Al Di Meola – Elegant Gypsy Suite
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Al Di Meola (born Al Laurence Dimeola, July 22, 1954 in Jersey City, New Jersey) is an acclaimed American jazz fusion and Latin jazz guitarist, composer, and record producer of Italian origin (from Cerreto Sannita).
With a musical career that has spanned more than three decades, he has become respected as one of the most influential guitarists in jazz to date.
Albums such as Friday Night in San Francisco have earned him both artistic and commercial success with a solid fan base throughout the world. Di Meola grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey, and attended Bergenfield High School.He has been a resident of Old Tappan, New Jersey.
In 1971 Di Meola enrolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1974 he joined Chick Corea’s band, Return to Forever, for the album Where Have I Known You Before.
Two more albums, No Mystery (1975) and Romantic Warrior (1976) were released during Di Meola’s stay in the band. This lineup featured him playing with Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White until it was disbanded in 1976.
Di Meola went on to explore a variety of styles, but is most noted for his Latin-influenced jazz fusion works. He is a four-time winner as Best Jazz Guitarist in Guitar Player Magazine’s Reader Poll.
In addition to a prolific solo career, he has engaged in successful collaborations with bassist Stanley Clarke, keyboardist Jan Hammer, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, and guitarists John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía. He also guested on “Allergies” from Paul Simon’s Hearts and Bones'” album (1983). He also appeared with Frank Zappa. Live at the Ritz, NYNY in 1981.
In the beginning of his career, as evidenced on his first solo album Land of the Midnight Sun (1976), Di Meola was noted for his technical mastery and extremely fast, complex guitar solos and compositions.
But even on his early albums, he had begun to explore Mediterranean cultures and acoustic genres like flamenco. Good examples are “Mediterranean Sundance” and “Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil” from the Elegant Gypsy album (1977). His early albums were very influential among rock and jazz guitarists alike.
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