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Al Di Meola at Michigan Theater, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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These are happy days for Al Di Meola.

The veteran, genre-spanning guitarist, composer and producer released a new album, “Opus,” in February and watched it debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz charts. It’s the latest addition to more than four decades of music, on his own and in collaborations such as Return To Forever, in which Di Meola has explored a gamut of jazz and World Music styles, winning numerous awards and playing alongside musical giants such as John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucia and many others.

The title of his 1977 album “Elegant Gypsy” aptly describes the 63-year-old Di Meola’s musical journeys, and he promises there’s even more to come...

• Di Meola says by phone that he was both surprised and “really happy” to have “Opus” debut at No. 1. And he credits his latest record company, earMusic, with helping to drive its success. “It’s a great company, a lot of enthusiasm -- kind of like the old-fashioned way it used to be. It’s a different mindset there; They’re still die-hard music lovers that are involved and really support the record. That’s something that hasn’t happened in a long time.”

• “Opus,” according to Di Meola, reflects his current, happier mindset with a new wife and a nearly two-year-old daughter. “I had gone through kind of a miserable divorce on the record before, so that came out of a really dark space. Then, when I got to the brighter side, I created this record totally in a good space with a new family and a lot of support and a lot of love. I used to go away to write all those records before; I thought I had to be alone and kind of a little bit miserable, a little bit lonely, to make my music. But this time I had the family nearby and the vibe was great and there was zero stress in my life compared to years past. You can hear that (on ‘Opus’). It’s like starting over again.”

• Those circumstances have also given Di Meola “a lot of momentum” in his creative life, and he’s currently working on four projects -- another set of original compositions, a live album from his most recent full-band electric tour, an album of Astor Piazzolla material and a sequel to his 2013 release “All Your Life; A Tribute To The Beatles.” He’s also planning to record a compilation of pieces from favorite film scores. “We’re on a roll. And in my off times I’m utilizing my studio and keeping the juices going rather than sitting and watching TV. I have a recording studio in the house now...although I tend to write in Florida. I go down there and go into this writing room I had made; I can open the doors and hear the ocean and it’s like, ‘Oh, man, this is perfect!’ Everything is very conducive to being productive right now, and I’m loving that.”

If You Do:

• Al Di Meola

• 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 26.

• The Michigan Theatre, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor.

• Tickets are $45 and $40.

• Call 734-668-8463 or visit michtheater.org.

Web Site: www.michtheater.org

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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