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Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia - The Guitar Trio CD (album) cover

THE GUITAR TRIO

Al Di Meola - McLaughlin - Paco De Lucia

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.66 | 30 ratings

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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*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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