustic guitars of both artists. However, despite the fantastic live performance, this is probably my less favourite track on the album. The fourth track "Fantasia Suite" written by Al Di Meola, is the only live track with the guitar trio and is performed on the left channel by Paco de Lucia, on the middle channel by John McLaughlin and on the right channel by Al Di Meola. It's another fantastic and memorable live performance on this album, practically at the same level of the first track. This is a very beautiful song fantastically live performed by the trio with great musical rhythm and high speed of the music. It's simply a fantastic and truly amazing piece of music. This is my second favourite track on the album. The fifth and last track "Guardian Angel" written by John McLaughlin, is performed on the left channel by Paco de Lucia, on the middle channel by John McLaughlin and on the right channel by Al Di Meola. It's the only studio track on the album. This is the smallest track on the album but it's also a track with the same quality of the others played live. Here we can hear the different nuances between the three acoustic guitars even if they only combine the same kind of rhythm of music.

Conclusion: I own a vinyl copy of this album since it was released. "Friday Night In San Francisco" is a fantastic album and we may say that for those who don't know this trio of great artists very well, it's one of the best entries in all of these three guitarists' fine discographies. This is really one of the greatest guitar masterpieces in any kind of music. I can say that I agree with most of my colleagues that this isn't truly a progressive rock album. This is more a flamenco and jazz oriented album, than rock and progressive music. However, and although I can understand their point of view, not to rating this album with 5 stars, I don't agree with them. Why? Because this album is so fantastic and essential for everybody, that I can't rating it with less than 5 stars. This is a true masterpiece in any genre and type of music, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 The Guitar Trio by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.66 | 30 ratings

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The Guitar Trio
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nș 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 "Manhă 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 "Manhă 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*)

 Friday Night In San Francisco by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Live, 1981
4.20 | 103 ratings

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Friday Night In San Francisco
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The genesis of the Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin & Paco De Luci­a trio finds its seeds at The Guitar Trio formed by jazz guitarist Larry Coryell in 1979,including Mahavishnu Orchestra mastermind John McLaughlin and flamenco guitarist Paco De Lucia.The Guitar Trio toured in Europe and recorded the ''Meeting of the spirits'' video in London,but soon Corryel was replaced by Return to Forever guitarist Al Di Meola due to his drug addiction.As with the original Guitar Trio Di Meola,McLaughlin and De Lucia toured extensively and recorded their live performance ''Friday Night in San Francisco'' at the Warfield Theatre on 5 December 1980.

The album is a great guide to all guitar students around the world,offering a beautiful mix of Flamenco and Jazz in an unplugged performance.The compositions are semi-structured alternating between smooth interplays,long solos and flamenco-tinged grooves.Technically speaking the album is on the highest level with the three virtuosos delivering the best out of their armour,sometimes on gentle passages,others on intensive and dramatic improvisation.Good thing is that the total absence of any other instrument will not affect the richness of the sound.On the other hand what is really missing from this album ,in my opinion,is the optical view.A video footage would be trully a better release and would easily capture all the atmosphere of this creative night in all its spectrum.The sound alone is a good document,but lacks in depth of an atmospheric view.

I wouldn't call this album essential.''Friday Night in San Francisco'' is a must-have for all the young guitar wannabee-heros and a good addition for anyone searching for a relaxed flamenco-based musicianship in a specific mood.Still recommended.

 Friday Night In San Francisco by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Live, 1981
4.20 | 103 ratings

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Friday Night In San Francisco
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars From a tour that I witnessed one such glorious concert, comes this solid recording of some of the great trios and duets that this troupe did for a couple of years in the early 80s. I just remember as an audience member who had seen all live of the artists in different bands and formats before being mesmerized by the contrasts in styles and personalities: John McLaughlin with his effusive joy and effortless ease of expression, Al Di with his technical flare and Paco with his Flamenco finger style flashing and flourishing all over the fretboard. I remember being by far most impressed with McLaughlin--he seemed so much more comfortable with so many styles and genres; Al seemed like he was working so hard to impress (to keep up), and Paco was wonderful but not in the same cosmos as the Mahavishnu. The setlist for the show I attended was slightly different and, of course, more expanded. The Al Di songs were the most familiar to me--especially the timeless classic duet that Al and Paco performed on Mediterranean Sundance--and I remember the Chick Corea song being a pleasant surprise (and one of my favorites--I am a huge fan of Chick's song compositions and melodies.) The recording was very good for the time and for the subject (live recordings never seem to please me and live recordings of acoustic instruments is even more suspect) and the song choices certainly captured the essence of a fabulous experience of live music--a collaboration that was ingenious from a promotional standpoint and one that proved to be quite magical in person, as well.
 Friday Night In San Francisco by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Live, 1981
4.20 | 103 ratings

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Friday Night In San Francisco
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by The Dark Elf

4 stars Full article first published at blogcritics. org

Live albums are such fragile things, aren't they? I mean, under the performer's swagger, the stacks of Marshalls, and even the sometimes egregious overdubbing to mask imperfections and gaffes, very often one is left with inferior product, or at least not comparable to the original slick studio versions of the songs presented. That is why there are very few truly great live albums.

