I was just talking with a well-known fellow jazz professional musician, and I mentioned this album in conversation. They didn't know it. That got me thinking that there are "gem" albums that everyone should know, but may not — perhaps it's due to their age, or maybe because of playlist algorithms — and this is definitely one of them...
So if you don't know this album, please allow me to introduce you to "Friday Night In San Francisco" By Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin, and Paco DeLucia. I was also reminded of this album recently when I shared it with my sixteen-year-old son who plays guitar, and following his deep dive into gypsy-jazz he was asking about different styles of quick fingerpicking. This album was my first thought. My son quickly became enchanted and it is currently his favorite recorded album. I first heard this album in 2001 while on tour in Japan. Our band was invited to the home of one of our tour's sponsors, who showed us his listening room and put this album on to demonstrate his impressive sound system. For me, it was like a lightning bolt of excitement. I remember it vividly.
When I arrived home from the tour one of the first things that I did was purchase this album, which has been a favorite in my collection ever since.
This album was LIVE, which adds to its potency. The playful musical conversation, virtuosity, and spirit infused in this album are palpable. It is a delight. Have a listen. What do you think? Are there other live jazz "gems" that I should know about? Share in the comments below. John McLaughlin and Al DiMeola are both still touring and you can see them live. I have included their websites so that you can find a concert date near you to attend. Sadly, Paco DeLucia passed away in 2014.