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AL DI MEOLA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Al Di Meola biography
Intense, that's the best word to describe the character of the music that took hold at the outset of the 70's. Powered by stacks of amplifiers, propelled by rock backbeats, fueled with unbridled passion, and full of the spirit of jazz improvisation, this so-called fusion music coalesced into a full blown movement with the arrival of John McLAUCHLIN's MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, Larry CORYELL's ELEVENTH HOUSE, and Chick COREA's RETURN TO FOREVER. We can feel the intensity in DI MEOLA's playing in his debut with RETURN TO FOREVER, 1974's "Where Have I Known You Before", or their 1975 follow-up, the Grammy-winning "No Mystery". That power-house formula of dizzying speed, demanding unison lines, and rock intensity continues on the group's 1976 Columbia debut, "Romantic Warrior" and carries over to Di Meola's debut as a leader, "Land Of The Midnight Sun", released the same year on Columbia. His signature sound, the ringing sustain of a Les Paul played through a Marshall stack is an integral part of al those projects. Guitar Player magazine named Di Meola "best new talent" for 1975 on the strength of his playing on "No Mystery". It awarded him "Best Jazz guitarist" for 1977 and also named his "Elegant Gypsy" "Best Guitar LP" for that year. Al went on to dominate the Best Jazz Guitarist category, winning five consecutive years through 1981, while also earning "Best Guitar LP" awards in 1978 for "Casino" and in 1980 for "Splendido Hotel". With those impressive credits, Al was instantly inducted into Guitar Player's Gallery of the Greats, becoming the youngest player in the magazine's history ever accorded that honor.

At the outset of the 80's, DI MEOLA put his Les Paul on the shelf and turned to the acoustic guitar, touring and recorded with a superstar trio including McLaughlin and Spain's flamenco master, Paco DE LUCIA. He returned to his old electrified ways briefly with 1982's "Electric Rendez-vous" and its follow-up, "Tour De Force Live". In 1983, the same year he recorded the bravado studio album "Passion, Grace & Fire" with the acoustic trio, De Meola had a brief reunion tour with his old RTF mates, COREA, drummer Lenny WHITE, and bassist Stanley CLARKE. Though the tour proved that the intensity was still very much alive, no record was released of this powerhouse fusion unit, together again for the first time since the 1976 breakup.

