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Al Di Meola - Flesh On Flesh CD (album) cover


Al Di Meola

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars Plain-spoken Meola's latest studio output "Flesh On Flesh" can't be called anything else than another sheer masterpiece by him. Quite typically it's an all instrumental one and contains a couple of the most interesting arrangements I've ever heard from him. Apart from five own compositions there's one by Egberto Gismonti ("Meninas"), Astor Piazzola ("Fugata" ) and one by his old band mate from RTF-times Chick Corea ("Senor Mouse"). There's another reunion here that is the one with bass player Anthony Jackson who didn't play together with him since the glorious days of "Elegant Gypsy". His powerful play is a large enrichment for the sound on this record. It's just awesome how Di Meola manages here to keep up a certain tension starting from the opener "Zona Desperata" right to the closing track "Senor Mouse". He's choosing the different sounds with a higher sensitivity than ever before, blending dark with bright and fiery with gentle. The tracks have been played with alternating line-up with a very rich instrumentation which is contributing even more to the diversified sound of this record. Actually I'm not aware of any other album by him being as versatile and therefore able to fascinate me as this one did but I've to confess that usually I don't prefer this lighter form of fusion. Anyway I think it should not only appeal to his fans but as well to lovers of jazz fusion and symphonic prog in general unless they're insisting to have a considerable proportion of rock in their Prog. There's no other choice than giving this album a 5-stars rating.
Report this review (#84391)
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Vibrant, alive with all the spices that make Al Di Meola one of guitar playings best! Jazz-Rock-+ at it's best. A masterpiece! Don't let the marketing department's warped sense of taste put you off when you look at the CD cover. It's a beautiful picture, I can't say anything else...women have been on several of him covers. Here there is a more introspective, slower-paced Di Meola; however, having said that he still makes his electric guitar dance beautiful spiral aural patterns that evoke dust devils and or visions of The Double Helix. The musician lineup should hint at a more diverse set of compositions. His melodic structures become more and more complex, weaving auditory pleasure at every turn. Buy it!
Report this review (#117163)
Posted Monday, April 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is in my opinion the best Meola album since his 70s heyday. Hell, it could well be his best one period. The first tune, Zona Desperata, is dominated by his trademark acoustic playing, but he shows more restraint than usually. There are some swinging brass arrangments that somewhat contrast the modern rhythmic mood. The rest of the album shows a lot of variety. There are tunes with reflective mood, but he never gets too self-indulgent, all of them have good melodies and compact structure. The Piazzola arrangment Fugata is definitely a winner, with the flutist, pianist and bassist playing counter melodies to Meola's wonderful guitar. The modern remake of Corea's Senor Mouse is also worth checking. Don't expect any rock though. This is along the lines of ethno-jazz, but very well done.
Report this review (#126969)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.7 Stars

Being unfamiliar with most of Al Dimeola's discography, this album came as a surprise. This surprise is how much the music matured and mellowed down after the fiery shredfest that is Elegant Gypsy. The compositions appear carefully arranged, full of different colors and delicate touches under perfect production. Flesh on Flesh shows Al Dimeola restraining himself from playing those rapid-fire solos that were ubiquitous in the early album I mentioned. Nevertheless, guitar is still the dominating instrument ranging from elegant and romantic acoustic guitars to the electric guitars that were a trademark in his early albums. The rest of the band is not merely background to the guitar tho, they are fundamental in creating Flesh on Flesh's magic and to interplay with the guitar.

The Latin influences are bigger than in the past, as can be heard on the opening track's percussion and trumpets. Innamorata is another lengthy track with a complex structure and some surprises. The title track has a strong Latin rhythm and festive atmosphere. The main motif of the song is very memorable and fantastic when it is revisited with a guitar solo on top of it. On the other hand, the quirkyFugata seems to have hints at Piazzola, Meninas is a completely acoustic song with emphasis on the grand piano. It is very soft and dreamy. Senor Mouse is a Return to Forever composition that is transformed into a more gentle and acoustic interpretation. Finally, Saffire Soleil is the highlight of the album for me due to the gorgeous melodies that Meola wrote in it.

Report this review (#162261)
Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Flesh on Flesh is possibly most popular Al Di Meola's album from last decade. In fact, his music is hardly very different from previous albums, but the main difference is Al goes electric.

It is not second "Elegant Gypsy", no way. The music is heavily influenced by Al's interest to world fusion of last decade. But using electric guitar sound, Gonzalo Rubalcaba on Fender Rhodes and part of his New Sinfonia collaborators, Al recorded a bit different album. Even if musical roots are the same, this album is more accessible for electric guitar sound lovers. It doesn't mean that there are not usual acoustic guitar pieces included, but having around half of all songs with electric guitar played gave the album much bigger difference in sound.

Music saved warmness of previous acoustic works and is full of Latin percussion and Mediterranean warm breeze. Not very different from World Sinfonia acoustic works, this album won listeners hearts with his electric /acoustic sound combination more than with musical material itself.

Strong Di Meola world fusion album, especially recommended for his electric guitar lovers.

Report this review (#261679)
Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Review Permalink

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