Al Di Meola & Paco De Lucia: Mediterranean Sundance/Rio Ancho


Mediterranean Sundance/Rio Ancho


The Guitar Trio


Friday Night in San Francisco (Columbia/Legacy CK 65168)

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Al Di Meola (acoustic guitar), Paco De Lucia (acoustic guitar).

Composed by Al Di Meola & Paco De Lucia


Recorded: live in San Francisco, CA, December 5, 1980


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Their historic shows worked this way. Each guitarist would come out alone for a solo set. The third artist would remain seated after his performance. After an appropriate dramatic pause one of the other players would come in from the shadows to tumultuous applause to play in duet. The round robin would continue until the three possible combinations were heard. As the stage was emptied, the audience would be buzzing about what they had just heard. Some time passed. More time passed. Then The Guitar Trio would make their first entrance as a unit. The adulation was deafening. But as great an album as Friday Night in San Francisco was, it didn't come close to catching the true dynamics of these shows. If the album were to be recorded and released today on CD or download, we would hear the solo performances as well. You need to hear the preliminaries to fully appreciate the finals.

Di Meola and De Lucia had played "Mediterranean Sundance" together a few years earlier on Di Meola's Elegant Gypsy album. So their rapport was a known commodity when Di Meola replaced Larry Coryell in this trio. The tune begins the album, and along with De Lucia's "Rio Ancho," which is part of this two-song medley, effectively sets the stage for the acoustic magic to follow. Before an adoring and raucous crowd, the two players take little time in igniting Latin fireworks. Yes, it is a riff fest. Single notes come at you at a-millionth-of-a-second intervals. Excesses were cheered. But there is melody and dramatic interplay, too. And don't forget the crowd. They are a huge part of what was happening here. To hear such a reaction over acoustic guitar music in an electric guitar world was something entirely new and exciting.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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