Monday, April 4, 2011

Di Meola's World Sinfonia, Davidson's Legrand Project - Bob Stewart

Following the much ballyhooed "Return to Forever" reunion tour of 2008, guitarist Al Di Meola began refocusing his energies on his World Sinfonia band with a concert tour in 2009 and a live disc documenting the shows. Di Meola's rhythmically-charged flamenco and tango inspired originals revealed his knack for advanced harmonies along with his embracing of simple, beautiful, alluring melodies. And although he may be a romantic at heart, he showed he is still very much capable of flashing those legendary chops that graced his classic 1970s releases. On the guitar virtuoso's latest outing -- "Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody" -- the world music pioneer deals in more evocative and compelling sounds with his World Sinfonia ensemble.

French composer Michel Legrand has written some of the most memorable romantic music on film. Many of his songs have long since become jazz and pop standards. Since starting his career in the '70s, the French-American pianist and composer Roger Davidson has been as voracious in his musical curiosity as Legrand. His writing includes symphonies and choral music, small-group jazz, Klezmer, tango and a bounty of Brazilian-flavored songs. It was bassist David Finck who suggested that Davidson explore an album's worth of Legrand's songs. In "Umbrellas and Sunshine", Davidson and Finck offer a deeply original, intimate take of Legrand's music.

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