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Al di Meola Plugs In for New Album

Of the Oakland Press

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Al di Meola strapped on the electric guitar again for his latest album, “Consequence of Chaos” — and has been overwhelmed by the response.

“This instrument in the United States, for some reason when you strap it on you get a completely different reaction from the audience,” says the New Jersey-born di Meola, 52, who made his mark as an electric jazz fusion player with Return to Forever and his mid-’70s solo work before branching out in other directions.

“The acoustic guitar is very beautiful, but it’s the electric that gets people nuts. I can’t figure it out — and I play it! But I think the electric guitar can be done and perceived in a very artful way. It doesn’t have to be bombastic.”

“Consequence of Chaos” finds di Meola working with some of the same musicians — keyboardists Chick Corea and Barry Miles and drummer Steve Gadd — with whom he made his 1976 landmark “Elegant Gypsy.” He acknowledges the new set is “kind of a return to that format” but also feels that he’s achieved “a future direction, with the spirit of some of that (‘Elegant Gypsy’) period in there.”

“There’s defi nitely a growth and maturity thing that’s happened in my composing,” says di Meola, who recently fi nished another album, “Diabolic Inventions and Seductions,” of solo renders of Astor Piazzola songs. “I would say I’ve gone to a different level. There’s a lot of meat in the orchestrating part of the music compared to the past, which was just basically a bare format.

“Now there’s a lot more layering of sounds and a deeper composition sense. It’s very rewarding.”

Al di Meola and the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey perform Tuesday (October 17th) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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