Capitol Theatre presents Guitar Hero Al Di Meola

Capitol Theatre presents Guitar Hero Al Di Meola

Capitol Theatre presents Guitar Hero Al Di Meola

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Photos courtesy of ICM TALENT
Al Di Meola performs at Capitol Theatre on Feb. 13.

CLEARWATER – Al Di Meola’s Elegant Gypsy 40th Anniversary Tour will make a stop in the Tampa Bay area with a performance Monday, Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m., at Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.

Released in 1977, “Elegant Gypsy” was the follow-up album to Di Meola’s debut release. The distinctive music on the album is a fusion of jazz and rock, with Di Meola’s lightning-fast guitar riffs intermixed with lyrical acoustical passages. The album was named Best Guitar Album in “Guitar Player Magazine” and is generally regarded as a masterpiece in the rock-jazz fusion music genre.

Tickets start at $37.50. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.a­tthec­­m.

A bona fide guitar hero and perennial poll-winner, Di Meola has been recognized internationally over the past four decades as a virtuoso of the highest order. A prolific composer and prodigious six-string talent, Di Meola has amassed over 20 albums as a leader while collaborating on a dozen or so others with the likes of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White, John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia, Jean-Luc Ponty and more. While his dazzling technique on both acoustic and electric guitars has afforded him regal status among hordes of fretboard aficionados who regularly flock to his concerts, the depth of Di Meola’s writing and compositions along with the soulfulness of his guitar expressions have won him legions of fans worldwide.

Di Meola holds the most prestigious guitar awards (of any guitarist in the world) from the highest rated guitar poll in the world, “Guitar Player Magazine.” His highly celebrated career has spanned a wide range of emotions into a unique style embodying the artists world inspired influences. From the velocity and heat of his early solo efforts to the challenge and triumph of the Guitar Trio (Di Meola/McLaughlin/De Lucia), from the Brazilian explorations of “Cielo e Terra” and “Soaring Through A Dream” to the global romanticism and Tango inflection of his acoustic group World Synfonia’s self-titled debut.

From the beginning of his solo career, where records like “Land of the Midnight Sun,” “Elegant Gypsy” and “Casino,” were amongst the highest selling records of any instrumental artist at that time. Di Meola continues to make, with respect, startling achievements in music pioneering while the decline of U.S. radio continues to elude most interesting contemporary music.

Di Meola, again and again, reveals himself as a seasoned gifted contemporary composer and a player of deepening grace and evocative lyricism. He has been continually sited by many of the top prominent music critics around the world for his virtuosic guitar work and compositions. His intrigue with complex rhythmic syncopation combined with provocative lyrical melodies always incorporating, sophisticated harmony at the root of these serious but heart felt works is central and foremost.

A native of New Jersey who still resides in the Garden State, Di Meola was born in Jersey City in 1954.

Growing up in Bergenfield with the music of Elvis Presley, The Ventures and The Beatles, he naturally gravitated to guitar as a youngster and by his early teens was already an accomplished player. Attaining such impressive skills at such a young age didn’t come easy for him but rather was the result of focused dedication and intensive periods of woodshedding between his junior and senior years in high school.

His earliest role models in jazz included guitarists Tal Farlow and Kenny Burrell. But when he discovered Larry Coryell, whom Al would later dub “The Godfather of Fusion,” he was taken with the guitarist’s unprecedented blending of jazz, blues and rock into one seamless vocabulary on the instrument.

In 1971, he enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and by the second semester there began playing in a fusion quartet led by keyboardist Barry Miles. A gig tape of that band was later passed on to Chick Corea in the early part of 1974 the 19-year-old guitarist was tapped to join the fusion super-band as a replacement for guitarist Bill Connors.

Di Meola’s discography includes “Land of the Midnight Sun” (1976), “Elegant Gypsy” (1977), “Casino” (1978), “Splendido Hotel” (1980), “Electric Rendezvous” (1982), “Scenario” (1983), “Cielo e Terra” (1985), “Soaring Through a Dream’ (1985), “Tirami Su” (1987), “World Sinfonia” (1991), “Kiss My Axe” (1991), “World Sinfonia II – Heart of the Immigrants” (1993), “Orange and Blue” (1994), “Di Meola Plays Piazzolia” (1996), “The Infinite Desire” (1998), “Winter Nights” (1999), “World Sinfonia III – The Grande Passion” (2000), “Flesh on Flesh” (2002), “Consequence of Chaos” (2006), “Vocal Rendezvous” (2006), “Diabolic Inventions and Seduction for Solo Guitar” (2007), “Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody” (2011), “All Your Life (A Tribute to the Beatles)” (2013) and “Elysium” (2015).

“Elysium,” Di Meola’s most recent album, features Barry Miles on keyboards; Mario Parmisano on keyboards and piano; Philippe Saisse on keyboards, piano and marimba; Rhani Krija on percussion; and Peter Kaszas on drums.

According to a press release announcing the album release, Di Meola has arrived where he always wanted to be. He himself thinks of Elysium as a “place of perfect happiness” – a paradise where acoustic and electric components, triumphant rock and finely entwined jazz, delicate and pumping rhythms, guitars and keyboards, wide panoramas of rock and diaphanous carpets of sound come together in harmony.

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