Discography:
Land of the Midnight Sun - 1976
Elegant Gypsy - 1977
Casino - 1978
Splendido Hotel-1980
...
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All Your Life (A Tribute to the Beatles)All Your Life (A Tribute to the Beatles)
inakustik Label Group 2013
Audio CD$11.98
$10.99 (used)
Elegant GypsyElegant Gypsy
Sbme Special Mkts. 1984
Audio CD$2.08
$0.99 (used)
Splendido HotelSplendido Hotel
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.52
$4.65 (used)
Land of the Midnight SunLand of the Midnight Sun
Sbme Special Mkts. 2008
Audio CD$2.65
$1.99 (used)
Original Album ClassicsOriginal Album Classics
Box set · Import
Sony UK 2010
Audio CD$15.19
$19.71 (used)
Friday Night In San Francisco (45rpm 180 Gram Limited Edition Vinyl)Friday Night In San Francisco (45rpm 180 Gram Limited Edition Vinyl)
Limited Edition
Original Recordings 2012
Vinyl$54.42
$74.87 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Flesh on Flesh by Al di Meola (CD, Aug-2002, Telarc Distribution) US $6.99 Buy It Now 1h 2m
Friday Night in San Francisco AL Di Meola John McLaughlin K2HD CD Japan US $29.50 Buy It Now 1h 29m
AL DI MEOLA PROJECT - SOARING THROUGH A DREAM - Cass US $7.30 Buy It Now 2h 14m
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3h 17m
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Guitar Trio: Paco de Lucia/John McLaughlin/Al Di Meola by John McLaughlin/Al... US $9.99 [0 bids]
7h 35m
Al Di Meola "Casino" Vintage collectible CD Japan US $19.99 [0 bids]
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7h 54m
Heart of the Immigrants by Al di Meola's World Sinfonia Cassette (Mesa, 1993) US $3.99 [0 bids]
7h 54m
AL DI MEOLA-SCENARIO-VINYL-NM-PHIL COLLINS-BILL BRUFORD-TONY LEVIN-SEQUENCER US $5.99 [0 bids]
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8h 4m
AL DI MEOLA-ELEGANT GYPSY 1977 COLUMBIA RECORDS LP PC 34461 VG++ JAZZ FUSION US $6.99 Buy It Now 8h 28m
Winter Nights by Al di Meola (CD, Nov-1999, Telarc Distribution) US $8.95 Buy It Now 8h 44m
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9h
Al Di Meola:Electric Randevous (Hungarian release) LP M-/M- US $19.00 Buy It Now 9h 17m
AL DI MEOLA ELEGANT GYPSY COLUMBIA JAZZ LP US $6.00 [0 bids]
10h 23m
AL DI MEOLA-CASINO 1978 COLUMBIA RECORDS LP JC 35277 EXC. VG+ STEVE GADD US $4.99 Buy It Now 10h 24m
1982 AL DI MEOLA - ELECTRIC RENDEZVOUS Columbia FC 37654 Vinyl LP Album US $4.21 Buy It Now 11h 7m
AL DI MEOLA - CASINO - COLUMBIA RECORDS - VG+ US $5.49 [0 bids]
11h 25m
Guitar Trio: Paco de Lucia/John McLaughlin/Al Di Meola by John McLaughlin/Al... US $4.50 [0 bids]
US $6.50 Buy It Now
11h 27m
Friday Night in San Francisco [Remaster] by John McLaughlin/Al di Meola/Paco... US $4.50 [0 bids]
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11h 29m
Passion, Grace & Fire by Al di Meola/John McLaughlin/Paco de Luc¡a (CD,... US $4.50 [0 bids]
US $6.50 Buy It Now
11h 32m
World Sinfonia by Al di Meola (CD, Aug-1991, Mesa/Bluemoon) US $0.97 [0 bids]
11h 33m
Casino by Al di Meola (CD, Mar-1998, Sony BMG) US $2.22 [0 bids]
11h 35m
Kiss My Axe by Al di Meola (CD, Nov-1991, Mesa/Bluemoon) US $1.55 [0 bids]
11h 37m
Heart of the Immigrants by Al di Meola's World Sinfonia (CD, Apr-1993,... US $9.99 Buy It Now 12h 32m
Kiss My Axe by Al di Meola (CD, Nov-1991, Mesa/Bluemoon) US $9.99 Buy It Now 12h 33m
AL DI MEOLA / PACO / MCLOUGHLIN DE LUCIA - PASSION GRACE & FIRE NEW CD US $10.50 Buy It Now 13h 24m
Al Di Meola,LP 1978,33, CBS,., US $5.99 [0 bids]
14h 55m
Pursuit Of Radical Rhapsody - Al Di Meola New & Sealed CD Free Shipping US $22.10 Buy It Now 15h 35m
AL Di MEOLA LP Tour de force live 1982 Columbia US $6.99 Buy It Now 15h 36m
World Sinfonia Al Di Meola CD US $53.39 Buy It Now 15h 55m
Al di Meola - Live - Friday Night In San Francisco (CD 1991) US $8.29 Buy It Now 16h 16m
AL DI MEOLA - Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody CD NEW SEALED Jazz US $6.99 [0 bids]
17h 9m
Nylon & Steel by Manuel Barrueco 2001 cd Steve Morse Andy Summer Al Di Meola US $0.99 [0 bids]
18h 17m
AL Di Meola JOHN Mclaughlin PACO De Lucia Friday Night in SAN FRANCISCO JAZZ CD US $3.99 [0 bids]
18h 41m
Al Di Meola , Audio CD, The Best of Al Di Meola: The Manhattan Years US $7.09 Buy It Now 18h 49m
Orange and Blue by Al di Meola (CD, Aug-1994, Bluemoon) US $2.00 [0 bids]
18h 58m
AL DI MEOLA Land Of The Midnight Sun 1976 JAZZ FUSION CLASSIC VG++/NMINT- US $15.00 Buy It Now 19h 12m
AL DI MEOLA -Anthology - (CD) 2 DISCS US $12.99 Buy It Now 19h 26m
AL DI MEOLA "NM WAX" Casino 25AP990 LP Ac3682 US $7.99 [0 bids]
19h 28m
Al Di Meola Land Of The Midnight Sun LP Vinyl Album Record! US $0.99 [0 bids]
21h 9m
AL DI MEOLA ELEGANT GYSPY 1977 N MINT RECORD ALBUM LP US $19.95 Buy It Now 21h 57m
AL DI MEOLA - ELECTRIC RENDEZVOUS. JAPAN.OBI. NEW US $5.99 [0 bids]
23h 13m
AL DI MEOLA, SCENARIO, FC 38944, STEREO LP; NEAR MINT/VERY GOOD+ US $1.99 [0 bids]
23h 42m
AL DI MEOLA, ELECTRIC RENDEZVOUS, FC 37654, STEREO LP; NEAR MINT/EXCELLENT US $1.49 [0 bids]
23h 42m
