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Spinetta Jade - Alma De Diamante CD (album) cover

ALMA DE DIAMANTE

Spinetta Jade

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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4 stars Diamond soul

After "Invisible", L.A.Spinetta created Spinetta Jade. The Spinetta Jade's first album was a good begining. The musical influences in this work are mainly Jazz and afro-latin rhythms and some things of classic symphonic rock.

(1) "Amenabar": an strange composition. In some parts, this theme is a bossa nova, but it has jazz-rock parts. Instrumental, with interesting solos. ****

(2) "Alma de diamante": a kind of prog ballad. A nice song. In the middle and arriving the ending, there are 2 beautifuls synth's solos.***

(3) "Con la sombra de tu aliado (El aliado)": an intrincate composition. Odd meters, calculated harmony, "virtuosity" in the solos.... ****

(4) "Dale gracias": one of the less symphonic themes from this album. The sound is some "bluesy".***

(5) "La diosa salvaje": in a simple view, the voices might be shocking. But the song finally is nice. There is an amazing piano's solo.***

(6) "Digital Ayatollah": excellent instrumental composition. Complex, symphonic, 'jazzy', 'rocker', 'arabic' and 'superb' work.*****

(7) "Sombras en los álamos": the 'epic' song of this album. A complex composition too, as the previous track. Very emotional lyrics, and accompaniment.****

Average rate: 3.7 stars

Report this review (#117727)
Posted Monday, April 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Fusion proveniente del Alma (Fusion from the Soul)

After the disbandment of Invisible, lead singer and songwriter, L.A. Spinetta released a solo album in 1978 entitled A 18' Del Sol, one of his most acclaimed solo efforts evoking the future jazz fusion spirit of his later 80s band, Spinetta Jade.

In 1980 the debut of Spinetta's jazziest group was finally released, called Alma de Diamante ("Diamond's Soul"), and damn, what a debut! Of course, it's not a real debut in the sense that it is the first time they compose and play in studio, Spinettta & Co. were already professionals by that time, so expect a very polished debut without the usual flaws of typical debuts.

First, let's state what type of fusion this band delivered. It's a smooth and very melodic fusion, with floating and chilling keyboards, an entertaining and diverse (but not technical-kind) rhythm section, good emotional soloing from the guitar and synths (not dated!) and finally, soulful vocals that is the band's most unique feature. Comparisons? Well, it reminds me a bit of Holdsworth's 80s solo stuff, the melody department specifically. So no, it's not really a clone or a derivative fusion band that resembles either Return to Forever or Mahavishnu Orchestra or Weather Report.

But what's so good of this fusion? Ah, the whole mixture of the previously stated elements. There are instrumentals, 'Amenaber' and 'Digital Ayatollah', which show the band in a more technical way, still very melodic. And then, there's the rest of tracks that have the lovely vocals of Luis Alberto, but they're not simple tunes either, still a lot going on from the band, powerful melodies, excellent solos, great instrumental parts, all in all making very pleasant and entertaining melodic fusion.

In last place, I'll say why this is in my opinion the band's greatest album. Mainly because this is purely consistent in great material and there's simply no filler or unmemorable parts. But mind you, the remaining three albums of the band are all quite different and worth of listening (with the exception of the last album), Los Nińos Que Escriben En El Cielo "plays" a lot with varied time signatures and Bajo Belgrano is a very soulful record with greater pop sensibilities that don't harm.

5 stars: masterpiece of Spinetta Jade and of Argentinian music. Unique album in this country that I highly recommend if you want to hear what Argentina can offer musically alongside stuff by Invisible and Seru Giran. If you're a fan of the lighter, more melodic fusion, this is a must, however if you are more into the avant-side of fusion like the Mwandishi albums by Hancock and the like, well this album might not be such a necessary record for you to get.

Report this review (#348520)
Posted Thursday, December 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
crimson87
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The first record made by Spinetta Jade is one of the highlights of South American Jazz ? Fusion scene. To make a summary description of this album , it's a very accessible jazz rock record including passionate vocals by Spinetta. All members of the band are masters of their respective instrument , but they don't overplay or have many solo spots making the record very friendly for newcomers to the jazz ? fusion genre.

The record is the most consistent of the Spinetta Jade releases including seven really strong tracks. Among those tracks you will find two instrumental tracks (Amenabar and Digital Ayatollah) and the other 5 tracks include stellar performances by all the band members and the most important factor of this album are the lovely vocals by the band leader Luis Alberto Spinetta.

