l Di Meola, internationally successful guitar virtuoso, famed especially for the breath-taking
dynamics of his playing and the skilled juggling of rock elements or intoxicating Latin American rhythms is receiving a special award: At the Montreal International Jazz Festival, which takes place this year from 26 June to 5 July, the Italian-American will be presented with the Miles Davis Award on the opening evening. Every year since 1994, the Canadians have been awarding this prize to “recognise the entire works of an internationally renowned jazz musician and his or her contribution to continuing the tradition of jazz”.
21 years ago, the first recipient of the sculpture of the seminal trumpeter Miles Davis was the British guitarist John McLaughlin, who in 1980, together with Al Di Meola and flamenco idol Paco de Lucia formed the famous trio whose concert recording “Friday Night In San Francisco” triggered a worldwide wave of fascination for fast and skilful acoustic guitar playing. Subsequent winners of the Montreal award include Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Ornette Coleman, Charles Lloyd, Cassandra Wilson and Keith Jarrett.
On his latest studio record Elysium, Al Di Meola effortlessly ties together the two main strands of his work: lively rock rhythms and delicate percussion, the daring and the romantic, electric and acoustic. The album comes out in Germany on 22 May.