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Al Di Meola - Elegant Gypsy CD (album) cover

ELEGANT GYPSY

Al Di Meola

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.27 | 542 ratings

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JJLehto
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The first time I heard the name Al Di Meola was back in my pure metal days. I read that shredding actually had it roots in Jazz Fusion, and one big influence was Al Di Meola, especially his album "Elegant Gypsy". Well, I finally have it and let me say it is an amazing piece of music. Jazz Fusion at its finest. Al is truly an amazing guitarist, but all the musicians on this album are wonderful. Elegant Gypsy has it all. Soft, mellow jazz. Wild jazz fusion. Beautiful guitar work and electric guitar shredding, yes actual shredding. Some amazing solos can be heard on this album.

Flight Over Rio. Begins with a slow guitar melody, backed up by weird sounds and soon a nice drum beat. There is some great keyboard as well! A groovy bass riff and some bongos quickly give way to an explosion of Latin Jazz. The middle section is great, especially the guitar/keyboard harmonies. There are some great dueling guitar and keyboard solos backed up by some wonderfully funky bass and Latin drumming. Things slowly decelerate and it ends right where the song began. The guitar solos are nice, and fairly melodic.

Midnight Tango. The song begins gently, and features some beautiful solos by Di Meola over an amazing bass riff, enchanting keyboard, and an smooth bongo/drum beat. Overall, its a fairly slow, song and much less upbeat sounding then the first. I was in heaven during the last minute or drum madness!

Mediterranean Sundance. My favorite song on the album. This might be the fastest song on the album, with crazy shred like jazz fusion solos throughout and some wonderful dual harmonies between Di Meola and Paco, (Paco himself shows off some virtuoso skill). In fact this song is almost all them, with very little percussion or anything else for that matter. Sit back and enjoy the beautiful yet extremely fast paced harmonies and solos! A perfect song.

Race With Devil on Spanish Highway. My second favorite on the album, (and a close second) starts with a cool bass riff and some random, kind of heavy guitar, with bursts of speed. It is a very progressive song with crazy tempo and style changes throughout, and even in slower sections there are random bursts of jazz fusion. Shortly before 3 minutes one of the shred solos come in, followed by a slower ambient section mostly about the synth and drums. This song also has some of the grooviest bass riffs you'll hear. A little before 5 minutes is a frantic, insanely fast section with dual guitars, soon followed along by bass and keyboards. Nice ending as well.

Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil. A short transition song. Very soothing.

Elegant Gypsy Suite. A 9 minute song, this is also the most progressive on the album. Complex, layered, and runs the gambit of music. Anything you can imagine is on this song, and the musicianship can not be understated. They are all great, and each contribute perfectly. A very proggy, jazz fusion song that has some really weird sounding parts. What's not to love!?

Elegant Gypsy is one of those rare albums. One of those no doubt five star albums. It is short, but what does that really matter? What's here is amazing. I love every song, and have no problem listening to whole thing straight. There is nothing wrong with it really. While every member who contributed is great, Al Di Meola is the star of the album. He is amazingly fast, yet smooth and can also play some wonderful melodies. While his style of playing may have been an influence on shredders very few have the level of musicianship Al does, and none (except MAYBE Steve Vai or Joe Satriani) have the emotion he does. Again, perfect album, no hesitation.

Five Stars

JJLehto | 5/5 |

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