For some of us the social distancing rules that Covid-19 has brought about are torture and the self-isolation rules are a prison. The virus itself is a black cloud that dampens our spirits and darkens our moods, a devilish presence that constantly haunts our souls. But there is a silver lining. We have had to find new things to do in the time we used to spend with friends – things to keep ourselves occupied, to keep us amused, to keep us sane. We didn’t want to be shaken up in this way but it has opened our eyes to futures we would never have seen in the years Before Covid.
Crotchety Man saw the gilding at the cloud’s edge and grasped the opportunity to ditch the ugly Facebook and find new online communities. Contacts there have provided a fresh stream of stimulus for a fading imagination and a flagging blog. There have already been several posts here inspired by the Hubzilla collective and here’s another dazzling example.
This is a tune that first appeared on Al Di Meola’s Elegant Gypsy album in 1977. It is a blend of jazz and flamenco performed, on the album, as a duet between Di Meola and Paco De Lucia. In the YouTube video Di Meola and De Lucia are joined by John McLaughlin to give us a trio of guitar virtuosos. And their performance brightened the Crotchety Listening Booth like a shaft of Mediterranean sunlight breaking through a gap in the Corona clouds.
Those three guitarists recorded three albums together: Friday Night in San Francisco, a critically acclaimed live recording from 1981; Passion, Grace and Fire, a studio release from 1983; and The Guitar Trio, another studio album from 1996. For me, the live performances work best as a videos but the higher quality sound of the studio albums is more rewarding when you’re curled up on the sofa, headphones on, basking in the memory of a warm summer’s evening.
Wikipedia, the trip advisor to the online world, notes several other Al Di Meola collaborations. I was particularly intrigued by The Rite of Strings with Stanley Clarke and Jean-Luc Ponty. It’s not mentioned at all on Spotify or iTunes, although it is available as a CD through Discogs and Amazon. A copy has been ordered and I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead.
If an unexpected blaze of sunlight shines over Crotchety Mansions in a few days time you can be sure I’m dancing with messrs. Di Meola, Clarke and Ponty.