This is an extraordinary pairing of eclectic, visionary virtuosi each known for the intellectual depth of his music, strong lyricism, and explosive firepower. Guitarist Al Di Meola leapt to prominence as a 19-year-old when Chick Corea recruited him for the pioneering jazz fusion band Return to Forever, a role he reprised recently on RTF's reunion tour. In the intervening decades, Di Meola reaffirmed his guitar mastery while mixing cutting-edge jazz with a wide swath of world music, particularly Latin. Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba blends his classical training with American jazz, trad Cuban music, and the Afro-Cuban hybrid to forge inventive, distinctly expressive music. Rubalcaba sat in with Di Meola's World Sinfonia on several tunes on last year's Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody. On "Destination Gonzalo" the guitar and piano kick up sparks as they nip and tuck at one another while flirting with an Afro-Cuban core, Rubalcaba dashing off a frenetic improv passage while Di Meola lashes meaty electric licks in all directions. Both sparkle on a gentler, soulful, and unique cover of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields," Di Meola evocatively bending strings while Rubalcaba's piano shimmers like diamonds. Expect a revelatory evening of fresh musical frontiers.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays. Starts: March 20. Continues through March 21, 2012