AL DI MEOLA'S KONCERT IN BAKU

Legendary guitarman Al Di Meola gave a concert on 18th May 2006 in the Muslim Magomayev Azerbaijan State Philharmonia concert hall, organised by Nazaket khanim Gasimova chief director of the Turkish company "Premier Art Management Agency" and sponsored by the Azerbaijan International Bank. This concert proved to be one of the brightest events in the capital's calendar. It was the Baku audience's first opportunity to hear this famous musician as he continued his European tour. Al Di Meola was accompanied in his quintet by keyboards, bass guitar, drums and percussion and played original compositions as well as music by the genius Argentine composer, Astor Piazzola.

Al Di Meola

Di Meola has his own distinctive style. His technique, energy and improvisational ability all drew admiration from the audience. His style and phrasing are not to be found in any other musician. Whoever hears him once will never confuse him with anyone else.

He played two guitars. His live playing alternated with a synthesised guitar sound. We have to say that the electric sound equipment produced a complicated effect from the Philharmonia's acoustics. The classical configuration of the equipment is not fully effective in all parts of the auditorium. Despite these technical problems, the concert was a success; the audience was inspired by the performance and his autograph and photographs were eagerly sought.

Al Di Meola

Al Di Meola is one of the most highly respected guitarists in the world. According to the "Guitar Player" magazine, he is one of the most honoured guitarists (Grammy, "Record World" magazine, "Guitar Player" magazine have all given him prestigious awards). He is the youngest artiste to have been recognised fourteen times as best guitarist. Seven times he has made 'Best Guitar Album of the Year' and 'Best Album' three times with his trio.

Al Di Meola

From an Italian background, he was born in New Jersey. Involved in music from childhood, his first interest was in drums before turning to the guitar. His first influence was Larry Coryell's jazz-rock guitar playing; later he worked hard and studied other forms of jazz to find his own direction. 1974 was an important year in Al Di Meola's life: he joined the famous Chick Corea in his 'Return to Forever' group. After three successful albums: "Where Have I known You Before?" (1974), "No Mystery" (1975) and "Romantic Warrior" (1976), Al Di Meola left 'Return to Forever' and launched his own solo career.
Al Di Meola

In 1976 he released his first solo album, "Land of the Midnight Sun", followed by "Elegant Gypsy" in 1977 and "Casino" in 1978; the "Casino" album arose from his experiences on a tour of Brazil. For three years in the 1980s, he played and recorded with John McLoughlin and Paco DeLucia in an acoustic group.

In 1990 Di Meola created his project, "World Sinfonia". This project was based on the music of Argentina, including pieces by the founder of modern tango, Astor Piazzola. Tango music occupies an important position in Di Meola's work. About his close working relationship with Piazzola, he says: "Astor Piazzola's music obsesses me, because this musician demands respect, and every time I listened to him I found myself creating something new."

Al Di Meola

Al Di Meola's albums "World Sinfonia" (1990), "Heart of the Immigrant" (1992) and "Meola plays Piazzola" (1996) all feature a fascinating acoustic music. His "Rite of Strings" project (1995) with Stanley Clarke and Jean-Luc Ponty also aroused great interest. In 2000 he released his "Nylon and Steels" album, which featured a variety of musicians and playing styles. He does not limit his collaborations to modern American musicians; he is always ready to work with new musicians. His project "Dance of the Fire", with Azerbaijani jazz pianist and singer Aziza Mustafazade is one proof of this.

Al Di Meola

In 2000, "the Grand Passion" was released and was well received for its particular rhythmic and melodic discoveries. Critics recognised an artiste at the height of his powers. In summarising his work, we find a serious delver into the musical cultures of different countries and a brilliant technician on both acoustic and electric guitars.

by Faig Gurbanov