Cielo e Terra/Soaring Through a Dream

Al Di Meola

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Cielo e Terra/Soaring Through a Dream Review

by Thom Jurek

The U.K.'s BGO Records doesn't usually miss with their reissues. They always remaster their titles beautifully, provide excellent liner notes, and most importantly, assemble fine titles -- usually a couple of excellent, chronologically closely released ones. Not so here. What possessed the label to issue these three Al di Meola mid-'80s duds on a pair of CDs is actually rather puzzling. First is the nearly smooth jazz Soaring Through a Dream released originally on EMI's Manhattan imprint in 1985 -- this album was an attempt by the great guitarist to score a hit single or two on the then-newly formed radio format. There is nothing wrong with smooth jazz as a genre, but the music here is generally poorly conceived and performed. Next is the lightweight acoustic set Cielo e Terra, released during the same year, that is easily the best in this sorry bunch. It at least contains a couple of fine tunes such as the title track and "Atavism of Twilight." Finally, the 1987 offering, Tirami Su, was a half-hearted attempt by the guitarist to return to fusion -- the very thing that had established his reputation in the first place. Together these three albums make for a dull, unfocused and even and confusing listening experience. Avoid.

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