A true pioneer in multi-idiomatic musical melding, Al DiMeola has been marrying jazz to flamenco, tango, Middle Eastern, Brazilian, African and rock music for more than 30 years. A master of a muted picking style of his own design, Dimeola is an all-but-peerless virtuoso as guitarist, and his ground-breaking work -- as a member of Return to Forever, alongside the likes of Paco DeLucia and John McLaughlin, and as a solo artist -- has made him a deity to a worldwide music audience.
Amid all of this legendary work and the consequent myth-building that resulted from its continued release, it has been too easy to overlook one supremely significant fact: DiMeola is also a composer of merit. It's this compositional acumen that has helped to inform the lyrical nature of his playing from the beginning. The same also separates DiMeola from the hordes of technically dazzling guitarists who wouldn't know a solid composition if it crawled up and bit them on their picking hand.
DiMeola has released a beautiful new album, "Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody," and it blends elements of his genre-defying mastery in both acoustic and electric environments. DiMeola will be performing much of the "Rhapsody" material, as well as highlights from throughout his storied career, at Rockwell Hall Performing Arts Center, Buffalo State College, on Saturday at 8 p.m. Remaining tickets are available through www.buffalostatepac.org.
-- Jeff Miers