Elegant, melodic, and beautifully crafted, Winter Nights finds guitar hero Al Di Meola in stunning holiday form. Di Meola's first-ever seasonal recording features fifteen tracks, with original compositions like "First Snow Lullaby," alongside touching renditions of traditional carols and contemporary standards.
It's Al Di Meola's singular style of speed and precision, his ability to reconcile energy with sensitivity, that allows him to make just about any song his owneven Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street" and Paul Simon's "Scarborough Fair." Taking chestnuts like "The First Noël" and "What Child Is This?" and making them sound fresh is no mean feat, but Di Meola pulls it off with aplomb. Another gift is his ability to conjure images so vivid, you need only close your eyes to see faraway landscapes ("Ukraine Winter Song"). Di Meola's renditions of "Carol of the Bells" and J.S. Bach's "Ave Maria" are floating and ethereal. His goose bump-giving version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is equally evocative, with lush acoustic guitars layered like warm blankets.
Always eager to explore music from other cultures, Di Meola's lineup on Winter Nights includes percussionist and guitarist Hernan Romero along with the extraordinary Roman Hrynkiv on bandura, a Ukrainian folk instrument with an enchanting sound and texture.
Although Di Meola remains a proficient player and a tremendous technician, he continues to explore music with youthful enthusiasm. The guitar legend was barely 20 years old when he replaced Bill Conners in Chick Corea's popular and influential Return to Forever. He broke new ground in 1977 with Elegant Gypsy, and his later work with the Guitar Trio in the early '80s was pure genius. Di Meola is a true trailblazer whose music reflects his diverse experience in jazz, rock, world, classical, and flamenco. Indeed, his earlier efforts have inspired many of today's purveyors of "nouveau flamenco" such as the Gypsy Kings, Ottmar Leibert, and others.
Di Meola's bestselling 1998 Telarc debut, The Infinite Desire (CD-83433), spent over thirty weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart.