Every string taken from world - makes Di Meola more famous!
text: Olesya Ivanova , exclusively for Gazeta.kz
It is good to live in the biggest city of the country, in the sense that sometimes such stars come in our country, which hardly can be met in New York or Chicago. And even if they do attend those world capitals, it is much more expensive to get to their concerts.
Whereas, here you are, at the Republic Palace within the framework of Jazzia festival an outstanding guitarist Al Di Meola, who keeps the status as the world prominent virtuoso for more than twenty years.
Our public, which still does not get used to such celebrities visits, represents a public, which is not fully prepared for top level concerts and performances.
The organizer - a producing center Show Time promises to enlighten further on our listeners, to inculcate in them a taste to rich jazz art.
In the mid of last year a leadership of the center decided to organize Jazzia international festival. In its framework this year, on March 21 Show Time has already invited the American jazz soul musician Gregory Porter. In the project of the grand-festival tours to Kazakhstan of world stars - Jean-Luck Ponty (France) and De-Phazz (Germany) are planned.
But, let's come back to the hero of our today article.
Al Di Meola is titled as "father of fusion," a musical direction which includes elements of rock and jazz. It is now fusion compositions became popular, but in far 70-s, when Al Di Meola, a beginning American musician with Italian origins, appeared for the first time on the stage with "Return to Forever" group, his activity considered as experimental.
Well, namely due to his inventory spirit, he won fame among listeners from many continents later - in 80-s and 90-s, presenting to the listeners his interpretations: from classic string opuses in flamenco style, folk motives with national musical instruments and to symbiosis of Argentine tango and club acoustic instrumental musical "sketches".
In order not to go into much details of the career growth of the musician, and his biography is full with names of the most talented personalities in the XX century, it is worthy of noting briefly, that he was lucky to work with genius American pianist and composer Chick Corea, opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti, matchless Spanish guitarist Paco De Lucia in the "Super Guitar Trio," English rock-guitarist John McLaughlin, and American rock-guitarist of Mexican origin Carlos Santana and many other celebrities.
In other words, Al had enough opportunities to learn from musical moguls for his authored compositions, and he recorded twenty-one recordings, including his new solo acoustic guitar record "Winter Nights". A very intimate recording of Di Meola himself alternating between two gorgeous vintage acoustic guitars and a bandura (a 48-string harp like instrument) played by a musician from Ukraine named Roman Hrynkiv. The music is centered on a holiday winter theme with songs ranging from four originals, four Christmas related pieces and two well-known pop pieces. One being "Mercy Street" by Peter Gabriel and "Scarborough Fair" by Paul Simon. Di Meola's choice of music on this record combined with his originals has a particular concurrent thematic mood.
In attempt to generalize Al Di Meola activity, let me mention, that collecting piece by piece unique melodies, careful study of variety of musical composition, genres and approaches, which are hidden from mainstream and grand musical trends, became a sort of his life philosophy and secret of success of his own compositions. Thus, there is no other explanation, except for his life credo, to the fact that the musician performs about 100 concerts a year, and not just in the world capitals, but also in just big cities and Russian distant places, such as Kemerovo, Khabarovsk, Tomsk, Vladivostok.
Or there is one more fact which proves his credo: Al constantly assembles his groups, which consist of musicians from different countries, and Di Meola describes "Al Di Meola World Sinfonia 2000" as his "best group by fit in my career," which featuring musicians from Argentina, Cuba and Israel.
The prominent player came to Kazakhstan for the first time, although he was too much tired after his tour over Siberia, or more precisely, tired of long journey on the Siberian bumpy roads.
Comparing severe climate of the northern region of Russia, the southern capital of our republic was just up to Al Di Meola liking. "It is like heaven, such bright and pleasant spot after my last concert," said Al. "The thing that people from so far away know my music is so much amazing for me as a musician," added Al.
Instead Al doesn't cease to astonish his fans with original findings, which also expand on his group composition. Thus, the Kazakhstani public saw Al Di Meola quartet featuring two Italian musicians: signing from time to time accordionist, a guitarist from Sardinia, plus percussionist from New York who does not leave Meola for about 20 years.
Kazakhstani journalists seemed were not much ready for communication with the star, and asked irrelevant questions. However, the musician found witty responses, and for instance, to the questions about his attitude towards the victory of the Soviet Union in the World War II and whether he has a composition, which is devoted to this event, he joked as follows: "I do not think, that I have any composition devoted to the May 9, but if I was asked in advance to prepare something by this date, I would, of course, compose something."
Another question which puzzled the guitarist was on the topic that all people including musicians transcended from Kazakh people.
But Di Meola found a witty answer for this question as well. "I consider that string instruments originated from India, and then by various cultures were borrowed by South Asia, Africa and then up to Europe, in Spain, therefore, in some sense as a musician I may be also a kin of Central Asian people," said with smile Al.
Answers on other questions such as: "How many guitars you have?" or "What is your favourite one?" certainly, did not discover new folds of vivid individuality of the musician and add nothing to the known information about his creativity.
For the questions about his personal life Al answered briefly, saying, that he has only two daughters - Ariana, 19 from his ex-wife and Valentina, 10 - from his present wife. It is indefinite whether his children will take his track or not, but his youngest one is already sings and plays guitar.
About his hobby Al did not talk much: perhaps, our journalists after their weird questions made him reluctant to speak on intimate topics, or, perhaps, he indeed, just does not have too much time with his ultra-busy tour schedule, by the way, he has already appointed concerts for the beginning of 2009. "It is even difficult to get asleep after concerts," said Al Di Meola. Therefore, his plans about rest are too laconic: it is necessary to find enough time to get good sleep before the next concert…
One of the entertainments of Al during trips - is his iPhone, from where he downloaded photos of his family, favorite musical compositions and films.
The performance itself crossed far beyond all expectations. Although the concert was delayed already for about half an hour, and it was much vacant seats in the hall, the listeners believed that they came not in vain. When Al Di Meola appeared in a white shirt on the stage with a guitar in his hands it triggered a loud applause and cries. Introducing the musicians from his quartet Al played the first rhythmic composition Infinite Desire.
It was very interesting to listen to the precise accords of Spanish nature and melodious whether Italian or French motives on the accordion. It is without doubt, that Al innovator and experimentator, who dives in the music with the first accords, surprising with lambent technique: how it is possible with such speed and complexity of playing to get your fingers to obey? Melodies grow to a sort of music chaos, and then again were constructed into a slim and beautiful melody.
There was the only word which he deserved "Bravo."
Also in the "In Depth"
09.01.2013 2012 marked by multiple events in Kazakhstan