AL DI MEOLA - Casino ~ VINYL LP + INSERT US $12.94 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA PROJECT july 7" promo edited version (pb50015) plays same both sides US $8.29 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA spanish eyes 7" b/w two to tango (scbs8946) uk cbs 1980 US $8.29 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA roller jubilee 7" promo (scbs8803) uk cbs 1980 US $8.29 Buy It Now 1 day
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AL DI MEOLA ~'TIRAMI SU'~UK Manhattan LP 1987~MTL 1019~Jazz Rock~A1/B1 US $13.27 Buy It Now 1 day
Kiss My Axe by Al di Meola (CD, Nov-1991, Mesa/Bluemoon) US $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Passion, Grace & Fire by Al di Meola/John McLaughlin/Paco de Luc¡a (CD,... US $4.44 [0 bids]
1 day
Al Di Meola -- Elegant Gypsy LP US $1.49 [0 bids]
1 day
Friday Night in San Francisco by John McLaughlin/Al di Meola/Paco de Luc¡a... US $0.97 [0 bids]
1 day
Guitar Trio: Paco de Lucia/John McLaughlin/Al Di Meola by John McLaughlin/Al... US $0.97 [0 bids]
1 day
Page From An Autograph Book Al Di Meola UK memorabilia Autographed AUTOGRAPH US $79.63 Buy It Now 1 day
Vintage LP: AL DI MEOLA - ELECTRIC RENDEZVOUS vinyl record album FC 37654 US $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA - LIVE AT THE NORTH SEA JAZZ FESTIVAL [DIGIPAK] - NEW CD US $15.72 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA Land Of The Midnight Sun JAPAN Limited Mini LP CD 1997 MEGA RARE! US $119.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Al Di Meola - Elegant Gypsy - Cassette, Polish Press US $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Al Di Meola - World Sinfonia Heart Of The Immigrants - Cassette, Polish Press US $5.99 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA LP electric rendezvous NM vinyl record ALBUM FCC 37654 guitar jazz US $2.99 [0 bids]
1 day
AL DI MEOLA tour de force LIVE LP VG++ vinyl record ALBUM FCC 38373 guitar JAZZ US $2.99 [0 bids]
1 day
AL DI MEOLA LP land of the midnight sun VG++ vinyl RECORD album PC 34074 jazz US $2.99 [0 bids]
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3 vtg strings albums - Leo Kottke/Al Di Meola/20 Golden Moments of Magic Strings US $17.50 Buy It Now 1 day
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AL DI MEOLA WORLD SINFONIA HEART OF THE IMMIGRANTS JAPAN CD 1993 JIMCO NO OBI US $16.00 [0 bids]
US $20.80 Buy It Now
1 day
Al Di Meola ?- Elegant Gypsy/ Columbia ?- PC 34461 US $7.00 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA Land Of The Midnight Sun LP Columbia US $5.99 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA record LP Land of the Midnight Sun Lenny US $9.07 Buy It Now 1 day
Al Di Meola Scenario CD Philip Roberge Dennis MacKay US $45.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Elegant Gypsy by Al di Meola (CD, Jul-1987, Columbia (USA)) US $3.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Splendido Hotel by Al di Meola (CD, Columbia (USA)) US $3.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Tour de Force: Live by Al di Meola (CD, Jul-1987, Columbia (USA)) US $3.00 [0 bids]
1 day
AL DI MEOLA-TOUR DE FORCE LIVE 1982 COLUMBIA RECORDS LP FC 38373 VG++ FUSION US $5.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Al di Meola - Elegant Gypsy (1995) {CD Album} 0414-CB-88 US $8.29 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA Tour De Force Live JAPAN 1st Press CD 35DP-41 3500yen US $59.00 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA Scenario JAPAN 1st Press CD 1983 38DP102 RARE! 35DP US $49.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Splendido Hotel by Al di Meola (CD, Jul-1990, Columbia (USA)) US $0.99 [0 bids]
1 day
THE AL DI MEOLA PROJECT Live at The Palladium PILJ-11170 OBI LD V1835 US $5.99 [0 bids]
1 day
ELECTRIC ANTHOLOGY BY AL DI MEOLA ONE WAY CD US $17.00 [0 bids]
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This Is Jazz, Vol. 31 by Al Di Meola US $6.08 Buy It Now 1 day
1976 JAZZ FUSIIN ROCK Al Di Meola Land Of The Midnight Sun Vinyl LP @ US $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Al Di Meola - Land Of The Midnight Sun [CD New] US $20.04 Buy It Now 1 day
AL DI MEOLA CD Electric Rendezvous CBS 1982 Jan Hammer ex Return to Forever US $3.16 [0 bids]
1 day
AL DI MEOLA LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN 1976 COLUMIBA LP / RECORD US $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
AL DI MEOLA Casino LP 1978 Columbia US $6.49 Buy It Now 1 day
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Al Di Meola Casino (1978, CBS) *JC-35277* **MASTERDISK** Record, Vinyl, Album US $4.97 Buy It Now 1 day
Al Di Meola Land Of The Midnight Sun (1976, CBS) *PC-34074* **STERLING** Record US $4.97 Buy It Now 1 day
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Elegant Gypsy by Al di Meola (CD, Feb-2008, Columbia (USA)) US $1.99 [0 bids]
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1 day
ERIC JOHNSON Ah Via Musicom CD (Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Al Di Meola) US $3.33 [0 bids]
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Al Di Meola - Cieola e Terra - Brand New Promo LP in Original Shrinkwrap US $21.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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AL DI MEOLA shows & tickets


