Al Di Meola

Not only an acclaimed guitarist, Al Di Meola is also a highly influential figure, blending his Latin flavoured jazz interpretations with other musical styles. From an Italian background, he grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey and, after studying at Berklee College in Boston, joined Chick Corea's band Return To Forever in 1974. Di Meloa's command of various styles was immediately apparent and his adventurous technique was soon hailed as a landmark for electric guitar and he was seen as a pioneer of the 'shred guitar' style. He recorded his first solo album 'Land of the Midnight Sun' in 1976 and his subsequent albums 'Elegant Gypsy', 'Casino' and 'Splendido Hotel' found him indulging in exciting explorations of other musical styles, particularly after forging a close friendship with the Argentinian tango master Astor Piazzolla and pianist Chick Corea. His live acoustic album 'Friday Night in San Francisco' with fellow guitarists John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, sold over two million copies worldwide, making it one of the biggest selling guitar albums in history. In 1980 he toured with Carlos Santana and explored electronic music on the Jan Hammer collaboration 'Scenario' in 1983 also featuring Phil Collins, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin. He subsequently explored world music and more modern Latino styles but ear problems led him to abandon electric guitar and concentrate on acoustic playing, though he did return to playing electric in 2006. He has recorded over 21 albums, including 2011's 'Pursuit of Radical Philosophy', which also prominently features the accordion of Fausto Beccalossi. In 2018 he revealed the title of his 25th album to be 'Opus'. The record was released in February.

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