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Al Di Meola: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody

Review of latest album from Al Di Meola

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Generally speaking, guitar wizard Al Di Meola has divided his musical attentions over the years between electric and acoustic, fusion and world music directions. This time out he splits the difference with some dazzling results. Coming off his short-lived reunion with Return to Forever, Di Meola returns to the solo spotlight with Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody, a strong and varied effort that moves mostly in the acoustic direction and features some high-profile personnel, including pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and bassist Charlie Haden.

From the earliest tracks, such as “Siberiana” and “Michelangelo,” we recognize Di Meola’s signature stamp as a composer and player, as he freely mixes prog-jazz intricacies-multiple-meter structures, rapid-fire unison lines-with an underlying melodic romanticism. “Radical Rhapsody,” as it happens, is fitting as both a title song and a self-description.

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