  • Jazztage Dresden 2014 on 6 Nov 2014
  • Al Di Meola at Boulevardtheater Dresden, Dresden on 10 Nov 2014
  • Al Di Meola at ??????????? ????? ???????? ? ???????? (????????? ?????), ???? on 14 Nov 2014
  • Al Di Meola at Sala São Paulo, São Paulo on 25 Nov 2014
  • Al Di Meola on 29 Nov 2014

AL DI MEOLA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

AL DI MEOLA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.87 | 111 ratings
Land Of The Midnight Sun
1976
4.26 | 533 ratings
Elegant Gypsy
1977
3.83 | 109 ratings
Casino
1978
2.93 | 60 ratings
Splendido Hotel
1980
3.54 | 71 ratings
Electric Rendezvous
1982
2.73 | 34 ratings
Scenario
1983
3.07 | 20 ratings
Cielo e Terra
1985
3.27 | 26 ratings
Soaring Through A Dream
1985
3.17 | 23 ratings
Tirami Su
1987
2.46 | 33 ratings
Kiss My Axe
1988
3.86 | 34 ratings
World Sinfonia
1990
3.31 | 17 ratings
Heart Of The Immigrants
1993
3.19 | 25 ratings
Orange And Blue
1994
3.35 | 19 ratings
Al Di Meola Plays Piazzolla
1996
3.13 | 26 ratings
The Infinite Desire
1998
2.52 | 19 ratings
Winter Nights
1999
4.00 | 52 ratings
The Grande Passion - World Sinfonia
2000
4.00 | 63 ratings
Flesh On Flesh
2002
2.07 | 8 ratings
Cosmopolitan Life (with Leonid Agutin)
2005
1.24 | 6 ratings
Vocal Rendezvous
2006
3.78 | 48 ratings
Consequence Of Chaos
2006
3.93 | 8 ratings
Diabolic Inventions and Seduction for Solo Guitar, Volume I, Music of Astor Piazzolla
2006
3.45 | 28 ratings
Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody
2011
3.17 | 6 ratings
All Your Life
2013

