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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two of DiMeola's best....
Soaring Through A Dream and Cielo E Terra are two of DiMeola's warmest recordings. Often criticised for his excessively clean and consequently unemotional technique, the award winning guitarist presents some of his most organically satisfying work. Even his World Sinfonia recordings, themselves presenting a more human side to DiMeola, can be criticised for shredding...
Published on 24 Jun. 2009 by Robert W. Palmer

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3.0 out of 5 stars A real mixed bag!
Al Di Meola has gone through many changes and is without doubt a gifted guitarist capable of some really quite astonishing virtuosity on the instrument. His early days with Return To Forever were some of my favourites along with his early solo albums where he showed such fire and energy in his playing. Sadly I feel whilst his technical ability has increased over time he...
Published 2 months ago by Ian Leslie


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two of DiMeola's best...., 24 Jun. 2009
This review is from: CIELO E TERRA, SOARING THROUGH (Audio CD)
Soaring Through A Dream and Cielo E Terra are two of DiMeola's warmest recordings. Often criticised for his excessively clean and consequently unemotional technique, the award winning guitarist presents some of his most organically satisfying work. Even his World Sinfonia recordings, themselves presenting a more human side to DiMeola, can be criticised for shredding excess, these two well matched recordings are melodically satisying and richly rewarding. Soaring Through A Dream is a full ensemble recording that features DiMeola's synclavier guitar in a wonderfully musical setting; great Latin-jazz grooves delicately executed. The use of double bass instead of electric adds warmth to the affair, rendering the music less aggressive than many of his earlier recordings. Cielo E Terra is primarily an acoustic recording; solo, duo (with self) or small guitar/percussion/vocal pieces. Nothing new age about this stuff but it is a lot more chilled than much of the guitarists catalogue. Both cds warrant repeated listening - mine started when the LPs came out and has continued to date.

Tirami Su is more traditional DiMeola fare but remains less aggressive than earlier material and resonates a little like 'First Circle' era Pat Metheny with its wordless vocals and rich evocative melodies. A trio of recordings well worth what is a modest investment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of Al Di Meola's best, 31 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: CIELO E TERRA, SOARING THROUGH (Audio CD)
If I was to recommend a place for someone to start exploring Al Di Meola's music, it would be here. Here's why.

Al has had a very varied career, from his early start in Chick Corea's band Return To Forever, through his first fusion solo albums, his acoustic trio work with John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, to his more recent excursions into Argentinian Tango and other world music influences. It can therefore be difficult to land on something that is "representative" of him. However, this trio of albums, at a bargain price, not only is as close as you're likely to get, but also contains some of his best, most mature work.

"Cielo e Terra" comes first and it is a beautiful album, if somewhat uncompromising. Featuring mainly solo acoustic guitar, sometimes duets, with occasional embellishment from Airto Moreira (percussion, voice) and Al on Synclavier guitar synthesiser, this album is a tour de force of acoustic guitar music, although without Al's trademark "speed freak" chops. Although mainly original pieces, the one piece by Keith Jarrett ("Coral") is a good match for the other pieces and should give a good indication of the mood of this album, which is ascetic, moody and sometimes angular.

Al seems to be exhibiting quite a few different influences here (possibly including Ralph Towner and modern classical guitarist/composers, such as Stepan Rak), but all the music has that "magic realism" sheen of a well produced Di Meola album. Of all his albums, this is the one that could most credibly appear on the ECM label. :) Standout pieces include the opening "Traces of a Tear", the title track, Al's rendition of "Coral", "Enigma of Desire" and "Etude". This is my favourite of all his albums.

Next up is "Soaring Through A Dream", the album that many believe was Al's attempt to "out Metheny" Pat, although being in possession of most of Pat's back-catalogue, I'd disagree. True: "Traces of a Tear" makes a welcome return as a song, now in a band format, and its development does owe something to Pat's "Are You Going With Me". It also follows a band with the same format (with Airto again on percussion/voices, acoustic bass, piano and drums).

