Al Di Meola Joined Return To Forever At 18 With A Little Help From His Friends -
Al Di Meola photo by Nathan Thomas supplied by Live Nation

Al Di Meola photo by Nathan Thomas supplied by Live Nation

Al Di Meola Joined Return To Forever At 18 With A Little Help From His Friends

by Paul Cashmere on October 4, 2022

in News

Legendary guitarist Al Di Meola credits the tenacity of a friend for getting him into Return For Forever with Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke at the age of 19.

Al was studying at the Berklee School of Music at the time. Michael recorded Al, but there’s someone else we haven’t told you yet…

Watch the interview with Al Di Meola

Al Di Meola tells, “I was a fan of Return to Forever as far back when they were a Brazilian jazz band. I loved the music. Chick (Corea) was my favourite player. When he went electric, it was like wow, this is really cool. It was the beginning of jazz rock. I had been to Berklee School of Music in Boston and I had seen the band play”.

A phone call home got the ball rolling for Al. “I called home to New Jersey and talked to my friend Michael. I said ‘I’d just seen Return to Forever and they had Earl Klugh playing, I would give anything to play with that band’. Michael was like a Woodstock hippy, always high as a kite. He was also an amateur recording engineer and he recorded me on a New Years Eve when I was 17 years old. He had this tape of me after he gave me a tab of acid. I was on a psychedelic trip that was so phenomenal and he recorded me that night. He took the tape, he went into New York City, found Chick and his management and bothered the hell out of them tino listening to that tape, only because I said I loved that band”.

It worked. “I got a call from Chick and he said he’d love me to join the band, just like that. We had three days of rehearsal in New York City and then on the Tuesday were going to play Carnegie Hall. I went home and my parents just couldn’t grasp it. They sent a limo and my parents came with me to Carnegie Hall. On the way home my father said ‘Albert, the way you did the Carnegie Hall. It was practice, practice, practice’ and I’m thinking in my head ‘acid, acid. Acid’. That was the beginning when I was 19”.

Al Di Meola dates are:
18 October, Melbourne, Recital Centre
19 October, Brisbane, Fortitude Hall
20 October, Sydney, State Theatre

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