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Al Di Meola - Electric Rendezvous CD (album) cover


Al Di Meola

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The way I interpret this album by the time it was released it's a reincarnation of the first album "Land of The Midnight Sun" or even I can also say that it's a combination of the first two Al's albums: "Land of The Midnight Sun" and "Elegant Gypsy". My reason is simple: in terms of styles and composition this fifth studio album is similar with the first two albums with minor differences in the musicians involved. Mingo Lewis is the only musician that stayed the same from the debut album. Paco de Lucia, Jan Hammer and Anthony Jackson (playing bass guitar, not guitar) also appeared at "Elegant Gypsy" album. On compositions, Al gave chances to Mingo Levis, Jan Hammer (whom I have been familiar with his collaborative effort with Jeff Beck) and Philippe Saisse to compose one song each.

The album kicks-off with a hard driving rhythm section, mainly dominated by percussion work, "God-Bird-Change" (3:51) composed by Mingo Lewis. I think Al wanted the percussion dominated song at the intro of his album to give another texture of Al's music. And he did no wrong at all as this song is composed wonderfully with high energy and upbeat tempo. The interlude part with percussion work is really interesting.

"Electric Rendezvous" (7:47) brings back the music to Al's classic style where the jazz and rock unite in excellent composition featuring great acoustic and electric guitar work, inventive drum work by one of the best jazz drummers Steve Gadd (who also contributed to Peter Gabriel's "Up" album), dynamic bass guitar interlaced with dazzling keyboard. The song itself is rich in styles and tempo changes. It reminds me to the "Song of The Midnight Sun" from the debut album. It's really an excellent music!

If in "Splendido Hotel" there was a song titled as "Two To Tango" featuring duet work between Al on acoustic guitar and Chick Corea on acoustic piano, this albums offers "Passion, Grace and Fire" (5:34). This time, the duet is between Al and Paco on their acoustic guitar and their sounds were recorded at different channels of your stereo set. It's a wonderful duet of two guitar heroes in a great composition.

"Cruisin'" (4:16) was composed by Jan Hammer and it contains his exploration of keyboard throughout the song, augmented with guitar. The song's beat is relatively stable with minimum tempo or style changes. This song is like a break as the composition seems very straightforward and accessible to different ears, I think.

"Black Cat Shuffle" (3:00) was composed by Philippe Saisse and as it happens with previous track "Cruisin'" this one contains keyboard solo augmented with electric guitar solo. "Ritmo de la Noche" (4:17) starts off with a kind of latin music with electric guitar fills and percussion work as main rhythm section. The music produced is so relaxing with relatively simple arrangement. The organ solo during interlude is really stunning. The song turns complex and it finally returns to the intro part.

"Somalia" (1:40) is a very nice acoustic guitar outfit followed with "Jewel Inside a Dream" (4:02). This concluding track begins with an acoustic guitar work combined beautifully with keyboard in an ambient opening. The rest of the song contains great combination of acoustic guitar and keyboard.

This album should not be missed by those who like jazz/rock fusion type of prog music. Recommended. Keep on proggin' .!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#54169)
Posted Monday, October 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fantastic album due the ensemble, for me this is the best band that Al DiMeola ever worked with. It shouldn't really be named after him as the songwriting is separated between three musicians and the musicians in the band are all incredible.

I see this as a masterpiece just from the sheer luck of the combination of players, fully energetic and fascinating.

I wouldn't say IT IS for everyone, but again i think people who like great musicianship will be very interesting in this album even if it does sound cheesy at first.

