Al Di Meola
Nordstrom Recital Hall
I started playing guitar back in the mid 80's when I was a teenager. I remember reading about Al Di Meola in Guitar Player Magazine back in the day as well as seeing him on a poster collage that my guitar teacher had in his studio. I knew he was a Berklee College of Music graduate and a monster musician. I had never seen him perform live, though.
That changed Wednesday night.
Al was on his, "Past, Present, and Future" tour when he arrived in Seattle at the prestigious Benaroya Hall - home to the Seattle Symphony. Backed by Fausto Beccalossi on accordion, Sergio Martinez on percussion, and Polo Orti on piano, Al came out to a warm reception by his longtime fans.
The show was split into two 40 -minute sets. Al and company basically hit the ground running - which one would expect of musicians of this caliber - and never let up. Performing songs from throughout his career, including tunes from his latest release, "Opus", Al was just mesmerizing to watch play his acoustic guitar.
Seated in-between Polo and Fausto, with sheet music in front of him as well as an array of effects pedals, the jazz-fusion world music artist just floored me. I've been to a lot of shows over the years and I've covered many for Eclectic Arts. But, damn if Al didn't have me harken back to my early guitar playing days in that his playing inspired me to want to pick up my guitar again. Or throw it out the window. There's always that dichotomy when I witness a high caliber musician like Al Di Meola.
His band was equal masters of their instruments as well. Fausto has been playing with Al for around fifteen years or so. His accordion work was right on par with what Al and the other musicians were dishing out. Percussionist Sergio was a sight to see. I've never quite seen a musician play percussion the way he did. It was freaking elevated to another level. And Polo was in the mix all night long as a tremendous pianist. It doesn't surprise me that Al has this caliber of musicians on tour with him. He would only pick the best of the best - and he sure did for this tour.
The set also included a few Beatles tunes - one of which (Norwegian Wood) is on an upcoming part two Beatles release next year.
After a percussion solo the band came back on stage to encore with the staple, "Mediterranean Sundance". Al and the band received a well-deserved standing ovation.
At 65 years old, Al Di Meola shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. His music is timeless and his performance was brilliant. I am so glad I got a chance to finally see this master musician in his element - live on stage.
Thank you for a tremendous evening of world-class music!