Al Di Meola’s World Sinfonia – Beatles and More
(Ronnie Scott’s. 10th and 11th June 2013. Two sets each night. Review by Maciek Pysz)
Last week Al Di Meola played four shows over two nights at Ronnie Scott’s. He surprised many fans, myself included, with his new project, a Beatles tribute album. Al played with his regular World Sinfonia group and mixed in some of his original compositions as well as music by the late great Astor Piazzolla.
The new Beatles album All Your Life, recorded at Abbey Road, makes use of only acoustic and classical guitars, combined with percussion. The combination has a wonderfully intimate feel, as if Di Meola himself is sitting and playing each one of the fourteen tunes in a tiny room. The sound and production of the album are immaculate.
Al’s voice on the guitar is so individual and strong, he can take any music and make it his own. From the first note you know it’s him. What he has done with Piazzolla in the past he has now done with the Beatles. He takes the music to another level of emotional voyage and adds syncopated rhythms highlighting his outstanding time feel.
Playing Beatles songs might sound like a simple endeavour, but Al has put challenges into each composition – almost like classical guitar pieces – while still keeping the song recognisable. Much to my delight, some personal favourites from the record were played: “Because”, “And I Love Her” and “Day In The Life”. Another great renditions were “Blackbird”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “If I fell”. During the second night we were treated to a great version of “Strawberry Fields”.
Throughout all four Ronnie Scott’s shows, the band was tight, well rehearsed and played beautifully, with incredible depth and precision, leaving Al space for the melody line on guitar. He is the leader by all means but is surrounded by a team of great musicians. Fausto Beccaslossi is a great accordionist and improviser from Italy; Peo Alfonsi, another Italian in the band, is really an outstanding guitarist; Kevin Seddiki, who was there for the first night did a fantastic job and is a very talented player; Hungarian drummer Peter Kaszas also brings a personal touch, in exactly the right places.
The Al Di Meola Beatles album “All Your Life” is on Innsbruck records