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Al Di Meola - Elegant Gypsy CD (album) cover

ELEGANT GYPSY

Al Di Meola

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.26 | 530 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Second solo album by the Italian-origined American guitarist who had a strong Spanish desire, Elegant Gypsy is usually regarded as his best solo album, even if this writer begs to differ! Indeed, EG draws on the same kind of fusion jazz-rock of Return To Forever, crossed with Santana's better moments (from Caravanserai to Borboletta) and Mahavishnu Orchestra's first period. Graced with a typical tasteless romantic late 70's artwork (the disastrous and XXX fantasy of Gypsy women portrayed by Carmen the group), Stevie Nicks, the Wilson sisters of Heart and more), this album is nevertheless a real strong outing, although a bit too close to the previous Midnight Sun.

Flight over Rio cannot escape comparison with Santana, mostly due to the Latin-fusion percussions, but ADM's guitar tone is a bit too resembling also. Midnight Tango starts out well enough, but by mid-track it can't escape a cheesy fondue moments (although it could please some progheads) that lasts the rest of the track, until an atrocious (well ill-advised) pzercussion solo, that's been done better elsewhere. Mediterranean Sundance is a Flamenco piece, where ADM tries to impress (he gets by), but obviously is nowhere Paco DeLucia. I'm not sure this type of choice is judicious to ADM's career.

On the flipside, Race With the Devil is another Santana-inflicted track that seems to be what ADM does best. A fairly insignificant acoustic guitar short piece follows, then the album plunges into the title track suite, which is need the album's highlight with Flight Over Rio. On this track, we approach the perfection of the debut album's title track. Definitely not quite as interesting as the Midnight Sun debut album, EG is still an interesting and worthy JR/F album that should easily find its place on your shelves, but it should remain a lesser work of the genre.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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