Photos By Stanley Abraham
Al Di Meola, acclaimed jazz fusion and Latin jazz guitarist and composer, brought his high-energy music to a sold-out B.B. King’s on a beautiful Sunday night. Playing with an experienced group of musicians, Di Meola did not disappoint his fans, playing both an electric set and an acoustic set.
Di Meola was accompanied by Armand Sabal-Lecco on bass, Philippe Saisse on keys and marimba, Joel Taylor on drums/doumbek and Gumbi Ortiz on Cuban percussion—all veteran Di Meola band members. While they were all world-class, Ortiz and Di Meola, especially, seemed to communicate precognitively, uncannily predicting each other’s changes along intertwining improvised paths.
During the second set, violinist Evan Garr was introduced to the audience as someone who had gone from Detroit to Toronto to see a Di Meola show. Given the opportunity to play for Di Meola on a mini-electric violin, his performance so impressed Di Meola that he was invited to perform with the band in Montreal. The New York audience was fortunate to have Garr here as well, where he was featured on a couple of songs. Keeping up note-for-note (no mean feat, as Di Meola fans well know), he played a rousing duet with Di Meola on “Race with the Devil on Spanish Highway.”
The music was exciting and interesting, intense and melodic, elegant and rhythmic. Di Meola brought out his vintage Les Paul guitar for this show and played with such heart that, without a doubt, Les himself would have applauded the performance.