Saturday, February 7, 2009

Jazz-rock Guitar Master Al Di Meola Seduces Yoshi's SF

About fours years ago, a musician friend raved about Al Di Medola's 30+ year career and called him the best guitarist he'd ever heard. A world-renowned contemporary composer and jazz guitar virtuoso whose style is in a league of its own. I did a little research and discovered that Al has won some of the most prestigious guitar awards and got his start with Chick Corea in 1974. He's created 21 albums in addition to collaborations with legends like Luciano Pavarotti, Paul Simon, Phil Collins, Santana, John McLaughlin, Steve Winwood, Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Les Paul, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, and many more.

I immediately jumped on the opportunity to see him live with his six piece "World Sinfoni" band. We landed at Yoshi's San Francisco at around 8:45pm to enjoy some Sake before the 10pm Al Di Meola show. Al highlighted several songs throughout his storied career while exuding great passion for his latest endeavor; La Melodia Live in Milano.

The show was especially interesting for someone like me who wasn't very familiar with his work. The sounds and vibe literally took me around the world and into Al's life. The band is comprised of world musicians from Budapest, Havana, Italy (Peo Alfonsi & Fausto Beccalossi) and Puerto Rican/Cuban decent (Gumbi Ortiz).

In particular, I was blown away by Fausto Beccalossi who played the Accordion like noone. Al introduced Fausto by saying that accordion was his first instrument, but he decided to stick with the guitar. He also expressed great love for Gumbi Ortiz who has played with Al for 20 years.

Al Di Meoli won a few new friends Friday night and I hope the band enjoys their stay in San Francisco this weekend!