Give it a go

Report this review (#60249)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The musical character of Meola is back in this imaginative jazz, « tango » fusion influenced album. God-Bird-Change starts directly with a basic but complex fusion jazz improvisation with cool & nice technical guitar solos; exotic percussions with the addition of old dated synth arrangements. A dynamic composition. Electric Rendezvous begins as a mellow, semi-acoustic / electric ballad. It starts calmly to finally go into a confused, intricate electric "trip". Ferocious heavy rhythm sections with efficient solos suddenly rise, indicating a constant changing mood. Synth arrangements are light and misplaced. Passion, Grace and Fire is a flamenco duet with Paco de Lucia. An inventive improvised musical dialogue between the two guys. Paco's speedy technical scales are always wondering, alternating with relaxed melodies. Several variations are textured around the same melodic theme. Cruisin' is a pompous, amazing composition with ridiculously funny electric guitar / synth exercises. The groove is here but it goes nowhere. It sounds terribly mainstream and dated. Black Cat Shuffle really rocks, with a nice rhythmical bass line, epic electric guitar / synth duets. The atmosphere is one more time a bit humorous, ironic for me despite that the guitar solos are as usual irreproachable. Ritmo de la Noche is a long « tango » like exhibition, a correct evocation but it suffers of terribly bad dancing arrangements. Somalia is an acoustic ballad, a good illustration of an ancient nostalgic expression. A distinctive, alternative jazz fusion album which proves one more time that Meola successes to develop his own style. However nothing really new if we compare it to his 70's musical production.
Report this review (#63234)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Side One - 5 Stars 1. God-Bird-Change - Mingo Lewis composition - fiery guitar...classic Di Meola 2. Electric Rendezvous - Al goes hard rock!!! Co-highlight of the album 3. Passion, Grace and Fire - Stunning acoustic duet with de Lucia, other co-highlight

Side Two - 2.5 Stars 1. Cruisin' - Bland funk from Jan Hammer...saved by coo Hammond Organ near the end... 2. Black Cat Shuffle - Slightly less bland funk from Philippe Saisse... 3. Ritmo de la Noche - Latin work-out...standard DiMeola bossa-nova 4. Somalia - Acoustic...nice, nothing special 5. Jewel Inside a Dream - Acoustic...Hammer adds some interesting noodling

If you're a fan, get it for the first three tracks...3.75 stars...excellent musicianship justifies rounding up to a solid 4...

Report this review (#98993)
Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a good fusion album with many excellent instrumental passages, even though this is a type of music that can be described as "cold" and "technical". Side A is more eletric in instrumentation, while side B contains largely acoustic arrangements and in comparison is less strong than the former. Di Meola on guitar and Jan Hammer on keyboards are brilliant although sometimes they indulge too much into soloing. Very pleasant album to listen to, especially if you are a fusion fan, it can be demanding for others. It contains several beautiful melodies and Latino Jazz influences. Good album but not extremely important for jazz-rock scene.
Report this review (#122859)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Al di Meola and his fusion pals return for an above average effort. You've got the to-be-expected fabulous playing, and a variety of Latin and Mediterranean rhythms and styles, all produced quite well. On the downside, this being the 80s, you also have a couple of the typical drawbacks, including some rather cheesy synths (only in places), as well as a fairly terrible album cover of an animated panther superimposed over a glowing guitar (though di Meola was never close to Roger Dean territory on album covers to begin with). All in all, a very solid album, but not in Elegant Gypsy territory by any means.

God Bird Change, Electric Rendezvous, Passion Grace and Fire. As other reviewers have noted, these are the highlights, and they also constitute the A side. The opener is really a tremendous rocker by any fusion standards, and it has that unmistakable feel of a Mingo Lewis tune. Lewis on congas and Gadd on drums really bring back the Elegant Gypsy magic they once created...too bad they couldn't (or wouldn't) keep at this for most of the album. The title track is also quite memorable--once the guys move into the central groove of the song, they are absolutely unstoppable, and it's awesome to behold, with a few cool time signature and tempo changes to boot. It's right up there with di Meola's best, and di Meola plays a bit heavier than I'm used to (being in the 80s helped with this aspect I assume). To end the side, we are treated to another di Meola and de Lucia duet, which they have absolutely mastered: mysterious, captivating, and impossibly fast.

The second side is certainly a letdown compared to what came before. Cruisin' is a simple rocker, and Black Cat Shuffle is exactly as it sounds: a straightforward, relatively boring shuffle. Throw in the obligatory di Meola tango (Ritmo de le Noche) and acoustic pieces (Somalia and Jewel Inside a Dream), and you have a lot of very listenable songs that nonetheless take few chances and certainly would be difficult to classify as progressive.

If you like di Meola's earlier, hard-driving fusion work, you'll love the first three songs. If you prefer his more mellow later work, this might be too heavy. I certainly enjoy both, but probably lean more toward his earlier period. Electric Rendezvous compares favorably to many of his other albums, and also to some fusion giants (Jeff Beck, most notably).

