Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Statement From Al Di Meola...

‘This morning I received shocking news before the international news became aware that my dear friend and major guitar innovator Paco De Lucia had passed away. His manager called me immediately and the shock for me was incredibly devastating as Paco and I had an incredible history and warm friendship that I will always cherish! Paco de Lucia was  viewed in my mind and the world of flamenco as the most important of the newer generations of guitarists embodying the most advanced flamenco approach the world had ever known. While I was part of Chick Corea's Return to Forever at 19 years of age we toured Spain and it was there that the buzz about him prompted my research by buying several recordings of his. It was then I saw the potential of our collaborating one day.His technique far surpassed any other in that realm of flamenco type players and I envisioned an amazing collaboration between us!   That day happened in 1977 and we made history with" Mediterranean Sundance" . This recording Elegant Gypsy and the trio recording after that " Friday Night in San Francisco " sold a combined astounding 7 million copies, as we were the first guitarists to ever attempt such an endeavor.  His influence was major and the legions of followers in that world are for sure quite many, however it was the courage of Paco to break the mold and venture into a more unconventional (for flamenco players) harmonically challenging highly inter playable duet role. He was ready for a challenge that was deemed risky in those days where most all other flamenco guitarists would never have the guts to go. As a result the success was astounding with crowds of between 5,000 to 10,000 people per night as we added John McLaughlin to form the "Guitar Trio"!  The challenging unconventional mix that started with my inviting him when I was 22 (he was almost 28) to New York City to record on my second solo recording "Elegant Gypsy" at Jimi Hendrix's studio - "Electric Lady" with the duet song "Mediterranean Sundance" became the equivalent of a major pop hit around the world constantly played on the radio everywhere which was unheard of in non vocal music up to that point in music history. I remain so sad and will forever miss him but will remember our thousands of great memories and musical camaraderie. RIP my dear friend!’
 Al Di Meola