Most live recordings are of the throwaway variety: substandard greatest hits packages vomited up in order to appease record companies in lieu of actual studio content; or a means of promotional self-aggrandizement by performers (and once again, in lieu of actual studio recordings); or pirated concert recordings which appear in profusion on YouTube that are, of course, a chance to see a favorite band or performer play live when there is a dearth of anything that is new or of any consequence, musically speaking. Some performers have one great live album in them (such as Deep Purple's 'Made in Japan' or The Who's 'Live at Leeds'), some manage more than one (Johnny Cash's landmarks 'Live at Fulsom Prison' and 'Live at San Quentin', for instance), while others are all over the place, running from bathetic to brilliant (numerous offerings from Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, Frank Zappa, etc.). But it is indeed a rare occurrence for live material to rise above the studio work from whence it was culled.

But first, let's talk about jazz.

I know, I know ? you're saying to yourself, what's this old rock dog doing venturing out of his element? Putting on airs, is he, Lovey? Well, you may find it disconcerting, but I have many jazz recordings: from Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, to Dave Brubeck and Charlie Parker, to Return to Forever and Weather Report. And there are certainly many stellar live jazz recordings (Miles Davis' 'Live-Evil', Charlie Parker's 'Live at Birdland', and 'Ellington at Newport 1956', to name but a few). However, in this review I am going to be a bit selfish.

The album I am reviewing, 'Friday Night in San Francisco' (1980) with Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin, and Paco DeLucia, is an essential live recording ? for guitarists. Now, I don't care about the abysmal listening habits of the far vaster society-at-large (a public that is agog over Lady Gaga is suspect in any case); but this definitive demonstration of flamenco- laden guitar jazz ? with no backing band, superfluous horns, or vocals ? is revelatory, and particularly for those thousands of regular Joes (and Janes ? we needn't be discriminatory) who have ever picked up a guitar and dreamed. But if one worries about demographic accessibility, radio-friendliness and droning songs with three or four chord structures, then why in the hell are you listening to jazz in the first place? Or, in any case, why are you reading this review? Stick with Devo, Television, Poison, or whatever drek you swore by in the 1980s. But I digress.

As a longtime guitarist and bar-band blues bludgeoner, all I can tell you is that I am in awe of the technical ferocity, incredible dexterity, and concordant reciprocity by which these three musicians blend and bend. And to make this album all the more intriguing, these virtuoso guitarists are not shredding the old-fashioned way, with the ubiquitous and almost obligatory Stratocaster or Les Paul; on the contrary, they are frying the frets of acoustic guitars! This "unplugged" concert predates the staged versions on MTV by nearly a decade, and Friday Night certainly eclipses anything from that overrated, overblown series, save perhaps the outstanding performance by Eric Clapton. But alas, poor Eric! For all his vaunted "Slowhand" moves, he couldn't keep up with these three players with a vast quantity of anabolic steroids and an eight ball of coke.

The stunning interplay between de Lucia, DiMeola and McLaughlin alone is worth a studied listen. Paco de Lucia is one of the finest flamenco guitarists in the world, Al DiMeola's first major band was the legendary Return to Forever (his first band? He was only 21!), and John McLaughlin is himself a legend, having played on Miles Davis' masterpiece 'Bitches Brew', as leader of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and also duetting rock fusion with Carlos Santana. It doesn't get much better. No, it doesn't get any better at all.

But it is not merely the technical excellence and gaudy displays of frenzied fretwork that sets this album apart; the subtle nuance, ever-changing tone and timbre, and the synchronicity of the trio is breathtaking in its scope and impassioned delivery. As I alluded to previously, the premise of this review (besides my selfishness) is to present a live album wherein the concert performances exceed the studio versions of the songs. Nowhere is this more evident than on "Mediterranean Sundance/Rio Ancho", originally from DiMeola's Elegant Gypsy solo album. The version on Elegant Gypsy is certainly a worthwhile listen, but it is staid and conservative in comparison to that found on 'Friday Night in San Francisco'. "Sundance" becomes a mad waltz of a myriad crickets: first one, then two, then a whole ball, swarming, then swirling, then parting in a preternatural line dance beneath the warm summer breezes drifting languidly in from the aqua sea. For Al DiMeola and Paco DeLucia, it is a battle of pick versus pluck, as jazz fusion meets flamenco guitar method, and the variation in styles gives a nice counterpoint between older and newer forms (not to mention more scales than on Godzilla's bare behind).

Yet this is no sterile exercise in emotionless expertise, the enthusiastic audience is heavily involved throughout, hooting and hollering in delight, adding to the magic of the night. Also, there are dashes of humor intermingled with the good-natured one-upmanship, such as when DiMeola and McLaughlin take a whimsical detour in Chick Corea's composition "Black Forest" that leads them to play parts of the "Pink Panther" theme and some raunchy 12 bar blues. Further highlights include a spirited duet by McLaughlin and DeLucia on Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti's "Frevo Rasgado", and DiMeola's "Fantasy Suite", a grand finale in which all three guitarists shoot out the lights and trade finger-blurring volleys. Oh yes, and if that weren't enough to have you fretting with plectrum envy, there is a studio recording of the haunting "Guardian Angel" which was a precursor to 'Passion, Grace and Fire', the album that followed their live tour.