AL DI MEOLA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.03 | 14 ratings
Tour De Force: Live
1982
4.00 | 1 ratings
Andrea Parodi & Al Di Meola: Midsummer Night In Sardinia- Armentos
2005
4.33 | 3 ratings
Live In London ( Al Di Meola World Sinfonia)
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
He And Carmen (with Eszter Horgas)
2008
4.00 | 3 ratings
La Melodia Live In Milano (Al Di Meola World Sinfonia)
2008
5.00 | 2 ratings
World Sinfonia - Live from Seattle and Elsewhere
2009

AL DI MEOLA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

5.00 | 1 ratings
One of These Nights
2004
4.09 | 3 ratings
Speak A Volcano - Return To Electric Guitar (DVD)
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Morocco Fantasia
2012

AL DI MEOLA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Greatest Hits
1990
3.53 | 7 ratings
The Best of Al Di Meola: Manhattan Years
1992
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Essence of Al Di Meola
1994
4.00 | 5 ratings
This Is Jazz, Vol. 31
1997
4.00 | 8 ratings
Anthology (1975-1982)
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Revisited
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
Colecao Folha Classicos do Jazz Vol. 18
2008

AL DI MEOLA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

AL DI MEOLA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Land Of The Midnight Sun by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.87 | 111 ratings

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Land Of The Midnight Sun
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Prog 74

4 stars 1976 was a breakout year for jazz guitarist extraordinaire Al Di Meola. He had already taken the jazz-rock fusion world by storm with his fleet-fingered contributions to the excellent 'Romantic Warrior' album from Return to Forever earlier in the year, but in the fall he would unleash his debut solo album masterpiece. This album also features some of the best musicians around at the time such as Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, Chick Corea & Lenny White. "The Wizard" opens the album with a nice bass riff. Al Di Meola then makes his fiery presence known immediately after and really begins to drive this song. We are going into rock territory here. The music does have a bit of a magical atmosphere about it, which is fitting considering the title of the song. Quite proggy. The 9:00 minute title track comes next and it's rather seductive opening has a real Latin feel to it. Again excellent bass playing sets the mood right out of the gate. Di Meola plays breezy & lyrical throughout. The overall mood of the song seems somewhat at odds with the more mysterious sounding title. Di Meola really catches fire around the 7:00 minute mark and just burns his way all the way to the end. A curveball comes next in the form of Bach's "Sarabande from Violin Sonata in B Minor". However it's performed beautifully with Di Meola on acoustic guitar. "Love Theme from Pictures of the Sea" comes next and it's quite lovely. It has a nice, meditative vibe and features some trance-like vocals from Stanley Clarke and Patty Buyukas. "Suite-Golden Dawn" is next and this three part epic is the album's real highlight. Blazing electric guitar from Di Meola sets the mood with the first part of the suite. Beautiful keyboard playing from Barry Miles really gives the music a nice, proggy feel in the second part of the suite. The third part of the suite is the longest and features some real menacing guitar riffs from Di Meola and a real funky bass groove laid down by Pastorius. The somewhat frantic "Short Tales of the Black Forest" closes out the album in fantastic style. This song is a duet between Di Meola on acoustic guitar and Chick Corea on piano and it really smokes. This is an amazing album and can easily be recommended to jazz-fusion fans and progheads alike.

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 Elegant Gypsy by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.26 | 533 ratings

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Elegant Gypsy
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

5 stars One of the best jazz fusion albums ever

Al di Meola has been regarded, both in jazz rock and elsewhere, as one of the best guitarists of all time. Even though I could see that he was a very talented guitar player listening to the (few) Return to Forever albums I own, having a perfect technique and flawless musicianship, Return to Forever's music would, in one way or another, eventually turn me down. I just can't quite put my finger on it, maybe because of the huge amount of things that aren't right, but sometimes I just get awestruck as to how such a competent and talented group of musicians could compose some tunes that are, in my opinion, straight up boring.

Long story short, if Al could not pull it wile together with three other equally talented musicians, I doubted Mr. di Meola could put out better music by himself. Well, at least that was how I though up until putting my hands on Elegant Gypsy.

