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Al Di Meola

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 have created a unique sound, giving crossover a new dimension. Is this sophisticated pop for adults, then? Or popular world music? No matter, the sounds created by this fantastic duo will seduce every music-lover. Dreamily beautiful pop tunes meld with Russian jazz, Gypsy rhythms and Argentinian tango. Although Agutin sings most of the numbers in English, he keeps inserting passages in other languages. The title song, for instance, has a Portuguese chorus. The Muscovite´s distinctive voice leads the listener through the widest variety of cultures. "People from all countries can recognize themselves in our songs," he says.
Each song has a mood of its own. "Portofino" conjures up a warm summer night in southern Europe. "Cuba Africa" blends African elements with Cuban sounds. All these songs leave plenty of scope for di Meola´s excellent guitar playing, whether the artist is displaying his virtuosity in extended solos or providing discreet accompaniment to Agutin´s singing.
The result was a masterwork that took time to mature. Al di Meola and Leonid Augutin spent almost two years at work on their album. Things began in 2002 with five joint appearances in Moscow and St Petersburg. "We were exploring each other´s musical worlds at the time," Agutin recalls. He was fascinated by di Meola´s sophisticated guitar riffs and rich harmonies. His partner was impressed by the great potential of the Russian´s compositions: "For me, Augutin´s music is not typically Russian, it is international," di Meola affirms. From the start, his guitar playing fitted in perfectly with Agutin´s songs.
A man who has sold more than nine million records around the world surely needs no further introduction. Just to remind you: the American Al di Meola began his career with the band "Return to Forever", and this ensemble won a Grammy when he was only 19. After that he released a large number of solo albums, adding to his fame in the 1980s with the legendary trio of Al di Meola, Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin. He was no less popular for his partnership with Stanley Clarke and Jean-Luc Ponty in 1995. What could be next? The CD "Infinite Desire". It spent over three months of 1999 in the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts, climbed to Number 3 in the German jazz charts and was at the top of the Italian jazz charts for eight weeks. The follow-up albums enjoyed similar success. For example, "Flesh on Flesh" received highly appreciative reviews in 2002.
Leonid Agutin is another darling of the critics. Born in Moscow, he studied piano there and began writing for Russian musicians in 1991 his 1994 debut "The Barefoot Fella" made him a star in his homeland. He was named Singer of the Year in Russia and received further awards for Song and Album of the Year. Six more CDs followed, after which Augutin was the headliner at all the big concerts and made an appearance in every major TV show. In his native land alone, he has sold more than ten million albums. Since 1996, he regularly tours the USA. The Americans love him now as much as his own countrymen do. No wonder: Augutin is a world citizen, seeking to build cultural bridges with his music.
He should find that easy enough in "Cosmopolitan Live" with Al di Meola at his side. Together, the pair climb every musical mountain. No matter whether they are dancing lightly through the day or have taken time out to dream, this duo has the right sound for every frame of mind. Enjoy every song, then ...
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