Instrumentally , this record has predominant bass and keyboard sounds but is far from being a keyboard driven album , the guitar is classy played by Spinetta on the whole record and the record it's very balanced. I strongly recommend this album to those who want to get either into jazz fusion since it's much more accessible than the records from the "Big Three" of the genre meaning Weather Report , Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever.

This record is one of those hidden gems that can be found among the site and hope that this review will help you in raising your interest in South American prog and Jazz Fusion in general

IMPORTANT: If you want to check an even stronger jazz fusion album by Spinetta get A 18' del Sol. At the time this record is not included on the site.

Report this review (#559226)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Spinetta Jade provided a haven for the classic jazz-rock sounds of the 1970s on this 1980 release. Whilst other fusion artists - including pioneers of the genre - struggled to adapt to 1980s production aesthetics and then-modern synthesisers, here Luis Spinetta and his comrades (particularly synthesiser and keyboard wizards Juan del Barrio and Diego Rapoport) do a brilliant job of producing an album which sounds fresh and clear and new and packed with novel synthesiser and keyboard textures on the one hand whilst still providing a fusion sound which will appeal to a broad range of fans of the genre, whether your cup of tea is the breezy textures of Weather Report, the volcanic tempestuousness of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, or the whimsy and unpredictability of Frank Zappa or the Canterbury scene.
Report this review (#984956)
Posted Monday, June 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Since 2012 (the year of his death) Spinetta started becoming very very popular among the young music lovers of Argentina (like me). This led to lots of hippie-snobs sharing and listening his music specially Pescado Rabioso's ARTAUD which i recommend (band that should be in this site in the "prog related" category i think). Many of those people who haven't listen to all of Spinetta's work are effectively missing this one (or not, since "the most popular video website of the world" has the "related videos" section on our right). It's not one of his famous albums like ARTAUD o ALMENDRA. This album is the result of an intelligent compilation of relaxing, introspective fusion tunes and most of them have Spinetta's poetic lyrics. His approach is very personal but i must admit this kind of compositions seem to me hugely inspired in, at that time, already existing artists from other countries (Weather Report for example). So maybe it's not an innovative album but it sure is perfect in it's own way. I give it 3.9/5.
Report this review (#1458182)
Posted Monday, August 31, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Kids, only few artists can reach the legendary status of Spinetta. Think for a second of Mark Hammill, then translate him into Spanish and give him rock-star/legend status. Well, somewhere over there you might find Spinetta, who once was one of the most prolific musicians in the Argentine scene. In fact, he once gave a 6 hour concert gathering all the bands he participated in to play his repertoire. I remember missing that gig thinking it was a solo concert, so imagine how stupid I felt when I found out what that gig was about.

Spinetta Jade is the most proggy band of Spinetta's career. This album is all about letting synthetizers and keys take the centre so as to create a jazzy sound pallete. In previous bands, guitar-centered rock compositions were the rule. An exception I would like to point out is Pescado Rabioso's Madreselva. That is a hell of a relaxing song which I can relate to Porcupine Tree's Dark Matter, though they are two completely different songs. It's just a matter of ambient and feel.

The album sets off with a jazzy instrumental, Amenabar, which sets the tone of the album and leads to the title song. Alma de Diamante is just one of those beautiful tunes that will end up sticking in your head, especially the solo, which is what I most recall from the album. Lyrics are standard Spinetta lyrics, which display a vast array of poetry-craft a la Artaud, after whom Spinetta named a Pescado Rabioso album. I cannot but urge you to listen to Cantata de Puentes Amarillos from Artaud, as it is Spinetta's masterpiece.

Rest is well... history. I don't think first listeners like to be spoiled on all songs of an album. So, roll in and enjoy a true gem of Argentine music as Spinetta Jade, its jazzy feel and lyrics that any poet would envy. The album has always been a three-star to me, but that's just a matter of feel. This album is a perfect sample of the Argentine prog-rock scene (is there still one?) so don't feel scared by the ratings: listen to it!

Report this review (#1511364)
Posted Thursday, January 14, 2016 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'm such a huge fan of the band band INVISIBLE that it was a no-brainer trying to track this one down, which wasn't easy by the way. The connection between these two bands from Argentina is singer, guitarist and composer Luis Alberto Spinetta. When the band INVISIBLE packed it in SPINETTA JADE ended up being Alberto's new project at the time. By the way I also have a solo album by Alberto called "A 18' Del Sol" which is really good. This is a Jazz/ Fusion album all the way with vocals on some tracks which are very well done. The drumming is impressive and I'd also mention the sound quality as being exceptional.

