You only have to listen back to past attempts by progressive artists to interpret the Beatles songbook to see where the pitfalls are. Adrian Belew, Larry Coryell and Allan Holdsworth appeared on an all-guitar tribute Come Together, and Holdsworth’s fusion deconstruction of Eleanor Rigby especially proved that overthinking Lennon, McCartney and Harrison only serves to kill the magic.
These guys weren’t theoretical, they were intuitive. Al Di Meola knows this. His own tip of the hat to the band, All Your Life is lyrical, loving, and when those fleet fingers take him off-script, they at least follow the spirit of the song.
This is Di Meola in his World Orchestra, rather than electric fusion, mode. Armed with just an acoustic guitar he recorded this at Abbey Road last year, and while his collection includes some sitters for such a pared-down setting (In My Life, Blackbird, And I Love Her) his arrangements of I Am The Walrus and Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite serve to remind us what great compositions lay beneath George Martin’s pioneering production work.
You may wonder if the world needs another Beatles tribute record; this virtuoso labour of love might just persuade you it does.