This album leads with the Synclavier as his main instrument, so those of you looking for tons of those searing electric guitar riffs again will be disappointed. However, this is a mature album, with some very well composed, romantic and Brazilian influences, and some of that trademark acoustic flash reserved for the final title piece. Standout pieces include "Capoeira", "Traces", and the wonderfully dramatic title track, where he also allows himself some of those "Friday Night" acoustic solo riffs.

The final album of this collection, "Tirami Su" is where the searing guitar of his earlier solo albums returns, as well as some more jazz-infused electric work. However, its not quite the same. Whilst some of Al's earliest albums ("Casino", "Elegant Gypsy" and "Electric Rendezvous") owe much to Chick Corea, and have been the curriculum of many later rock/progressive guitarists (including Vinnie Moore, Paul Gilbert and, especially, John Petrucci, who seems to idolise Al in his playing), here we have something different. More challenging melodic phrasing; more control of the fire; more original ideas; a more modern touch (using a PRS rather than a Les Paul). The Synclavier guitar is here too, although not so prominent, as well as more acoustic excursions.

This one is more a mixed bag: the slick fusion of "Beijing Demons" is far above the standard set by earlier albums, whereas "Rhapsody of Fire" is a unique piece: mainly solo acoustic guitar (with some doubled overdubs) and Brazilian percussion. There's also a fine rendition of Chick Corea's "Song To The Pharoah Kings", which seems at once to be modern reincarnation of "Return to Forever", Al's version of the the "Eletrik Band", and maybe a little tongue in cheek challenge to Frank Gambale. Standout songs also include "Arabella" and the dramatic "Song With a View", which matches "Soaring" for its drama and romanticism, while adding an anthemic electric guitar solo outro (live, he'd often quote "Layla" in this solo).

So, overall, a must-have trio of albums from Al.

A final word: Al di Meola can divide opinion amongst jazz enthusiasts and musicians. Some accuse him of being technically focused (he is regarded by many to be the most prominant technically, along with others such as John McLaughlin and Allan Holdsworth). Others point to the fact that he's too influenced by Chick Corea, or that he doesn't have his own "voice". However, Al is capable of simply beautiful music, inventive melodies and harmony, and stunning technical accomplishment. My suggestion is simply to listen for yourself and these three albums are probably the best place to start.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Dimeola's manhatten albums, 22 Feb. 2010
This review is from: CIELO E TERRA, SOARING THROUGH (Audio CD)
This well filled 2 disc set contains all 3 of Dimeola's Manhatten label albums from the mid to late 80's (cielo e terra, Soaring Through a dream & Tirami Su)

The first album is the acoustic based 'cielo e terra' which is amongst his finest albums and at the time was quite a departure from his electro fusion based albums. This album showed a more mature compositional style and a definite jump in playing technique both of which served the music very well indeed. This album would more than hint at the direction he would explore in his later world sinfonia albums.

In 'Soaring thro a dream' and 'tirami su' Dimeola would explore the guitar synclavier and these took a different direction whilst building on his earlier electro fusion albums with 'metheny esque' and world influences incorporating some vocalise type wordless renderings. Both albums are energetic still with plenty of fiery electric jazz fusion guitar work, but extend the format to incorporate the new influences.

The remastering is very good, though the original recordings were very fine anyway.

At this price this is a give away.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A real mixed bag!, 1 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: CIELO E TERRA, SOARING THROUGH (Audio CD)
Al Di Meola has gone through many changes and is without doubt a gifted guitarist capable of some really quite astonishing virtuosity on the instrument. His early days with Return To Forever were some of my favourites along with his early solo albums where he showed such fire and energy in his playing. Sadly I feel whilst his technical ability has increased over time he has somewhat lost his ability to inspire me musically having replaced those beautifully crafted progressions that always had a sense of direction, energy and melodic interest with clever technical composition that never really states anything like a canvas covered in colour but lacking any coherent picture, resulting in a kind of vague musical meandering which I find deeply dissatisfying. Watching his performance recently on a 2008 RTF reunion DVD I got the same impression of a great musician who a lot of the time sounded uninspired and unable to express himself in the way I most remember him being able to. Whilst Chick Corea gives a blistering performance powering his way through the old material with a freshness and enthusiasm which made it sound as if it had only just been written.