Indeed, Elegant Gypsy, in my opinion at least, rights many things that were wrong in Return to Forever, such as focus and proper melodic progress, which Al does perfectly here: he creates / comes up with a certain line of melody and develops it to the point it becomes perfect. Another thing which he does way right here and that doens't go quite as smoothly in Return to Forever is that everything gets its due space; there isn't a million things happening at the same time and when that happen they are the center of everything and every other instrument work around that thing (mostly guitar or keyboard lines).

As one might expect from a solo album of a guitarist, Elegant Gypsy is mostly about the guitars, but not exclusively. Yes, the guitars do play a huge part here, but so do the keyboards, that, at times, work together with the guitars in a call and response style. However, most the album revolves around the stringed instrument. Al here presents us with a barrage of unbelievable guitar lines and strikingly impressive ideas and motifs.

In spite of the whole album being filled with them, there are three in particular that amaze me every single time I listen to them: the guitar lines in Flight Over Rio, which make us feel like we are indeed inside an airplane (and the solo is just mind blowing); the speeding melodies of Race With Devil On Spanish Highway, which perfectly translate the feeling of being behind a racing car, the speed, the competition, the meandering curves. . . It feels exactly like you are in a speeding automobile; and the impressive layers of guitar music in the Elegant Gypsy Suite, which, by the way, is the song that sounds the closest to traditional progressive rock.

The other songs are quite good as well, but they don't have such memorable moments as those three in particular. Midnight Tango is, as the name implies, a tango inspired song where Al uses his proficient guitar abilities to merge the Latin rhythm with jazz rock, resulting in a very interesting combination of both. Mediterranean Sundance, on its turn, tries and mixes Spanish guitar to already spicy mix of jazz and Latin American combination employed in Elegant Gypsy.

There are some down points, however, even though these points actually account for what isn't in the album. First, despite the references to Brazil in some song titles, there is no musical reference to the country; Al limits himself to Latin American music, which in no circumstance includes the South American country.So instead of just mentioning Brazil it would be positive to actually mention it musically. Second (and this is more of a personal thing), I think this album could have been stretched or more songs could have been added to it in order to make it more musically diverse. In any way, these "problems" do not actually interfere in the album's overall quality.

Rating and Final Thoughts

Even some 50 years ago, doing something new with solely a guitar was a difficult thing. Al di Meola, however, managed to do that here. Merging jazz rock, Latin and Spanish music and, occasionally, progressive rock, Elegant Gypsy accounts for one of the most impressive albums recorded in the jazz fusion genre.

If you want to listen to an album that will definitely not let you down, with impressive guitar work and guitar-led compositions, look no further: Elegant Gypsy is what you most certainly need.

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 Elegant Gypsy by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.26 | 533 ratings

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Elegant Gypsy
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars I was drawn to this merely due to the high rating it has received and the plethora of reviews that rave eloquently at what a masterpiece this is. I have never heard of the man myself but it was a pleasant journey whole it lasted. As soon as 'Flight Over Rio' begins I know immediately this is very nice music that appeals to me as a form of relaxing after hearing too much ELP, Gentle Giant and Eloy. It is such an organic album that moves smoothly from one musical arrangement to the other. Parts remind me of Santana meets Hackett and it is certainly a unique sound that is created.

The guitar work is beautiful, particularly on 'Midnight Tango' with lovely Spanish flavours, and some wonderful piano augmentations. The symphonic strings are a serene nuance that resonates with my senses, and it gets quite wild at the end with African congas and bongos in a short burst of inspiration. 'Mediterranean Sundance' is permeated by Spanish Flamenco guitar vibrations, playing off some amazing speed picking. Meola and Paco De Lucia are obviously accomplished guitar virtuosos and this tune proves their ability. It makes a nice break on the album after the dense musicianship previously. The crystal clear guitar tones echo in the eardrums and provides a relaxing experience, but one will be astonished at the extraordinary dexterity of the guitarists especially towards the end when the pace quickens.

'Race With Devil On Spanish Highway' has an enigmatic title and is flavoured with a pulsing bassline, hi hat work, and a muscular guitar riff as bongos are played at a frenetic pace. This is my favourite track on the album feeling like the type of music heard in the 70s where twanging guitar is layered with hyper paced percussion. The guitar picking gets frenetic later and there is a soaring lead break that spins wildly out of control, and leaves me breathless. This is a master class performance and one that should be heard by all progheads.

