Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Al Di Meola & Leonid Agutin
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Educational
One has been repeatedly hailed as the world's best guitarist, the other is Russia's most successful musician. And together, Al Di Meola and Leonid Agutin are simply unbeatable. For their DVD "Cosmopolitan Live", the two ha... more »
Paul Mark Provencher | Morgantown, WV USA | 12/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Leonid Agutin and Al Di Meola join to produce music that defies categorization. But why do we have a need to categorize it anyway?
Many years ago a friend introduced me to Al Dimeola's music. I played Casino almost constantly and gradually accumulated most of his albums.
There is something that I learned from following Al's career. He's always changing, always growing. Unfortunately the yardstick that is often used to measure musical success doesn't take into account that an artist changes and does not always remain static and easily classified.
Such is the case with Al Di Meola. He's explored a wide range of musical genre, and produced a body of work that is quite challenging even to a sophisticated listener.
And so we come to this collaboration with Leonid Agutin. I had no preconceived notions about this music and resisted the temptation to expect it to be the "electric Al" or the "acoustic Al". Instead I just put the DVD into the player and took it as it came.
What I got was a combination of what I already know about Di Meola's music, and everything I didn't know about Leonid Agutun (which is quite a bit). The combination succeeds for me under these terms.
If I had sat down in a different mood, and had expected to get something familiar, I would have been disappointed. Instead, this broke new ground for me.
This is world music, make no mistake about it. The rhythms are at once Cuban, Brazilian, American Jazz, Rock, Pop, hints of Russian, classical, and maybe even some Cumbia and Salza.
In one of the interview pieces Al says "this is Lennie's album", and throughout more or less takes a complementary role to Lennie's lead. In one scene where the ensemble is practicing before Montreaux, Al does behave like a leader when he coaches the percussion, rhythym and bass sections to coax out of them the more complex backdrop we are accustomed to hearing behind the stacato of his guitar. He goes on to explain how he sought to get them to reach beyond their usual routine and in doing so enrich his own performance, in the same way that Steve Gadd and some of his usual crew do.
The DVD switches from interviews with both artists and others, music videos, live performances, and documentary footage about the tour that supported this work. Most of the film footage is well done though some of the live stuff sounds great but is a bit contrasty and over-exposed.
But all-in-all, this is a satisfying DVD if you have grown as Di Meola has grown, have kept up with his changes, and can find something in the world music scene.
If you are expecting 'electric Al', you need to join the present or be disappointed. Artists like Al Dimeola and Leonid Aguta have a lot more to say and a great deal of sophistication in the way they say it.