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Al Di Meola - Elegant Gypsy CD (album) cover

ELEGANT GYPSY

Al Di Meola

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.27 | 536 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

b-side
5 stars This is surely the best Di Meola's "electric" work and one of the most beautiful jazz-rock album of the '70s. However it's very tricky.

"Elegant Gypsy" is one the these album that leaves just "good" impresion after first time you hear it. You will like hard'n'heavy "Race With The Devil On Spanish Highway" and briliant acoustic "Mediterranean Sundance", but you won't like the long "Flight Over Rio" intro and the almost latin-pop-with-fusion-licks "Midnight Tango". That's the first impression. And the second, and the third.

Yes, this is the album that needs a lot of attention and listening to this "just good fusion" at least several times. Every pieces have a depth that needs to be "discovered". And it's also that type of album that will reveal more beauty with each playthrough - no matter if you'd listened to it 10 or 50 times.

The beginning is briliiant. Fantastic and very original bass-line in "Flight OVer Rio" is like a true visualisation of the title. Add to it a bit of Moog and Arp background and yes - your actually flying. But this is just and intro to the fusion-samba piece. Turn the volume up to admire agressive Di Meola's enter and his well-considered solo, that later turns into a dialogue with Hammer's moog.

We follow with - in my opinion - the most delicate piece of this album. After soft Fender intro Meola smoothly enters with the tango and drums bass line playing a bit simple, yet very touching notes. Fortunately not the whole piece is a soft tango ballad. There are few counter-points adn changes that makes the whole piece very gripping and a bit unpredictable. With a hot jazzrock finish.

"Elegant Gypsy" features also the most recognizable and propably the best Di Meola's composition - "Mediterranean Sundance". The whole track is played in duo with Paco De Lucia - the master of flamenco guitar. The beauty of this acoustic landscape undeniable. I think that this piece was the first meeting with flamenco music for thousands of people, who expected pure jazzrock or jazz-pieces like "No Mystery" or "Romantic Warrior" with RTF.

The acoustic piece is followd by the fusion of jazzrock and proto-metal named "Race With The Devil On Spanish Highway" which is the most favourite Di Meola's piece of all metal-lovers. Although it begins with heavy theme, it's also doesn't have a straight, simple structure as it is build like a suite. "Race" is surely the most powerful show of Di Meola's skills and technique, still there are many fine elements and keyboard playing fot jazzrock fans.

After a nice, but only 1:46 minutes filler the album ends with the "Elegant Gypsy Suite". Second tango in this set, now played in 100% jazzrock style and featuring again great Jan Hammer on keyboards. However this is the most disappointing track of the whole album. It lasts for over 9-minutes, but you can clearly hear, that both Meola's and Hammer's improvisations should last have been at least two time longer! This mistake was repared 5 years later with release of live album

What is best about this album - really catchy and very original tunes, just like those from electric Return To Forever period. But on the other-hand - not so simple structure of each tune and very rich background with keyboards and percussions. You can dig this album for infinite times - you won't feel bored and you will still find new hidden gems.

b-side | 5/5 |

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