"Amenabar" is very jazzy to start with drums, bass and piano standing out. Mini-Moog comes to the fore just before a minute in this somewhat funky opening track. Synths replace the Moog but they will continue to take turns. Great sound after 3 minutes as the guitar jumps in. An excellent start. "Alma De Dia Mante" has this orchestral intro before piano and drums take over, then vocals for the first time on the album. Some emotion to these Spanish vocals in this ballad-like track. "Con Ia Sombra De Tu Aliado(El Aliado)" is another vocal track and the bass and drums are so impressive here. Nice bass solo before 2 1/2 minutes. A piano/ bass/ drum section follows. So good. A top three tune for me. "Dale Gracias" is where they slow it down some with piano and drums leading the way to start as reserved vocals take over with piano. A beat returns and it does get fuller at times but overall this is ballad-like.

"La Diosa Salvaje" is also a relaxed tune with synths and drums to start then vocals after a minute. Intricate guitar as well. Some beautiful piano melodies before 5 minutes. "Digital Ayatollah" is also a top three. Man the sounds are so punchy and precise as these intricate sounds come and go. So impressed. It seems to get fuller later on which blows me away as I try to listen to all those sounds. "Sombres En Los Alamos" is the closer and longest track at just over 8 minutes. This is another laid back tune and we get vocals as well. There's some emotion here as well as some outstanding playing. A change 4 minutes in as it turns more intense and there's more imagination as well. It settles back again as the vocals return. A top three track!

This is such a melodic and lush album, a very solid 4 star album that comes close to a couple of my favourite INVISIBLE albums but not quite.

Report this review (#1603006)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the most complex and precious albums in Argentine music, one of the definitive diamonds!

After two aggressive bands like Pescado Rabioso and Invisible, Spinetta got a little tired of his characteristic progressive sound and went in search of something jazzier, more intelligently delicate and more subtle. This album is released on October 6th 1980, and just 2 months later Luis Alberto releases the comeback album of his first band Almendra entitled "El Valle Interior", where he surprises everyone with a very melancholic and deep Jazz Rock sound, with existential and nostalgic lyrics. Anyway, that album is not relevant right now.

Alma De Diamante is one of the pearls of Latin American Rock .It's a piece full of beauty; it's like a diamond split into 7 great songs!

Luis Alberto Spinetta was always a musician who was known for his use of ultra-rare chords (and chord progressions) that were sometimes even dissonant but beautiful to listen to, and when he had his Jazz Fusion breakthrough he used his creativity to create memorable works. Such is the case of "Amenabar" on this album, an instrumental piece of great complexity and very difficult to interpret.

"Alma De Diamante", the title track, is a Latin American rock anthem. "Alma De Diamante (Diamond Soul)" refers to the fact that each one of us is a unique and special person who has that inner diamond that distinguishes us from everything else in the world. The simple and memorable piece on the album.

"Con La Sombra De Tu Aliado" has a sublime instrumentation, the instruments really come together very well. The bass has perhaps its most important minutes here, with instructive lines.

"Dale Gracias" is also a familiar song within the country, with a hopeful look at the afterlife and an attempt to defeat the crisis that comes when you know you're about to cross the boundaries of life and death is coming for you, but instead of trying to avoid it anyhow, thank it for being there. "A warrior never stops his march".

"La Diosa Salvaje" is probably one of the songs that best defines Spinetta's poetic style. The instrumentation is good and calm.

"Digital Ayatollah" is a great way to close the album. Here the celebrated musician Pedro Aznar participates playing bass (this information is missing) with his unquestionable skill, and gives the ambience a quality jump, which is another proof that this album can't be listened to just like that!

"Sombras En Los Alamos" closes the curtains in such a clever way... Latin American Jazz Rock has reached the pinnacle here. The longest song on the album and, therefore, the best achieved space and where the 5 talented musicians expand as they want to. It alternates instrumental parts with excellently sung parts (possibly this album shows the best vocal moment Spinetta ever had). The keyboards, the synthesizers and the rhythm of the drums give it that special and fascinating suburban psychedelia.

5 stars very correct!

Report this review (#2600093)
Posted Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Review Permalink

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