Al Di Meola: "Vamping Over Two-Chord Songs Killed Fusion!"

The songs on Al Di Meola's latest album, Elysium, are highly structured jazz compositions, as opposed to just modal vamps over one or two chords.
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The songs on Al Di Meola's latest album, Elysium, are highly structured jazz compositions, as opposed to just modal vamps over one or two chords. Di Meola wouldn't have it any other way.

"It was vamping over one or two chords that killed fusion," say Di Meola. "There were a lot of wonderful players—and today there are more great players than ever—but there are not that many good composers. If you don’t have enough of the right ingredients in your soup, it’s not going to taste right. By the same token, if there are not enough elements in the music, it’s not going to hold your attention.

"For me, music that’s rich starts with interesting rhythms that grab you and hold your attention. That’s really number one. Then, I like interesting and unpredictable harmonic changes, and strong melody. The music on Elysium may not be for everybody. It’s more geared toward serious musicians, but that’s okay. I’m really proud of this record and I put a lot of time and thought into the compositions. I don’t want to just be known as a guitar player. I’m a composer, as well."

Read the full interview in the January 2016 issue.

Check out some music off Elysium.

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