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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radical and Superb
When I saw them in concert a couple of years ago, DiMeola's current band struck me as being between several stools. Accordion + loud electric guitar? Heavy drums + no bass or keyboards? It was a strange sound & combination, and I felt that their new material could do with some added band members & orchestration to bring the tunes to life. "Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody"...
Published on March 22, 2011 by Owen McGee

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The harmonies are indeed challenging
I like most of his other efforts, this one I just don't connect with. He is marvelously proficient technically, as always.
Published 12 months ago by RNVLD3


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radical and Superb, March 22, 2011
This review is from: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (Audio CD)
When I saw them in concert a couple of years ago, DiMeola's current band struck me as being between several stools. Accordion + loud electric guitar? Heavy drums + no bass or keyboards? It was a strange sound & combination, and I felt that their new material could do with some added band members & orchestration to bring the tunes to life. "Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody" does this...and more.

I would call this an uncompromising, inventive & artistic record, coming after a five-year hiatus in DiMeola studio recordings. I will try and explain.

In common with Pat Metheny, DiMeola has done many fine records where, in addition to great instrumental skills, the music can sound like a pop or rock record in terms of its production. Call it 'mainstream' or 'commercial' if you wish. That has a plus & a downside, the plus being its great musicality (to a higher level than pop/rock guys can offer), the downside being the music or melodies can sound a little too familiar or 'eager to please', even if they avoid the blandness of so-called 'smooth jazz'. Some of DiMeola's best records in the last 20 years have been 'World Sinfonia' albums, as is this one, but those records, while not 'mainstream', also had an easily recognisable, or 'feel at home', sound, due to their heavy reliance on Astor Piazzolla material. By contrast, there are no Piazzolla tunes on this album. Instead, along with two cover versions, there are 13 original compositions all of which throw a 'curve ball' at the listener in the sense that they feature compositional turns, improvisations & orchestrations that will not remind you of anything else. I say this as someone who has heard all DiMeola's albums and much else besides. If this record reminds me in any way of any other recording, it might be Chick Corea's "Ultimate Adventure", if only due to its very free-spirited, imaginative & open-ended approach, but I think "Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody" actually far outshines that album in terms of compositional depth and inventive, while never repetitive, musical development. There is not a single lazy moment on this album in terms of content or style.

The album is recorded, mixed & produced brilliantly. There is an equal amount of electric & acoustic guitar playing on this album, and it is strictly a pure nylon-string acoustic & clean-toned electric sound (which pleases me, for one, as DiMeola sometimes relies a little too heavily for my tastes on MIDI effects). I think this album represents the ever-growing maturity & development of DiMeola as a musician in more ways than one. For one thing, I would consider this as the most jazzy of DiMeola's solo albums to date and yet it is also characterised by longstanding (if not very jazzy) DiMeola styles, such as sensitive nylon string playing (evident since the mid-80s) and highly rhythmic, not exactly 'swinging', twists & turns involving heavy snare drums & solid-body electric guitar (evident since the mid-70s). Not until track 10 does a tune in 4-4 appear! The combination of all three factors actually works, however, to such a degree that this is constantly a musically stimulating, challenging and at the same time warm & richly harmonic sounding record. The latter point is worth stressing, because with all these contrasting elements the music could have ended up cacophonic, which it is not, or so tight that jazz improvisations are missing, which they are not.

