“McLaughlin, De Lucia, Coryell: Meeting of the Spirits” is a 55-minute DVD of a 1979 concert given at Albert Hall. By this time, these three guitar heavyweights were already legends in their respective fields: Coryell and McLaughlin in the Jazz/Rock/Fusion genres, and De Lucia in Flamenco. This “summit” was an acoustic one which was obviously amplified, consisting of songs such as “Lotus Feet,” “Guardian Angels,” “Entres dos Aguas,” and the eponymous “A Meeting of the Spirits,” among others.
This concert reminded me of one I saw in Los Angeles during the late 1980’s in which Larry Coryell (1943-2017) was replaced by Al Di Meola (1954-). The arrangements were typically structured to allow one musician to solo while the other two provided accompaniment, in an easy display of give and take.
For this 1979 concert, the first two numbers were duos beginning with De Lucia and Coryell, followed by McLaughlin and De Lucia. During the second tune, John McLaughlin (1942-) actually didn’t play lightning fast runs, a rarity in my experience!
The remainder of this short concert featured all three guitarists playing together. As a Flamenco musician, Paco De Lucia (1947-2014) never used a pick, but his speed was every bit as impressive as McLaughlin’s. With regard to solos, I felt that Coryell was somewhat sidelined at this show, as it appeared that the other two musicians received the lion’s share of the spotlight.
The music was typical for this group, combining Flamenco/Fusion/Jazz light genres and tending to stay in one key throughout, with few modulations. However, the pleasant sounds from these master guitarists more than made up for the relative harmonic monotony, resulting in a mind blowing effort overall. Allegedly, Frederic Chopin once said, “There’s nothing more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two.” Well, you can make that three!
There was some annoying background noise, but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the disc, and top production standards were used for this DVD. Bonus features included printed bios and discographies of the players, as well as a photo gallery. This disc is a must for guitar aficionados.