'Lady Of Rome, Sister Of Brazil' is a short piece after the last frenetic explosion of power. Here we can relax again with twin acoustics playing very melodic romantic music. The album closes on another epic 'Elegant Gypsy Suite' clocking 9 minutes. It opens with some quirky time sigs and a jazz fusion feel. The guitars hold onto the melody and at times get funky, and there is a really nice finger picking thing with some speedy work and a wandering bassline that consistently maintains the rhythm. The guitar work is astounding and is relentless in creative styles, from speed picking to soaring string bends, the man is a master.

"Elegant Gypsy" is an incredible album of showmanship guitar work and needs recommendation. I didn't expect it to blow me away as it did but it is so good it is impossible to ignore. Good things come in small packages and although this is short it is certainly an excellent example of instrumental jazz fusion.

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 Electric Rendezvous by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.54 | 71 ratings

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Electric Rendezvous
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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

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 Winter Nights by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.52 | 19 ratings

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Winter Nights
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progosopher

2 stars Big Al's foray into the vast and oftentimes dreadful world of holiday music shows him in an appropriately yet uncharacteristically light mood. For many Di Meola fans, this does not bode well. What I like about it though, is his unique latinesque stamp, even if it does tend towards the mellow rather than the passionate. He gives us a mix of Christmas classics, both contemporary and traditional, and some original tunes, four of them titled as Winterludes. I am not sure if that is clever or pedestrian. The all-too familiar tunes include Carol of the Bells, Greensleeves, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, The First Noel, and Ave Maria. He gives fair treatment to these and makes some of them his own. There are a couple of songs that I have never associated with the season or the holidays: Scarborough Fair, where glittering tones and a delicate treatment of the melody create the impression of starlit snow and frost, making this the highlight of the album, and an excellent instrumental version of Peter Gabriel's Mercy Street. The remaining four tracks are original and naturally sound more like what we are used to hearing from this great guitarist, that is, for his quieter side. Al is found playing percussion, keys, and harp as well as acoustic guitar. Helping out is Hernan Romero on percussion and guitar and Roman Hrynkiv on the Ukrainian bandura, one of the most spectacular and beautiful instruments ever created. It is the inclusion of this that gives the album its most unique qualities. If you have never seen one, it is like a combination of a lute and a harp. Or maybe an autoharp with a guitar attached to it. Hrynkiv also composed three of the four Winterludes (which I think are really improvisations). Overall, the album is pleasant, yet ultimately one dimensional. The final effect is atmospheric. When it is over, the listener will remember the mood and tone more than the music or any of the songs. Big Al's playing at times shows his trademark intricacy but most of what is going on here is atmosphere and melody. The music is more Cielo y Terra than Elegant Gypsy. It is difficult to find a completely original holiday album, and this one fits somewhere in the middle. For an Al Di Meola album, it fits somewhere more towards the bottom.

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 Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.45 | 28 ratings

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Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars I'm rating this with only three stars because for me personally this was not exactly what I enjoy in fusion. It's only the third Di Meola album I've listened to, so I'm very green to rate his albums anyway. But I did enjoy the other two more.

The playing is doubtlessly fine, the top jazz guitarist (who served in Return To Forever in the 70s and is among the most respected in jazz / fusion world) is accompanied by an accordionist, two percussionists, another guitarist and someone playing "acoustic upright baby bass" (what? an instrument for dwarfs?). None of those band members are familiar to me, unlike guest musicians such as bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Peter Erskine. Well, maybe the accordion, and a sort of World Music flavour in general, is the first feature I'm not liking much. And another is the notable Latin feel, including busy percussion, in the music. Most tracks are quite restless in rhythm instead of being melodious. This was not so much the case with my other Di Meola hearings.

I liked about 50 % of the album, among the more enjoyable tracks were those not composed by Di Meola: 'Strawberry Fields' (the Beatles tune) and 'Over the Rainbow'. If you like rhythmically hectic Latin-flavoured guitar fusion, check this one out. 15 tracks, over 72 minutes.

