Al Di Meola: Short Tales of the Black Forest


Short Tales of the Black Forest


Al Di Meola (acoustic guitar, gong)


Land of the Midnight Sun (Columbia 1CK-34074)

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Al Di Meola (acoustic guitar, gong), Chick Corea (piano, marimba).

Composed by Chick Corea


Recorded: New York, December 1975-July 1977


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Guitarist Al Di Meola has always been better known for his playing than his compositions. But from time to time he has proved capable of writing a very compelling piece of music. A case in point is his wonderful "Short Tales of the Black Forest." Performed here with Return to Forever leader and bandmate Chick Corea, Di Meola's quasi-gypsy piece is given a stellar treatment. The acoustic sounds of the two players dance in open space. Di Meola's sometimes percussive style can have a piano-like quality to it. That would be a very fast piano for you Di Meola neophytes. Corea is quite capable of delivering very fast piano as well. The tune is full of stops and starts and dramatic range. It is one of the best pieces Di Meola has ever written. It still boggles my mind that Di Meola was all of 22 years old when putting out this advanced music. That just isn't human.

Note: A live version of "Short Tales of the Black Forest" later appeared on The Guitar Trio's Friday Night in San Francisco.

Reviewer's update: As noted below, a perceptive reader named Daryl found an embarrassing gaffe in this review, wherein I praised Al Di Meola for one of the finest compositions he ever wrote. The problem is that Chick Corea wrote the piece! My first instinct was to rewrite the review. But I realized that my views about the tune itself remain unchanged. For that matter, the fact that Al Di Meola didn't write the piece reinforces my comments about him as a composer as well. In any case, I am sorry for the mistake. Thanks, Daryl.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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