I am aware that the term "masterpiece" is thrown about with nauseating regularity in these degenerate days when karaoke cover versions of hit songs sung by members of Glee seemingly hit number one on the Billboard charts every other week, but the improvisational brilliance of Friday Night in San Francisco is a transcendent experience. At least, for this 'umble guitarist.

Four and a half stars, because it is not a progressive rock album (and based on prog- archives criteria, not germane to the general discussion), Five stars for jazz content and virtuousity.

 Friday Night In San Francisco by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Live, 1981
4.20 | 103 ratings

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Friday Night In San Francisco
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by fant0mas

4 stars If you want non-stop speed that pumps you full of adrenaline but drowns out most nuances then this is the one. The track that gets most people to buy this album is the first one where Al outdoes even his own fastest playing and takes it to a level of blur that's, frankly, astounding. However, none of the tracks here are as effective, in an overall sense, as "Orient Blue Suite" on their studio record or Al and Paco's studio version of "Mediteranean Sundance" on "Elegant Gypsy," which doesn't turn into "Rio Ancho." A few more records that top this in terms of overall wear factor: Paco's record with his sextet "Live, One Summer Night"--a mindblower that perfectly balances nuances with extreme virtuosity, if you can get used to the wild gypsy singing. Mclaughlin's "Live at Royal Festival Hall" with his unbelievably telepathic trio, if you like a jazzier, more progressive, rhythm driven acoustic sound. And Larry Coryell's magnificent "Bolero" record which features a cornucopia of styles from classical improvisations to flamenco barnstormers to funkified country rock, all played with maximum sophistication and attention to nuance.
 Friday Night In San Francisco by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Live, 1981
4.20 | 103 ratings

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Friday Night In San Francisco
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm not going to say too much about this live album as it is a rather popular one. This is an all acoustic album recorded in San Fransisco in December of 1980, years before MTV came out with their "Unplugged" series. I don't think any act has topped this when it comes to live acoustic music.

McLaughlin, Di Meola and De Lucia are all virtuoso's in their own rights, and putting them together does actually work which is why this became so popular. As i've said emphatically before I really detest the idea of no electric instruments, but having no bass, drums or keyboards really does make this recording pretty one dimensional in my opinion. This is all a matter of taste of course. There are many great moments here, but for me I can't offer up that fourth star. The crowd that was there that night would definitely disagree with me.

 The Guitar Trio by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.66 | 30 ratings

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The Guitar Trio
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

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.

 Friday Night In San Francisco by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Live, 1981
4.20 | 103 ratings

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Friday Night In San Francisco
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by nikow

5 stars This is one of those magical albums where everything just falls in place and the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It's not flawless, I'll admit that, but it's one of the best live albums I've ever heard.

The interplay between Di Meola, DeLucia and McLaughlin is unearthly, not to even talk about their skills, which are phenomenal. Basically this album is just a show of their technical skills on acoustic guitar, but it's also very sympatethic as well. The part where they improvise and start to play the tune of the Pink Panther is priceless and brings a little humour and humanity to the otherwise quite technical album.

I wouldn't recommend to this to people who in general don't like showing off just for the sake of it. As for me, I like to hear some great technical playing now and then and there's just something magical on this one which I cannot quite grasp with words.

5 stars!

 The Guitar Trio by AL DI MEOLA - MCLAUGHLIN - PACO DE LUCIA album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.66 | 30 ratings

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The Guitar Trio
Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Vibrationbaby

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 focal point. There`s less showboating and overextending here and more emphasis on solid composing except for a few McLaughlin freakouts ( He just couldn`t resist ).

All three players don`t always appear together, most notably on the bossa-nova rave up Manha De Carnival which only features Di Meola and Mc Laughlin and the magnificent Azzura where Dimeola becomes a one man guitar trio also adding percussives. Oddly, De lucia ( the only player here who has never touched an electric guitar in his life ) remains relatively restrained even on his own Spanish / Brazilian pieces, Espirito and flamenco album opener La Estiba. As can be expected, McLaughlin`s contributions are drenched in East Indian influences and this is most evident on Midsummer`s Night with it`s exquisite intro and the obvious Letter To India. Dimeola seems to have a middle east fascination on his pieces as evidenced on Beyond The Mirage.

Along with Larry Coryell ( who was an early collaborator ) these three masters set tnew standards for this guitar configuration and this impeccably produced set is just as effective as background music or straight in your face guitar mastery. Technically daunting, these recordings are uncannily accessible and there is something new to be discovered with each listen. Guitar virtuosity at it`s zenith. If these guys re-unite for another similar project it is beyond me how they could top this jewel.

Thanks to Joren for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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