All Your Life may be the loveliest album Al Di Meola has ever done. His affection for the Beatles material that comprises the album was no doubt amplified by recording at Abbey Road Studios where the iconic foursome did the bulk of their work.
In producing this tribute to the Beatles, Di Mieola remains true to his previous recorded efforts by working in the acoustic vein within which his flamenco skills allow him to find nuance in melodies like that of “In My Live” and “And I Love Her.” Yet however much he embroiders upon the melody and rhythm at the heart of such great songs, all selections are almost immediately recognizable and Di Meola never succumbs to technique for its own sake. In fact, it’s only in the wordy essay inside the digi-pak where he overstates his enthusiasm for his subjects.
The choices of Lennon-McCartney tunes here (none are George Harrison’s) all make good sense in terms of the concept of All My Life and while some, such as “Blackbird” and “If I Fell,” are perhaps too obvious, it may be true those selections proved irresistible to the guitarist for that very reason. Still, Di Meola doesn’t play it safe here: alongside “Michelle” and “Eleanor Rigby” (where he takes the chance of including sparse strings similar to the orchestration on the original Revolver cut), he demonstrates both courage and ambition by recording “A Day in the Life” and “I Am the Walrus, ” two of more complex pieces of music, not to mention studio arrangements, the Beatles ever attempted; yet Di Meola’s technical skill, as with the restraint he displays elsewhere All Your Life, stands him in especially good stead within the two contrasting sections of the former number, while this rendition of the latter is no less memorable: to imbue such a cerebral song with so much warmth is indicative of this musician’s approach to this project.
Recorded over the course of two days within a comparatively protracted nine-month period, All Your Life nevertheless boasts a readily discernible continuity. Simpler solo performances are interwoven within the track sequencing alongside those that contain additional percussion and/or more ornate playing. As a result, the complementary picking meshing across the stereo channels during “She’s Leaving Home” becomes an absolutely perfect denouement to the record as the closing number of fourteen tracks (coincidentally or deliberately, the same number as on the Beatles own albums), all of which are even more vividly picturesque than the glossy color photos that adorn this package inside and out.