Paco De LUCIA, Al Di MEOLA & John McLAUGHLIN – The Guitar Trio 1996

Paco De LUCIA, Al Di MEOLA & John McLAUGHLIN – The Guitar Trio 1996

Jazz

Guitar Trio is an excellent collaborative effort from three of the finest jazz guitarists of the post-rock & roll era: Paco de Lucía, John McLaughlin, and Al di Meola. Throughout the record, the trio doesn’t just showcase their instrumental skills; they demonstrate their musicality. This is sympathetic, emotional musicianship, where each musician complements each other instead of trying to out-do the other. For jazz guitar fans, it rarely gets more exciting than Guitar Trio.
By Leo Stanley.
**
This was only the second recording for the Guitar Trio, coming a full 16 years after 1980’s Friday Night in San Francisco, but it’s a fitting sequel. Paco De Lucia, Al Di Meola, and John McLaughlin once again demonstrate extraordinary virtuosity, accelerated runs tumbling over one another until identities blur. Repeated listening, however, starts to focus on the subtle differences in nuance, especially in the compositions. Though DeLucia grew up in a tradition of Spanish flamenco guitar, Brazilian rhythmic touches often appear in his work, beginning with the opening “Estiba.” The American Di Meola seems influenced by music of the Middle East (“Beyond the Mirage”), and the English McLaughlin has strong affinities with the music of Northern India, most apparent here in his “Letter from India.” Ultimately, the impression of dazzling techniques gives way, revealing the group’s deeper empathy.
By Adam Rains.
**
“The Guitar Trio” of Paco De Lucia, Al DiMeola, and John McLaughlin join together again to perform their magic again with this stunning album. Although it has the same premise as their “Friday Night Live In San Francisco”, there are some big differences. One, it’s not live, and two, twenty years have passed. Although it is missing a bit of that live energy, this is an incredible album.
The Trio work well together taking turns soloing over the tune. The liner notes are kind enough to tell which of the guitar virtuosos is taking the solo. On most of the tunes, they each take one solo. Not only do they share the solo work, the share the composition work each taking the pen to write several songs each. The playing moves from fast and furious, to slow and peaceful. The rhythms are almost all Latin with a flamenco feel to them. “Le Monastere Dans Les Montagnes” is a good representation of both of these feels. The song is sometimes quiet, and nearly passive, and then with a burst of finger, the notes leap out at you in a rapid fire pace. The album opens with a very flamenco sounding “La Estiba”. Add in highlights like “Midsummer Night”, “Manha De Carnaval” and “Espiritu” you can’t go wrong with this album.

Once again, these three show the unique chemistry they have between them. It would have been interesting to see how this album faired if it was recorded live. These guys get better with each passing year, and I look forward to their next collaboration. This should definitely be added to your Trio collection.
By Russell Diederich
**
This is the finest guitar recording I have ever heard, certainly, in my opinion, the best recording ever for Paco, John, and Al. Most reviewers and listeners will disagree with me, pointing to the excellent ‘Friday Night in San Francisco’ as the definitive session for this trio. That certainly is an amazing date, but this recording is deeper and the playing is at such a level that I am blown away every time I listen to it. What is so impressive is the uniqueness of all of the compositions. On some recordings the tunes seems to blend together, but not on this one. All of the compositions are so different, yet so pleasing, that even after 30 listenings this CD seems as fresh to me as the first time.
It is hard for me to convey to the reader the superbness of the playing on this date. The 3 guitars are flawlessly, seamlessly and intricately weaving the music like a beautiful and complex tapestry, but the sound is always pleasing to the ear. There are no wasted notes, no irrelevant riffs made to impress the listener. The trio is creating and improvising at a level of communication that is utterly astonishing and amazing. I have never heard such power, beauty, intricacy and melody from any guitar combo that can compare to this one. It wasn’t until the 10th listening that I was able to even begin to appreciate the music on this date. I have been listening to music of all kinds for 40 years and I rate this CD as one of my all time favorites.
There are 9 tunes on the CD, all different. Some are powerful and quick, while others are slower, but every cut has some amazing moments. It is worth the price of the CD for the last cut alone, ‘Cardeosa’. This track is one of the most amazing pieces of music I’ve ever heard. I won’t bore you with any more details other than to say, if you are looking for world class musicians at the very peak of their creative powers, you must buy this CD! Listen to it at least 10 times before you make up your mind, because you will hear new things every time.
By Kenneth James Michael MacLean.
**
01. La Estiba 5:50
02. Beyond The Mirage 6:09
03. Midsummer Night 4:37
04. Manha De Carnaval 6:14
05. Letter From India 3:54
06. Espiritu 5:30
07. Le Monastère Dans Les Montagnes 6:14
08. Azzura 7:58
09. Cardeosa 6:35
**


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