PC 34074 Land of the Midnight Sun
Arranged and produced by Al DiMeola
Released on March 1976
US CHART POSITION #139 . . . US JAZZ ALBUMS CHART POSITION #13
Find it at GEMM
PC 34074 cover (shrinkwrap)
[high resolution photo]
 

P ontificus Maximus looked down upon the little spiders ambling up the great gradient toward him. “Have a heart,” he said, and a small brown shape went skidding down the slope. Spider-shapes converged on the object; where they parted a small, brown stain remained. And so it went, insects inching toward some earthbound heaven, drawn by the mystical rites of the Santana cult and its intellectual offshoot, fusion. Or so it goes in the Land of the Midnight Sun, as every track brings us a little closer to the liberating afterlife implied in fusion’s text and subtext, music as mortar and player as pestle. If you enjoyed The Romantic Warrior, who arrived shortly after Midnight Sun was set in thin black storybook, this is a land you’ll want to visit. DiMeola is a guitarist with few peers, which is to say peerless in a given passage, and (too?) happy to articulate his intricate designs on songs like “Golden Dawn” or “Land of the Midnight Sun.” Wonderful stuff that’ll knock the breath out of you, though the same could be said of DiMeola’s early fusion recordings in general. He’s not one to shy away from hyperbole, although too much of Midnight Sun rests on his shoulders; Barry Miles never quite rises to the challenge of the Golden Dawn, Jaco Pastorius does. The closing Short Tales from Corea and DiMeola is typical of Chick’s notey wonders, a discursive discourse between piano and acoustic guitar that reminds me of the pianist’s work with Gary Burton. Also included here is Bach’s “Sarabande From Violin Sonata in B Minor,” which serves as DiMeola’s classical thesis, noting that all great rock guitarists perform one of these sooner or later. And Al DiMeola is a great rock guitarist, made manifest on Midnight Sun and the albums that followed. True fusion to the maximus! -- (the love of which is a many-spidered thing).

PC 34074 back cover
PC 34074 back cover (shrinkwrap)

TRACK LISTING

  1. THE WIZARD    (Mingo Lewis)    6:46
  2. LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN    (Al DiMeola)    9:14
  3. SARABANDE FROM VIOLIN SONATA IN B MINOR    (J.S. Bach)    1:20
  4. LOVE THEME FROM "PICTURES OF THE SEA"    (Al DiMeola)    2:24
  5. SUITE - GOLDEN DAWN    (Al DiMeola)    9:47 (total time, which I realize is less than the sum of its parts below)
       a. Morning Fire    1:15
       b. Calmer of the Tempests    1:11
       c. From Ocean To The Clouds    8:38
  6. SHORT TALES OF THE BLACK FOREST    (Chick Corea)    5:39

CREDITS

AL DiMEOLA -- six and 12 string guitars, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals, synthesizers, chimes, gong
MINGO LEWIS -- percussion, keyboards
Patty Buyukas -- vocals (4)
Stanley Clarke -- bass guitar and vocals (4)
Chick Corea -- acoustic piano and marimba (6)
Steve Gadd -- drums (1)
Anthony Jackson -- bass guitar
Barry Miles -- electric piano, mini-moog
Alphonse Mouzon -- drums (5)
Jaco Pastorius -- bass guitar (5)
Lenny White -- drums (2)
Dave Palmer -- recording and remix engineer
Dane Butcher -- engineer (4)
Paula Scher -- cover design
Jerry Abromowitz -- photography
Darryl Pitt -- back cover photo

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US March 1976 Columbia LP/CS PC/PCT 34074  
UK 1976 CBS LP S81220  
US   Sony CD 34074  
JPN   Sony CD SRCS-9180  

 

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