Of the albums here Souring Through A Dream seems the strongest. It has a real sense of direction and the band seem to compliment each other building something greater than the sum of the individual parts. It has that Pat Metheny feel to it but Al certainly does enough to make it feel like his own. This album grows on you and it's probably worth buying for this alone.

Cielo E Terra is beautifully recorded and has some fine acoustic playing but again lacks any musical direction or interest to me. Despite repeated listenings I've never really warmed to it but am happy to listen to it in the background. .

Tirami Su I find almost impossible to listen to, it sounds uninspired and as if the backing has been 'bolted on', the least musically expressive of the three. People seem to rave about his rendition of 'Song To The Pharaoh Kings' but it pales in comparison to the original. The thing I find most surprising is that he brings nothing new to it at all, it is simply reproduced in an almost bland expressionless way which for me the first half of the track fails to work on any level, its only redemption coming half way through with the addition of the pianist. The final track 'Song With A View' is a great example of where Al in his early days would have added a solo that lifted the listener and took them on a journey of discovery. Instead we get a solo that sounds so uninspired I'm jumping for the stop button on the CD player with frustration.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of Al's best !, 9 April 2012
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os - See all my reviews
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This review is from: CIELO E TERRA, SOARING THROUGH (Audio CD)
Fan's of Al Di Meola will lead little persuasion to invest in this beautifully remastered, value pack that collects three of the guitarists most interesting and enjoyable albums from the early to mid 1980's. What is particularly intriquing about this collection is that it counters the notion that Al is all about technique rather then depth or variety of expression.From the ambient strains of 'Cielo E Terra' to the more relaxed fusion of 'Soaring..' and World music inflections of 'Tirami Su',the focus is generally on melody and arrangement rather then showboating.The result is a highly listenable and diverse collection that flows along in a very entertaining and engaging fashion from start to finish.

'Cielo E Terra' is perhaps the star of the bunch and quite unlike anything Al had attempted in previous recordings.The album consists of atmospheric Latiny acoustic based instrumentals supported with guitar synthesizer.Here Al is reaching for something really beautiful and innovative,he succeeds because he looks for a total sound 'picture' rather then creating tunes whose only purpose is to highlight aspects of his prodigious facility on the guitar. This set is worth buying for this album alone, it is that good.'Soaring Through a Dream' is an attractive album but overall less memorable then the excellent 'Tirami Su',but it still has its moments and is well worth getting to know.'Tirami Su' Al manages to combine exotic musical textures and rhythms into a style that allows for some of his old style staccato based guitar runs some air ('Rhapsody of Fire' and 'Song to the Pharaoh King's')to great effect but not at the expense of overall musicality.

Overall then , this set is well worth investigating- great music and sound and interesting sleevenotes. Shame all reissues can't be this good!.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jazz Fusion at its best!, 15 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: CIELO E TERRA, SOARING THROUGH (Audio CD)
Two excellent classic cds im one package. Both rare finds and for an acceptable price. Item was in perfect condition and very well packed. Jazz fans will love this gem!
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Al, you'll love it, 3 April 2013
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This review is from: CIELO E TERRA, SOARING THROUGH (Audio CD)
What can I say...flawless guitar playing, gorgeous music. If you know Al, you'll probably have these already - if you don't, well check it out.
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CIELO E TERRA, SOARING THROUGH
CIELO E TERRA, SOARING THROUGH by Al Di Meola (Audio CD - 2009)
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