Simplicity and complexity unite for the most beautiful tribute to The Beatles ever recorded. An organic microcosm of sound that develops its own unique pulse for the listener.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
The music of the Beatles invokes powerful memories for some of us. When I was younger and working the all night show at a local rock station there was a homeless man who slept in the covered entrance to the station. As I arrived for show prep the man always asked that I play "Golden Slumbers." When I would get off the air the homeless man was normally in the alley behind the station passed out with a vodka bottle close at hand. A few weeks later I read that "Red" as he was known had passed away, that night I played "Golden Slumbers" and continued each night until I left the station some two years later.
Al Di Meola's All Your Life invokes powerful memories. These are tales of the imagination, lyrical excursions that are celebratory journeys down the harmonic road less traveled. Far more than a collection of improvisational covers, Al Di Meola presents an intimate and emotional transformation of the work of Lennon and McCartney that are deceptively subtle reminders of the almost spiritual reformation possible when the technician takes a back seat to the virtuoso talent of perhaps the finest guitarist of our time. A former editor would often caution my use of the words "virtuoso" or "brilliant" as one can appreciate the subjectivity of taste. The blatantly obvious will always speak for itself as it does with this stunning collection. The Moroccan influence of "Eleanor Rigby" has a smoldering intensity while the deconstructed organic elegance of "I Am The Walrus" presents this tune in an entirely different light. The amazing acoustic textures of "With A Little Help From My Friends" create colors you can hear, that elusive three dimensional harmonic depth of field that when found is simply breathtaking.
A reference to this release as a tribute to the Beatles is a bit misleading. Arrangement can make or break any "cover" but with All Your Life the melodies are never mangled but magnificently deconstructed and then reassembled with an end result that attacks on both the visceral and cerebral fronts. There is an inherent danger in making a recording such as this with the primary stumbling block being the inevitable comparisons made to the originals. Al Di Meola stays true to his artistic integrity but graciously offers up his own perspective through this recording of just how powerful these musical memories are.
Genius is never reviewed, it is celebrated.
A perfect recording.
Tracks: In My Life; And I Love Her; Because; Michelle; I Will; Eleanor Rigby; Penny Lane; Blackbird; I Am The Walrus; Day In The Life; Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite; With A Little Help From My Friends; If I Fell; She's Leaving Home.