One has been repeatedly hailed as one of the world's greatest guitarists; the other is Russia's biggest rock star. With twenty million album sales between them, the union of Al Di Meola and Leonid Agutin seems destined for success. For their debut album together, "Cosmopolitan Life", the two have created a unique sound, giving the term crossover a new dimension. Dreamily beautiful pop tunes meld with Russian jazz, Gypsy rhythms and Argentinian tango. Although Agutin sings mostly in English, many other languages figure. The title song, for instance, has a Portuguese chorus. The Muscovite's distinctive voice leads the listener through a variety of cultures. "People from all countries can recognize themselves in our songs," he says. "A European will get just as much from our CD as an African, American, Asian or Latin."
Each song has a mood of its own. The sunny "Tango" is bubbling over with South American vivacity. "Blue River" shows off the many and varied facets of pop music. "Portofino" conjures up a warm summer night in southern Europe. "Cuba Africa" blends African elements with Cuban sounds. All these songs leave plenty of scope for Di Meola's brilliant guitar playing, whether the artist is displaying his virtuosity in solos or providing discreet accompaniment to Agutin's vocals.
Al Di Meola and Leonid Agutin spent almost two years at work on their album. The story began in 2002 with five joint appearances in Moscow and St Petersburg. "We were exploring each other's musical worlds at the time," Agutin recalls. He was fascinated by Di Meola's sophisticated guitar riffs and rich harmonies. His partner was impressed by the great potential of the Russian's compositions: "For me, Agutin's music is not typically Russian, it is international," Di Meola affirms. From the start, his guitar playing fitted in perfectly with Agutin's songs. That was why the duo decided to record their CD in the legendary Criteria Hit Factory in Miami, engaging only the best musicians: Anthony Jackson, Vinnie Collaiuta, Gumbi Ortiz, Ron Taylor, all masters in their own field.