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Al Di Meola

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Al Di Meola World Sinfonia album cover
3.88 | 42 ratings | 4 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Perpetual Emotion (Al Di Meola) (3:30)
2. Orient Blue (Di Meola) (2:57)
3. Tango Suite Part 1 (Astor Piazzolla) ( 8:49)
4. Tango Suite Part 3 (Piazzolla) (8:50)
5. Falling Grace (Steve Swallow) (4:21)
6. Last Tango for Astor (Di Meola) (6:20)
7. No Mystery (Chick Corea) (12:37)
8. Lustrine (Dino Saluzzi) (9:12)
9. Little Cathedral (Di Meola, Augustin Barrios) (1:45)
10. La Cathedral (Barrios) (4:37)

Total Time: 62:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Al Di Meola / acoustic guitars, percussion

- Chris Carrington / classical guitar, arrangements (9,10)
- Dino Saluzzi / bandoneon
- Arto Tuncboyaciyan / percussion, vocals
- Gumbi Oritz / percussion, congas

Releases information

Artwork: Milton Glaser Inc. with Steven Wilkes (photos)

2xLP Tomato ‎- 700771 (1991, Germany)

CD Tomato ‎- R2 79750 (1991, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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AL DI MEOLA World Sinfonia ratings distribution

(42 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

AL DI MEOLA World Sinfonia reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
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.


Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the first of the World Sinfonia series of albums, Al Di Meola's infusion of acoustic jazz, South American rhythmic heat, and African and Middle Eastern modalities. Entirely instrumental, arranged in such a way that allows spontaneity between the musicians while retaining its tight compositions, this was a culmination of dreams and visions for Di Meola and a nod to World music. The record is dedicated to Argentine bandoneon master Astor Piazzolla.

'Perpetual Emotions' opens with an exciting riff and showcases Al's seductive style. 'Tango Suite' parts l and lll (part ll is on the follow-up album 'Heart of the Immigrants') move along with a spirit that reminds of John McLaughlin's 'My Goals Beyond' and leads us into the romantic, warm waters of the Mediterranean with wonderful lick-trading between Dino Saluzzi on the bandoneon and DiMeola's Abe Wecher nylon string, and the percussion of Arto Tuncboyaci and Gumbi Ortiz. The soft ruminations of 'Falling Grace' is followed by an homage to Piazzolla, 'Last Tango for Astor', a haunting gondola ride through the canals of Venice, down the Rio della Verona, under the Bridge of Sighs and past the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. The Return to Forever cut 'No Mystery' is brilliantly reconstructed in a most progressive way with over twelve minutes of music and great solos from our host. 'Lustrine' provides more music for lovers and some great playing for the rest of us, and the album finishes with the delicate, semi-classical 'La Cathedral'. Perfect for a quiet day of lamour or solitude, 'World Sinfonia' is a very special project. A beautiful record.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars When this album was originally released, I found it to be quite a pleasant surprise. When I read that Al Di Meola had gathered a band to create acoustic world music, with an accordion (well, bandoneon, but what's the difference), I expected schmaltz on the highest level. What I got was acoustic fusion of a high caliber, with flavorings from around the world.

The songs are all wonderful, and Di Meola shows that he can still play rings around just about any other guitarist. Highlights (for me) are "Tango Suite Part I" and "Tango Suite Part III", where Di Meola builds into a frenzy of acoustic guitar bliss. Another nice piece is the acoustic rendering of Return To Forever's "No Mystery".

How can this not rate four stars?

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After his glorious time as solo electric jazz fusion guitarist, Al Di Meola turned to acoustic world fusion and recorded this great album, which gave the birth to his World Sinfonia project .

Acoustic guitar jazz fusion is sometimes nice music, but have too many limitations, so doesn't have big fan base. There Al combines his acoustic guitar sound with second (classical) guitar, bandoneon (read - Italian accordion) and percussion section. Sound become more different ,warm and even nostalgic.

Music itself is melancholic melodic mix of Mediterranean melodies, Middle East touches and Piazzola's neo-tango influence. Great mix!! And you even will find RTF( more correctly -Corea's) No Mystery long version there.

All the music has it's unique sound because of Di Meola's (and team of musicians, that from now will become New Sinfonia project) unusual material reading: differently from hot emotional Latin rhythms, all the music is very acoustic, atmospheric, tasteful and nostalgic, let say ,more on Italian manner. This great result will be continued on few more New Sinfonia's albums.

Excellent album for fans of acoustic world fusion. Not too much jazz however.

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