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Al DiMeola - Casino CD (album) cover


Al DiMeola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.81 | 168 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Al Di Meola's third solo album after the masterpiece of Elegant Gypsy was a trying effort, and it was a large success in my eyes. But still, it didn't match Elegant Gypsy in quality, but it came close. Hiis highly technical and ridiculously speedy guitar antics are complimented wonderfully by his backing band (as is usually the case) who play at the same vigorous and relentless pace as Di Meola himself. What you should expect for all Di Meola albums is a heavily Spanish influenced foray into the realms of jazz rock. While it's not really a masterpiece, this is an excellent album that all aspiring guitarists and musicians alike should listen to solely because of the exceedingly impressive chops that all of the musicians have.

The album opens with the overly arabic influenced Egyptian Danza, which begins with a very ambient and dissonant organ. From the get go, the fast paced and unison bass/guitar riffing is complimented by some stellar drumming and some great underlying keyboard work. It's the song that inspired me to get the album because I had heard it before and I loved every second of it. Chasin' the Voodoo begins with rapid percussion and a groovy bass line before becoming a solid foundation for Di Meola's nice mixture of chords and machine gun soloing. Dark Eye Tango is a nice contrast to the first two tracks, with a much more laid back and mellow environment. It's not as brilliant as the first two pieces, but it's a solid piece that doesn't really detract or lower the overall quality of the album. Seņor Mouse is a Return to Forever song (or Chick Corea, not sure) that gets a nice rendition on this album. It has a nice steady beat and some very creative percussion giving it a very smooth latin flavor. Fantasia Suite for Two Guitars is a wonderful acoustic piece with a nice majestic feel and a great pace, as well as some fantastic guitar work. It really shows Di Meola's versatility on both electric and acoustic guitars. Casino ends the album on a high note with sensational riffing from Di Meola and a stellar bass performance from Anthony Jackson. The track has a nice flow and it really evolves and regresses well all within a nice 9 minute time frame.

In the end, Casino is a great starter for those looking into Al Di Meola. Although it wouldn't be his best album, there is a lot to like here and any aspiring musician or fans of guitar oriented music will surely feel right at home with this album because again Di Meola is a stupendous guitarist who's chops never cease to amaze me. 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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