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The Grande Passion


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Audio CD, October 24, 2000
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$9.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Fusion firebrand Al Di Meola continues his passion of the 1990s, compositions written and inspired by Astor Piazzolla. What's remarkable is how strong Di Meola's own music sounds next to those of the late Brazilian tango avatar. "Misterio" opens the album and sets the tone with a lush, romantic setting for acoustic guitar interpolated with colorful accents of sitar and winds, triggered by Di Meola's MIDI-guitar. It's a dynamic piece that takes unusual twists, and it sits comfortably next to Piazzolla's "Double Concerto," which follows. Again, using his strangely uncredited MIDI-guitar, Di Meola emulates Piazzolla's inimitable bandoneon sound. The guitarist has assembled a phenomenal group, including bassist John Patitucci, percussionists Gumbi Ortiz and Arto Tuncboyacian, pianist Mario Parmisano, and second guitarist Hernan Romero.

With the virtuosity of his playing, Di Meola is often overlooked as a composer, and The Grande Passion underscores what a fine composer he is. String arrangements color "Double Concerto," the title track, and several other pieces, but Di Meola hardly needs orchestral frills to legitimize his already epic compositions. The guitarist has slipped from critical prominence since the days of Return to Forever, Splendido Hotel and the guitar trio with John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia (try out Friday Night in San Francisco for a great trio outing), but Di Meola spent the 1990s doing some of his best work with his World Sinfonia group and The Grande Passion starts the new millennium in fine form. --John Diliberto


1. Misterio
2. Double Concerto
3. Prelude: Adagio For Theresa
4. The Grande Passion
5. Asia De Cuba
6. Soledad
7. Opus In Green
8. Libertango
9. Azucar

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 24, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: October 24, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B00004Y2PD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,256 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rick Banales on October 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The sound and musical direction of Al DiMeola has changed drastically over the last thirty (THIRTY!!) years. The fusion speed-demon that burst on the scene with Chick Corea has given way to the mature, passionate artist that has created this beautiful album. The music he has created with his World Sinfonia group has to be one of the best examples of how an artist can be positively influenced by being open to everything the world has to offer. In Mr. DiMeola's case, it seems that the music of Astor Piazzolla has been a major catalyst for the dark, mysterious, smoldering music of World Sinfonia. The combination of DiMeola's guitar, the beautiful piano of Mario Parmisano, and the sensuous orchestral arrangements make for a great sound-think of the Gipsy Kings with much more musicality.
I would suggest any of the World Sinfonia albums to those with "big ears" and a taste for the exotic and soulful-"The Grande Passion" is a wonderful place to start the journey.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Owen McGee on July 29, 2001
Format: Audio CD
After dabbling in a lot of different musical styles in the last 15 years, some accused Al Di Meola of having lost his direction. However Al has really found his feet in the last couple of years by focusing his compositions upon his most central ability: to express himself on an acoustic guitar. As an acoustic guitarist, Al has always played with something like a flamenco or even classical guitarist's flair and one suspects that its his acoustic guitar music which will stand the test of time best. Since 1990 he has also focused upon tango guitar music and drawn a good deal of inspiration from Astor Piazzolla's music. Owing to the greater maturity of his compositions (and the sympathetic orchestral backing), this record captures Di Meola, the acoustic guitarist, at his best. The Grande Passion, featuring a small orchestra and contemporary jazz band, is important because (like what the album 'Secret Story' did for Pat Metheny) it seems to encapsulates the whole spirit of Al's musical career up to now into a symphonic whole. Though heavily produced, this album (unlike Metheny's) never sounds contrived. The music is indeed spirited and passionate and draws (genuinely) upon Latin musical styles, or more exactly Italian, Argentinian and even Cuban styles. The balance between electric and acoustic instruments (including the orchestra) on this record is perfect; a novel achievement. Although synthesisers are used, the total emphasis upon acoustic guitar, piano, percussion and orchestra on all the tracks means the music has an organic quality about it. In addition, the orchestra is not just there for 'dressing': all the instruments in and outside the orchestra play a role in the compositions. This makes the music very vital or 'natural' sounding.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jay Salyer on November 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album totally surprised me. I had really no idea what to expect. After picking up The Infinite Desire and falling in love with that, this album turns out to be similar in a few respects but ultimately a total new direction. The music is the ultimate maturing of Al Dimeola as a composer and arranger. Tracks are dreamy, artistic, and really relaxing. Several cuts, particularly Grand Passion would make good movie themes. MY favorite were Libertango, Mysterio, and The Grand Passion though they are not by any means the best ones. I loved it all!
I hope people will not expect Al to contiue fusion as it was before. His albums of the last 10 years show that an artist can not and will not simply repeat himself over and over. He has to find new directions and new ideas, or new ways to express himself. Simply put, next to Splendido Hotel and Elegent Gypsy, this may be his greatest album of the last 20 years.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on December 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a long time DiMeola fan and as one who particularly likes his world music project World Sinfonia I have to say that the Grande Passion is a little bit of a letdown. Yes, I've read all the reviews and the praise for its consistent quality. The problem I find is that it is consistently soporific. A DiMeola album is hard to review, the music is so complex. Before reviewing this, I listened at least a dozen times in different situations and moods yet reached the same verdict each time. The music is enjoyable and technically nonpareil, but it lacks the passion promised in the title. Libertango is the only cut with any musical vigor. Soledad, one of my favorite Piazzolla compositions, does not come to life here. I'm not saying that this is a dud like Scenario and Kiss My Axe were, I'm saying that the music lacks soul. If you like Al DiMeola no matter what, you are bound to like this but if you were expecting some of the spirit and energy of the first World Sinfonia CD, you are bound to be disappointed. Even the vaunted presence of a few Piazzolla classics cannot boost this to a five star rating.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
To begin let me just say that I'm not a big Di Meola fan, and that I don't give out my 5 star reviews lightly. However I do feel that his work with World Sinfonia is in general very good. This is the best of the 3 albums.
The main reason is that this album is far more consistent than the others. The reviewer hit the nail on the head when he pointed out Al's considerable compositional skills being showcased here. I do not feel this was the case on the other two albums. In fact on those albums it was always his covers of Piazzolla or another composer's piece that would stand out. "World Sinfonia" from 10 years ago was another excellent work altogether, however the standouts were Tango Suite (Piazzolla), No Mystery (Corea), and the classical piece La Cathedral (I forget the composer). In fact Dimeola himself did hardly anything in the way of composing on that record, which is probably why it was better than Heart of the Immigrants, in my opinion. The standouts on the 2nd World Sinfonia Album were once again the Piazzolla compositions (Nightclub 1960, Cafe 1930, Bordel 1900 years may be off Im doing this by memory).
On this new album Al's own compositions fit very nicely next to Piazzolla's usual masterpieces. Misterio, The Grande Passion, Asia De Cuba, and Opus in Green all go through many twists and turns and all hold up very well.
Also do not forget the considerable talents of the band here. The musicianship on this album is top notch. Al's playing here remains very recognizable, but is among his best acoustic guitar playing on record. The sidemen here, particularly Mario Parmisano with his unique style on piano, all contribute greatly to the success.
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