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Al DiMeola - World Sinfonia CD (album) cover


Al DiMeola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.88 | 40 ratings

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4 stars Really, how do you not give an Al Di Meola album a high rating? The guy shows his mastery of the guitar every time he picks it up, and this effort is no exception. I’m not a strong fan of jazz/fusion music in general, but I do love world music, and particularly that with a Spanish or sub-Saharan African flair. This recording has both, including something called a bandoneon that can only be described as in the same general family as an accordion, but with a more aspirated sound. Apparently this is a common instrument in tango music, and three of the songs here are labeled as tangos.

A couple more interesting tidbits – the album was recorded live in the studio, with no overdubs or special effects. This is especially important considering the album is completely acoustic, giving it a truly world feel and that overall earthy tone that is lost on electric instruments. Beyond the guitars, bandoneon, and congas, the only other instruments are the various percussive trinkets used to inflect some cultural flavor in the music.

The music here is much more reflective and passionate than most of Di Meola’s other works, which tend more toward the elitist virtuoso than to the romantic strummer. It’s a nice ‘let down the hair’ sound for him, and a terrifically sensual album. Especially appealing are the three tangos, Suite Pts. 1 & 2, and “The Last Tango for Astor” which was dedicated to the man who mentored him in that musical genre.

I also like “No Mystery” which combines the frisky tango with a throbbing conga rhythm that makes for a danceable and seductive tune.

“Lustrine” has more of a jazzy feel to it, with heavy emphasis on the guitar and only scant accompaniment of the bandoneon. The closing tracks “Little Cathedral” and “La Cathedral” are serene and stoic, emphasizing almost exclusively the fat rich sound of two acoustic guitars and a plodding conga beat. The album clocks at more than an hour but I’m sorry to hear it end.

This is a great summer album for a trip, the park, or a walk along a quiet path with a loved one. Very romantic, exquisite musicianship, and a worthwhile addition to your collection. Four stars.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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