INAK 7002 Speak A Volcano
Produced and Directed by Peter Sommer
Released on October 30, 2007
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INAK 7002 cover
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T his is the Diabolic/Chaos tour live at the Leverkusener-Jazztage in Leverkusen, Germany. Despite being billed as a “Return to Electric Guitar” and the front cover image of Di Meola with a double-neck axe (which did not make the trip to Germany), Speak A Volcano is a balancing act between the electric, acoustic and classical aspects of Al Di Meola. The man is an absolute fiend on the guitar; the image that stays with me is fingers flying over a custom-inlaid fretbird. As a performer, Di Meola makes a great guitarist, which is to say that as a guitarist he’s not much of a performer. His chemistry with longtime percussionist Gumbi Ortiz notwithstanding, it looked about ten degrees cooler on stage. Mike Pope never seemed comfortable and Joel Taylor sat isolated behind a big plexiglas screen for the first half of the show. As for Di Meola, he spoke few words and, during the Piazzolla pieces, proceeded to place a big music stand between himself and the audience as if he were performing a classical guitar thesis. In fact, there seemed to be an invisible barrier around Al Di Meola all night. A warmer vibe apparently prevailed at the Tel Aviv show in April 2007 (which now featured Tony Escapa on drums), so perhaps time, temperature or both played a hand. What most impressed me about Speak A Volcano is the controlled pace of the show, which builds toward intimacy rather than intensity. Oftentimes, musicians will mix allegro and andante, old and new all night. Here, Di Meola starts out with hot electric fusion (including my favorite performance of the evening, “One Night Last June”), immediately slows the tempo down (“Azzura,” Piazzolla’s “Mi Longa del Angel”) and pauses for the playful “Hypnose” (featuring Al and Gumbi in an I-dare-you duet) before a reduction down to the essence of Al Di Meola solo. The three Piazzolla pieces function as a miniature classical performance within a fusion concert. Of the three, the “Double Concerto” with Parmisano is the most interesting, but the keyboard (a mix of piano and accordion) is too loud and inverts the natural relationship. The band then reunites for the recent “Tao,” highlighted by outstanding solos from Di Meola and Taylor, and then treats the crowd to the classic “Senor Mouse” (which, amazingly, no one in the audience seems to recognize). Despite the Senor’s cold reception, the band returns for an encore, “Fugata,” which presents Piazzolla in a full band arrangement. There’s nothing on screen to suggest this was an important concert in Dimeoladom, just a big gig in a cold place with a professional band. The disc also includes an interview with Al Di Meola that covers his career and playing style.


  1. SAN MARCO    (Al Di Meola)
  2. ONE NIGHT LAST JUNE    (Al Di Meola)
  3. AZZURA    (Al Di Meola)
  4. MI LONGA DEL ANGEL    (Astor Piazzolla)
  5. RHAPSODY OF FIRE    (Al Di Meola)
  6. HYPNOSE    (Al Di Meola)
  7. RED MOON    (Al Di Meola)
  8. TENA DE MARIA    (Astor Piazzolla)
  9. TANGATA    (Astor Piazzolla)
  10. DOUBLE CONCERTO    (Astor Piazzolla)
  11. TAO    (Al Di Meola)
  12. SEÑOR MOUSE    (Chick Corea)
  13. FUGATA    (Astor Piazzolla)


AL DI MEOLA -- guitar
GUMBI ORTIZ -- percussion
MARIO PARMISANO -- keyboards
MIKE POPE -- bass
JOEL TAYLOR -- drums
Bernhard Roessle -- executive producer
Erik Nacken -- executive producer WDR
Jürgen Peschel -- design

GER October 30, 2007 Inakustik DVD INAK 7002  


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