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Al Di Meola: Speak a Volcano

Al Di Meola

Back in 1974, Al Di Meola was the boy wonder, a shy 19-year-old fretboard shredder who rapidly ascended to international fame with Return to Forever. Three decades later, Di Meola is a savvy, seasoned bandleader and authoritative six-stringer with a vast reservoir of complex compositions from 23 recordings as a leader to draw from in performance. This excellent concert DVD, recorded on tour in Germany at Leverkusener Jazztage, covers a cross-section of new and old material while striking a balance between exciting electric blowouts and more subtle acoustic numbers.

Backed by electric bassist Mike Pope (formerly with Chick Corea’s Elektric Band and Bill Bruford’s Earthworks), drummer Joel Taylor (Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale), Argentine keyboardist Mario Parmisano, and Di Meola’s longtime associate Gumbi Ortiz on percussion, Di Meola showcases his astounding facility and passionate intensity in the service of his intricate suitelike pieces as well as interpretations of compositions by his second important mentor (after Corea), tango master Astor Piazzolla.

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