Archive for June, 2009

03
Jun
09

Al DiMeola – Anthology:1975-1982 (2000)

Al Dimeola is not a god, but pretty damn close.  If you don’t agree with this statement you either should stop reading this review, or perhaps have never heard of him, or you simply do not appreciate the talents that he possesses.  If you were ask any true guitar aficianado about who they consider the greatest contemporary jazz guitar player ever, they normally will say Al DiMeola.  Although you might get a few George Benson or Wes Montgomery lovers out there, but primarily Al D will be the top choice for most.  In 2000 Al DiMeola released Anthology: (1975-1982). I’m curious why an album released in 2000 only covers up to 1982 since he has released several albums afterwards of equal stature, and continues to deliver incredible albums to this day.  His touring schedule is legendary and his performances (from what I have heard) unforgettable. Regardless, this collection choice songs from his catalog is smartly selected and well rounded.

Anthology offers us a variety of songs (22 songs in all) that truly define Al DiMeola as a master of his craft.  With each year that this collection covers you hear his playing style develop more and more; often the listener will be stuck wondering how he came up new (and incredible) riffs for each new song. 

Prior to listening to this album I knew very little about Al DiMeola yet always knew he was a very well respected jazz guitar player, now I’m a certified deciple of his work.  As you may well know most “best of” albums or anthologies offer a few good songs and then just a bunch of b-side bombs; not this album. Every song is honestly good stuff and getting addicted to wanting more that the 22 songs in inevitable. I took the leap of faith and purchased another of his albums entitled Casino (1978), even though there are few songs on that album found on Anthology, the remainder of the album is great.  That’s a cool thing with Al DiMeola albums, there never seems to be a dead spot in the track selection with any of his releases.

Another great album is Friday Night in San Francisco (1980) which is a live album of acoustic mastery with Al DiMeola, Paco DeLucia, and John McLauglin.  This album really shows how good Al DiMeola is in a live setting without the aid of studio magic.  This album is just a testament of how much a talent he actually was in music then and today.

Even if you are not a fusion or contemporary jazz fan you should give Al DiMeola a listen, I think  you will discover an artist who rises above all others.  This is a great album as an introduction or experienced Al D fan.

Al DiMeola’s Anthology (1975-1982) gets a 5 out of 5.

To see more of the DiMeola catalog click below:

http://www.amazon.com/Al-Di-Meola/e/B000AQ2VTM

01
Jun
09

King Tubby – Roots of Dub (1974)

Reggae is one thing, Dub is another. King Tubby is the king of Dub music without equal.  Dub is the root base to nearly all of the reggae beats heard today and King Tubby was its founder.  I was recently turned on to King Tubby by a good friend of mine who has the largest reggae vinyl collection on earth.  One night while working in his studio he put on a King Tubby album entitled Dangerous Dub which was supposedly produced one weekend at the height of violence Kingston, Jamaica in the early 70’s.  King Tubby and his musicians supposedly barricaded themselves in a studio and that album was produced, it is a review for another day, but truly a work of genius.  Even if it is not true it makes the album that much more fun to listen and to imagine what it was like to make this music while gunshots were fired outside the walls of the studio.

Roots of Dub is  one of the first King Tubby albums and clearly a must for any true audiophile that appreciates reggae.  Tubby’s albums reveal  the basics of reggae as a musical genre.  One of the things I appreciate so much about King Tubby albums…they are entirely instrumental! Instrumental is not the traditional route of what most people would expect when first putting on any reggae album, but remember, this ain’t reggae, it’s dub music pure and simple.  It is best not to get over zealous with King Tubby albums, after owning about two that was just about enough; every albums begins to sound the same.  Many listeners have complained that numerous King Tubby albums are simply the same albums with the songs in different order, yet packaged to look like some long lost rare find, so beware.

Sadly the brilliance of King Tubby was ended in 1989, he was killed in a robbery of his studio in Jamaica.  Roots of Dub and Dangerous Dub are musts for your collection and fun albums to just put on when you feel like listening to timeless beats.  The album is as fresh sounding in 2009 as it was in 1974.

Roots of Dub gets a 5 out of 5.