Report this review (#157564)
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Al DiMeola's fifth album from 1982 named Electric rendezvous. Well, on this album we have both, same formula we used to have on a Meola album, latino jazz and even some hard rock riffs on selftitled piece. Again some very fine musicians here Jan Hammer on keys and Paco de Lucia on acustic guitar among others. The album is a good one all the way , but sometimes lack of originality, and some pieces are almost boring, same acustic noodleings without any diversity like Passion, Grace and Fire and Somalia. Now the best pieces are the opening track God-Bird-Change , the title track and Ritmo de la Noche. Not much to add here, just this album is weaker than the predecesor Splendido hotel and far from Elegant gypsy, but not bad as a whole, just enjoyble and nothing more. So 3 stars for this one, good but no more than that.
Report this review (#190753)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Electric Rendezvous constituted a return to form after the momentary lapse of quality and urgency that was Splendido Hotel. Still, this album is not quite up to par with the excellent duo of Casino and Elegant Gypsy. While listening to this album you notice that it was recorded in the 80's. But Electric Rendezvous does not feature the worst kind of 80's production values. The Latin percussion and other acoustic instruments create a warm, organic sound absent on many 80's releases. As the name implies though this is a much more electric album than Splendido Hotel. The electric guitar sound and playing often remind me of Steve Morse, especially on the opening track and the up beat Cruisin'.

All the instruments are very well played, and even if this is guitar dominated music it has a full band sound and feeling much like his early albums. Di Meolas acoustic side is also represented with the once again Flamenco flavoured Passion, Grace And Fire. And the the balance between the fiery Fusion rockers and the more mellow Somalia and Jewel Inside A Dream is great. It feels like his heart is once again in it.

Good Fusion.

Report this review (#201124)
Posted Friday, January 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I like Di Meola's music and trying to see and hear him live at any possibility (to be honest, during last some years he is very regular in our side of Europe).And I like his different music - perfect early electric jazz-fusion albums, and later world -fusion with "World Sinfonia".

This album is real transition one. After some excellent electric fusion albums and one not very successful "Splendido Hotel" trying to change things, Al Di Meola returned back to his roots. But only in part.

You can find some heavy electric fusion pieces there, but some acoustic guitar songs as well. And some acoustic Latin melodies with pop elements. It is for sure Di Meola is in search on his future direction here. Participated musicians are still all stars incl. Paco De Lucia, Steve Gadd and Ian Hammer, between others.

In fact album sounds more as collection of few different styles. All songs are not too much connected between each other. Some of them are perfect, some just average.

But I think this is last strong Al Di Meola album from his earlier period. He will go for acoustic pop-world music later, and will return in form after some years only. In total 3,5.

Report this review (#245463)
Posted Wednesday, October 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This has always been one of my favorite Al Di Meola albums. From the opener, God Bird Change to the sweet nocturne of Jewel Inside a Dream, it delivers. Not all is of one mood though, and I am glad for that. An album where all the music is the same becomes boring quickly, no matter how good it is at the beginning. The musical climax hits early, though, in the title track. If the first track burns, Electric Rendezvous irradiates, turning fusion into fission. Mingo Lewis must get special mention, as he should on all of Big Al's early releases, for his percussion magic brings the best out of Al. Having Steve Gadd on drums also helps. There is the almost obligatory duet with the Paco de Lucia, which demonstrates that acoustic guitars can fly just as furiously as electrics. The album does take a slight down turn in the latter half, with tunes such as Cruisin' and Black Cat Shuffle with their enjoyable albeit conventional grooves. Inevitably, one will compare this to his classic, the standard by which all his early albums are compared, Elegant Gypsy. Many afficianados have expressed frustration with this album for its lack of growth, but that does not mean it is not a good album. In fact, it is not merely good, it is excellent, and a fine example of Al Di Meola's latin-infused fusion.
Report this review (#268832)
Posted Saturday, February 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars When Al Di's music started losing my interest. Though I continued to purchase his albums through 1983's Scenario (because of the presence of Tony Levin, Bill Bruford, and Phil Collins) and have continued to make random samplings over the years, I've always liked his work with Return to Forever and Jean-Luc Ponty best. Here on Electric Rendezvous Al continues to display his mastery of both the acoustic (steel and nylon stringed variants) and electric guitar while adding more autonomy through computer and synthesizer technologies. He's good--he's done well to master these layering technologies and even tried to tone down his speed and flash a bit (a common listener complaint was the proverbial "too many notes!") but there has always been this kind of "soul-less" quality to Al's music despite his compositional growth and experimentation. The lesson (á la Allan Holdsworth) that prodigious skill and capacious brain do not always make for great art.

It's hard to rate anything by this hard-working virtuoso at less than four stars but if you're going to do it to one, this is the one.

