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Al Di Meola - Elegant Gypsy CD (album) cover

ELEGANT GYPSY

Al Di Meola

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.26 | 520 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars As mentioned in my Return To Forever-reviews I'm not much of an Al Di Meola fan. His guitar style is based almost entirely around excessive soloing which is generally quite common among jazz guitarists. Therefore I hesitated for some time before sinking my teeth into this highly praised solo release. But seeing that its status continued to grow, outdoing even the mighty Romantic Warrior, there was no way for me to simply overlook Elegant Gypsy.

Listening to this album for the first time turned out to be a pleasant surprise indeed, even though this can't be said about the opening track Flight Over Rio. The engaging intro riff is very promising but the excessive soloing throughout the rest of the track brings this composition down a few notches for me. Seeing that the first track offered me exactly everything I disliked about Al Di Meola's style I almost wanted to turn this CD off in a haste. Fortunately I continued listening and was rewarded with creative performances on Midnight Tango and who can forget the acoustic guitar duet with Paco De Lucia on Mediterranean Sundance? Unlike Flight Over Rio this material showed a bigger chunk of this artists' range that never was tapped into on the Return To Forever-albums.

Race With Devil On Spanish Highway starts with an impressive show of skill from Meola which fortunately doesn't just end up as another predictable scale run-through. There is a very tight balance between the composition work and Al Di Meola's guitar skills that never tilt the cup over to one side. While the short acoustic number Lady Of Rome, Sister Of Brazil works almost as a prelude to what will unfold on Elegant Gypsy Suite!

Up to this point everything I've heard on Elegant Gypsy has been interesting and refreshing by Al Di Meola standards but nothing that I haven't heard on other guitar virtuoso albums. Instead it was Elegant Gypsy Suite that finally managed to win me over completely. Even though this story arc unfolded in a a true Romantic Warrior fashion where it was the final composition, titled Duel Of The Jester And The Tyrant, that stole the show it only took me less than thirty seconds to realize that I loved the Elegant Gypsy Suite! The main riff is a total killer and the whole composition just grabs a hold of you and doesn't let go until the final bang at the end.

I guess that there is not point in arguing whether Al Di Meola is a great guitarist or not since it all comes down to personal taste. Still I would like to thank everyone who recommended Elegant Gypsy since this experience was well worth to undertake. Simply an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection!

***** star songs: Elegant Gypsy Suite (9:16)

**** star songs: Midnight Tango (7:29) Mediterranean Sundance (5:12) Race With Devil On Spanish Highway (6:18) Lady Of Rome, Sister Of Brazil (1:46)

*** star songs: Flight Over Rio (7:17)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |

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