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The Grande Passion

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Album Review

A rich, moody tapestry with flashes of fire, this CD incorporates elements of jazz, fusion, classical, Latin, tango, and Middle Eastern music. Sounding like the romantic soundtrack to an excellent foreign film, it's full of splendid moments, like the wash of colors on "Double Concerto," a sinuous composition by Al di Meola's "musical father and friend," Astor Piazzolla. Di Meola interprets two more beauties from the late Argentine tango legend — the tender "Soledad" and the churning, incendiary "Libertango," where he uses MIDI technology to approximate the classic bandoleon sound — and offers six of his own. One of them, the title track, could be the most gorgeous, soulful melody of 2000, stated in ways alternately delicate and powerful; when it finally crescendos it's like the ocean lifting, with the sun sparkling on it. His "Opus in Green," written with fine Argentine pianist Mario Parmisano, is very Return to Forever-like. Di Meola has phenomenal technique and a gift for unhackneyed writing; his famous blistering runs are in here, but only when they further the music — not gratuitously added for their own sake. The arrangements by di Meola and Parmisano make optimal use of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and soloists, creating an organically textured whole rather than the stringy soup that too often drowns such collections.

Biography

Born: 22 July 1954 in Jersey City, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist Al Di Meola first rose to prominence as a blazing jazz fusion player before his playing matured and he began to conquer other styles, such as acoustic Latin music. Born on July 22, 1954, in Jersey City, NJ, Di Meola briefly studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston during the early '70s before accepting a job replacing guitarist Bill Connors in fusion trailblazers Return to Forever (a group that included such monster instrumentalists as keyboardist Chick Corea and bassist Stanley...
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The Grande Passion, Al Di Meola
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