To conclude, I would say this is DiMeola's best album since 'The Grande Passion' while in terms of its melodic content it actually outshines that album in at least one sense, namely its non-reliance on the use of a single 'traditional' & 'familiar' musical phrase, from start to finish. If the key to artistic brilliance is to create something that will never remind you of anything or anybody else, maybe one could say that DiMeola has truly realised his artistic potential with this album, which provides very fresh listening.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich!, March 27, 2011
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This review is from: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (Audio CD)
"Flying" is the word I can best use to describe the joyous sensation I felt when listening to this CD! It's rich, inspiring and takes me out of this world of chaos to a higher place. Thank you Al Di Meola! Thank you for a wonderful concert in Nashville too! Please visit us again soon! We love you!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dimeola delights!, November 19, 2011
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I have been a fan of Al Di Meola for over 25 years. This man is a phenomenal musician and composer who isn't afraid to try new musical styles. I loved Elegant Gypsy (blazing guitar). I revisit much of his early work, but this is different and is just as impressive. The music is so beautiful and mesmorizing...it is transformative. This man plays with the same passion and fire as he did on Gypsy, but the music here has an intensity all its own. I cannot stop listening to it. Here's another interesting observation...it always sounds new (every listening session is great). If you enjoy an artist who truly epitomizes what the term "artist" really means, Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody showcases this perfectly. This is MUSIC. Enjoy the experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Tunes from the Master, June 9, 2011
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This review is from: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (Audio CD)
When I hear a recording that I enjoy, I like to read the negative comments as well as the positive ones so as to temper my enthusiasm. OK, so Al DiMeola's sound is instantly identifiable. So we have heard similar sounds from him before. So there is nothing here that is radically new. Well, all that is true to an extent but I would think that DiMeola's fans would expect a little continuity in his sound.
It's been quite some time since Al DiMeola introduced his World Sinfonia. But it's also been quite some time since he has revisited the concept. In case you haven't been paying attention, there have been numerous recorded digressions meeting with varying degrees of success in the last decade. So here on Pursuit of a Radical Rhapsody he reintroduces the formula which largely propelled his career through the 1990s. And though it is sometimes familiar it is never quite the same.
The opening tune, Siberiana, instantly takes me back to the time of Heart of the Immigrants. Then a few cuts later, Gumbiero will take you back to his earliest years. That Way Before evokes the days of Orange and Blue before electrifying the listener with the superb Fireflies. Further evidence of DiMeola's continued masterful sampling of international musical textures is to be found on Mawazine Pt 2.
Now I don't claim that this is one of his best, far from it. I certainly could have done without his covers of Strawberry Fields and Over the Rainbow. But there is a lot to like even in the tunes I left unmentioned.
The CD is accompanied by an eight-page booklet that contains song info, pictures, and the usual thank yous to all and sundry. It comes housed in a standard jewel box casing. If you are more than just a casual fan of Al Dimeola, Pursuit of a Radical Rhapsody is yet another in a long line of his albums that deserves a place in your collection. Get it while you still can and enjoy it for what it is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!, June 9, 2011
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This review is from: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (Audio CD)
This is an incredibly off-the-wall effort by Al DiMeola, with a space-cajun flavor that is very different and new. The odd-measure tunes and some of the incredibly fast passages my be a bit maddening at first, but you get used to it, and the appreciation sets in. Not jazzy - this is a bold experiment in time and rhythm, with impeccable musicianship. I love this CD - maybe you will too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody, April 18, 2011
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This review is from: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (Audio CD)
After a long career of technical mastery on the guitar spent crossing back and fourth across many genres of music, Al has finally arrived as a truly world class composer. This CD is a masterful mix of jaw dropping enhanced acoustical work, soulful electric, beautiful melodies, and thoroughly engaging tunes. Even family members at my home that just never got Al's music dance about when this disk is on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Jazz and are a fan of the guitar... you will this new project from Al Di Meola, January 2, 2014
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.... This artist is "one in a million...! Truly unique! Very advanced Music from one of Guitar Players' Magazine "Guitarists of the Year" .... Al holds the title for a couple of years!!!!! Cheers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars al dimeola, September 8, 2013
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This review is from: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (Audio CD)
I was wondering what i'd get with this one. I hadn't been paying much attention to al's playing for a few years. what do I get ? a great new album from a an excellent guitar player.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The harmonies are indeed challenging, July 30, 2013
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This review is from: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (Audio CD)
I like most of his other efforts, this one I just don't connect with. He is marvelously proficient technically, as always.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC !!!!!!!, December 25, 2011
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This review is from: Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody (Audio CD)
This is another great CD from Al De Meloa !!! You got to have this one to hear it is GREAT !!!!
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Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody
Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody by Al Di Meola (Audio CD - 2011)
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