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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby





Al Di Meola - acoustic & electric guitars, keyboard & percussion
Anthony Jackson - Fodera electric contra bass
Gumbi Ortiz - congas & cajone
Mario Parmisano - acoustic piano, synths & calliope
Ernie Adams - drums
Alejandro Santos - flutes
special guest: Gonazalo Rubalcaba - Fender Rhodes
Jean Valdes - alto sax
Guillermo Ruiz - alto sax
Williams Polledo - trumpet
Recorded Miami - March 2002

1. Zona Desperata
2. Innamorata
3. Meninas
4. Flesh On Flesh
5. Fugata
6. Deep And Madly
7. Saffire Soliel
8. Senor Mouse

Al Di Meola is a very much a child of the early seventies when Jazz was becoming infiltrated by the fusion style guitarist, notably John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell. This was a time when a much more bravura type of guitarist was evolving with influences from many different sources including Flamenco and Rock. Di Meola picked up early experience in the band of Chick Corea and went on to record a couple of Flamenco albums with McLaughlin.

This record is a continuation of this fusion of styles, using an unusual selection of instruments. The variety of colours used only serves to emphasise the wide spectrum of sources which have served as influences on the music of Di Meola. There is a brief description of the derivation of each item in the liner by the artist himself which is a useful but not essential aid in the appreciation of these pieces.

Di Meola uses a variety of instruments, the most interesting contrasts being in the difference of his performances on electric and acoustic guitars. On the former his approach is generally more lyrical, whilst on the latter he is much more frenetic, at times sounding quite "Flamenco" but often with a hint of the sitar tonality and attack.

The tunes themselves are varied in the sense of origin of style and tend to be rather restless in their sense of pace - this is not a complaint, rather a statement of an overall impression. I particularly appreciated the selections which had a strong presence from the flute. The blend here being most effective.

To conclude, this is a fine example of contemporary guitar playing and crosses many categories. It should appeal to a wide range of listener.

Dick Stafford

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