With a musical career spanning more than three decades, Al Di Meola continues to be one of the most influential and pioneering guitarists in the jazz-world-fusion category, mirroring the rich influences of flamenco, tango, Brazilian, African, and Middle Eastern music in his work. Recorded in 1993 at the North Sea Jazz Festival, an event widely acknowledged as the biggest and most prestigious festival in the world. Over the past 30 years, Al Di Meola has been recognized as a prolific composer, with over two dozen recordings to his name. The profundity of Di Meola s writing, along with the soulfulness and natural lyricism of his playing, have won him a large number of admirers worldwide.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
Al DiMeola is what so many shred metal guitarists wish they could be. He can play a ridiculous number of notes per second yet he plays with a musicality seldom rivalled by the genre he helped to inspire. Elegant Gypsy shows Al in his prime, with an intractable lineup featuring flamenco god Paco De Lucia and Mahavishnu organ grinder Jan Hammer. The result is a blazing set of fusion that is over far too soon.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection
I like Di Meola's music and trying to see and hear him live at any possibility (to be honest, during last some years he is very regular in our side of Europe).And I like his different music - perfect early electric jazz-fusion albums, and later world -fusion with "World Sinfonia".
This album is real transition one. After some excellent electric fusion albums and one not very successful "Splendido Hotel" trying to change things, Al Di Meola returned back to his roots. But only in part.
Al di Meola's fifth of seven fusion albums as a leader for Columbia is a typically fiery effort, with di Meola joined by keyboardist Jan Hammer, electric bassist Anthony Jackson, drummer Steve Gadd, percussionist Mingo Lewis, and guest spots for flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía ("Passion, Grace & Fire") and keyboardist Philippe Saisse. This lesser-known effort is easily recommended to fans of rock-ish jazz guitar.
With this recording, Al di Meola thankfully left behind the pop-fusion sound that he had perfected with Jan Hammer. This was his first venture using the Roland guitar synthesizer and a drum machine. The technology used on this recording sounds dated, but the intent seems genuine. Jan Hammer's Miami Vice sound can be heard throughout, especially on "Sequencer"; di Meola places more emphasis on composition and production than on his famous technique.
Loose and spontaneous, this (mainly) live album is a meeting of three of the greatest guitarists in the world for an acoustic summit the likes of which the guitar-playing community rarely sees. Broken up into three duo and two trio performances, Friday Night in San Francisco catches all three players at the peaks of their quite formidable powers.
"Elysium" is the climax of this process so far. The artist has arrived where he always wanted to be. He himself thinks of Elysium as a "place of perfect happiness". A paradise where acoustic and electric components, triumphant rock and finely entwined jazz, delicate and pumping rhythms, guitars and keyboards, wide panoramas of rock and diaphanous carpets of sound come together in harmony. In this magical Elysium, everyone complements each other. Al Di Meola has brought together a five piece band with no bass. While he plays all the guitar parts himself, both acoustic and electric, including unbelievably fast and elegant riffs and effervescent rocking chords, three keyboard players and pianists provide shades of colour.