Report this review (#459544)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Di Meola returns to a smaller format.

After his ambitious double album, Splendido Hoteland live album Friday Night in San Francisco the fusion wizard strips back his cast, song length and compositional scope for the more straight forward Electric Rendezvous.

By 1982 he'd been playing with most of his band for a fair while (Gadd, Lewis and Jackson for five albums with Hammer appearing on several dates at least) and it sounds as though the writing and execution of the songs comes easy. And if not too easy, it still results in a record that plays it too safe, perhaps keeping it conservative after the mixed results that his double album seemed to elicit. The pieces here are classic Di Meola, which is part of the problem and part of what is welcome. There are no big risks but there are some great songs, like opener 'God Bird Change' or the title track with its prominent keys and almost threatening guitar, which is followed by another excellent collaboration between Di Meola and flamenco star Paco de Lucía, on 'Passion, Grace & Fire.'

Elsewhere there is some fairly slick pop from 'Crusin'' and the dated synths of 'Black Cat Shuffle' and the by now perhaps obligatory slow tango-esque piece - 'Ritmo De La Noche.' It's followed by a short acoustic piece and 'Jewel Inside a Dream' which is a ballad backed by warbling keys.

It's a highly uneven effort, but still classic fusion, even if the genre's heyday was some years behind by now. Collectors of Al will want this for the opening three songs alone, but if you're new to Di Meola you will be better served by any of his first three, or the live 'Friday Night...' if you enjoy fast acoustic guitar.

Report this review (#613551)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Electric Rendezvous" is as aptly a title one would ever conjure up for this original jazz-rock maestro, we would all only wish Al would do this kind of "rockier" album one more time, as too many years have passed relying on his rather mellower side. While "Land of the Midnight Sun" and "Elegant Gypsy' remain for many the acme of DiMeola's career, I have a very special spot for this more Santana-esque endeavor partnered by an awesome line-up of master musicians such as synthesizer whiz Jan Hammer (who never sounded better!), Anthony Jackson on galloping bass, Mingo Lewis on percussion and the monstrous Steve Gadd on drums, with Paco de Lucia (the dense duet on "Grace, Passion and Fire") and Philippe Saisse on board as soloists. The ease and the finesse with which these cats perform are totally exhilarating.

"Bird Dog Cage" fulminates as an opener, blasting into the free zone with little strain, giving ample room for Hammer and DiMeola to show off their rather considerable talents. The rhythm section is so tight, it will make one cringe with delighted respect. Smooth and fast, like a torrential rainstorm of talent.

The title track is even sprightlier, all kinds of frayed nerve endings in the fingers, if you see what I mean. Different styles all packed into one seamless parcel. A faint serenity begins to grow in stature, very much like classic Ponty, evolving into a series of detours, veers and contrasts. Things get even slightly dissonant for a while, swerving back into yet another mood once again, the guitar getting heavy and fiery. Sudden blasts of brass synth consecrates Hammer's complete genius in my mind, but when he dishes out a duel with Al, it's just bloody merciless. Even Anthony Jackson plays the game with style and velocity. This is so good , its absurd!

"Cruisin" has that California cool and suntanned swagger, as the bass and drums set down a groove for both Hammer and the Dman to lay down some preposterous ideas, a playful and bright melody fueled up like a shiny red Cadillac rolling down Sunset Strip, the car stereo blaring.

"Black Cat Shuffle" is the highlight here, a catty, smoldering and sweaty groove anchored tout de suite by the rhythm section, showing a terrific sense of jazzy rock and roll as Al and Jan trade electric goose bumps. And if you ever had a doubt about Al's Latin side, well its all there on display with "Ritmo de la Noche". I am pretty sure when Carlos Santana first heard this, his knee-jerk reaction would have been to call a lawyer, suggesting plagiarism but within seconds, yielding to the beauty of the melody and the tremendous playing by all involved. This is my all-time favorite DiMeola composition, loved it to death for decades. The solemn acoustic gem "Somalia" is no slouch, a deeply sad and melancholic guitar tour de force, serves a perfect segue to the previous jewel.

Speaking of which, "Jewel Inside a Dream" puts this majestic performance to bed, a soothing lullaby that showcases DiMeola's clear sense of sonic wizardry

Oh yeah, love that cover art, suits the music inside to a Tee

5 gatos negros electricos

Report this review (#843227)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | Review Permalink

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