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Al Di Meola - Casino CD (album) cover

CASINO

Al Di Meola

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.83 | 106 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars ADM's third solo album, Casino, is the last I'll consider as excellent, although it is clear his future albums will not lack good moments. Indeed, Casino even won some kind of music awards in some mag, In this album, he's backed by his former bandleader Barry Miles (ADM had played with them before getting a call from Chick Corea to join up RTF), percussion greats Mingo Lewis and Steve Gadd. One of the new twist is that the foursome form a real band with Mingo Lewis even allowed a song.

From the opening notes of Egyptian Danza, you just know that ADM's fusion songwriting just climbed up another step, as the intense tight Latino/Spanish jazz-rock, that sounds a bit less Santana-esque than on the previous two albums. The excellent Mingo- penned Chasin' The Voodoo has obviously also some Santana feel, but this is even more understandable when thinking of Lewis's previous journey. The band is obviously very much used to playing together and aside one track, the album glides effortlessly cruising from clichéd Dark Eye Tango to the blistering Corea-penned Senor Mouse (probably the stronger track with Egyptian Danza) and the rather overlong title track finale.

One of the more irritating side of ADM is his aesthetically unhealthy love affair with Flamenco, a style in which he obviously pales in comparison with the masters of the genre (including the famous trio with DeLucia and McLaughlin), and his Fantasia Suite For Two Guitars absolutely fails to convince me, much the same way the UK-US group Carmen tried a few years earlier.

Aside this relative faux-pas, Casino is an excellent album that is very worthy of its two predecessor, even if by now, the Flamenco/Santana influences are a little worn to the thread. But Casino is certainly at least worth Midnight Sun and Gypsy, so I'd have a hard time choosing one or even two of the three!

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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