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 Tirami Su  by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.17 | 23 ratings

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Tirami Su
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I only have this album in cassette format and I only had a chance to play this after I finally got a wonderful cassette deck player made in Norway: Tandberg TCD-440A (produced in 1978) - yeah! It's a vintage player and I really love the sound quality; it's natural and it has a powerful basslines. No wonder I find true joy playing the cassette of this album which opens beautifully with Beijing Demons (6:25). Even though it's not in similar vein with legendary album 'Land of Midnight Sun' or 'Elegant Gypsy' or 'Splendido Hotel' I really enjoy the music. It flows nicely in ambient mode demonstrating Al's stunning guitar work. The second track Arabella (7:14) is also another good track with vocal and latin music style. Well, actually I do not expect Al plays this style of music and initially I did not quite favor this kind of music. But when I really forget how Al's music started at the beginning in the 70s, I then realized that the music is very good and enjoyable. I can find the stunning guitar that flows beautifully throughout some tracks featured here.

I can say that Smile from a Stranger (5:43) has its roots with legendary style of Al Di Meola especially when it reaches the collaborative work of guitar and keyboard. Rhapsody of Fire (5:05) continues with another music style.

Overall, I consider this as a very good album and I recommend those of you who love jazz-rock fusion kind of music would enjoy this album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Elegant Gypsy by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.26 | 533 ratings

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Elegant Gypsy
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by dreadpirateroberts

4 stars For Elegant Gypsy, Di Meola carries a similar line-up over from his first album and produces a more consistent record. While it follows a similar pattern in structure and sequencing, it's more satisfying overall. If the songs are much the same texture-wise, using percussion, a tight rhythm section and speed-driven guitar work, along with often atmospheric keys - it's no surprise that he choose to refine the successful sound from Land of the Midnight Sun.

After the steady opening of 'Flight Over Rio' with its nice tempo shift in the middle, we have the more contemplative 'Midnight Tango' which is probably the highlight of the album. Smooth but still surprising, it's graced with evocative solos from both guitar and piano, and seems to be a step forward in arrangement for Di Meola. Here he gives the song a lot of space, choosing his moments on electric guitar carefully, while also incorporating more acoustic playing.

'Mediterranean Sundance' continues the acoustic theme - in the form of a duet between flamenco legend Paco de Lucía and Di Meola. It's stunning (and I do have a soft spot for flamenco guitar) perhaps not simply for their dazzling fretwork but the way it so effortlessly brings Spanish imagery to mind, it's one of those pieces (a little like 'Lady of Rome...') that transports your mind. While it would be revisited and expanded years later on Friday Night in San Francisco, this version is still wonderful.

Following the duet is 'Race With Devil on Spanish Highway' a menacing track that features drummer Lenny White's second fine performance on the album, and one that again displays the speed we've come to expect from Di Meola by now. 'Elegant Gypsy Suite' is a little more of a mid-tempo piece and a satisfying conclusion to the album, its bass and key sound hinting at material that would be covered on Meola's follow up 'Casino.'

Another fantastic album of Latin Jazz fusion, four stars.

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 Elegant Gypsy by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.26 | 533 ratings

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Elegant Gypsy
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Al Di Meola uses Spanish and Latin musical influences to provide a texture to this expansive exploration of his guitar skills. To my ears, it's a pleasant but not brilliant listen, and I think this might partially because it's very much a product of its time; the Latin-flavoured fusion approach here had already become pretty tired at the hands of Santana and since then has become very well-explored, and the production quality feels dated to me even though I imagine if you listened to it at the time it would have felt very modern. On top of that, I just don't find Al's guitar playing very revolutionary, and I'm sure that's because a million and one guitarists have taken up his ideas and popularised them, but I've already heard those other guitarists and I (and most music listeners my age) can't un-hear them before coming to this album.

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 Vocal Rendezvous by DI MEOLA, AL album cover Studio Album, 2006
1.24 | 6 ratings

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Vocal Rendezvous
Al Di Meola Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by historian9
Forum & Site Admin Group Site Admin / JRF Team

1 stars I had some trouble with acoustic and world fusion works of AL DI MEOLA, as it was the first 70's jazz fusion stuff that attracted me in the first place. I've grown to like a lot of the stuff though, even if my ratings don't really show off around here because I think his easy listening or ambient work can't be rendered as masterpieces of fusion but make for excellent lounge music.

This one though does nothing for me and it's the only time in his career I think where AL collaborated with so many pop singers, and what this album brings out is AL in more R&B, rap or hip-hop format, I don't really know anymore cause the lines of these genres are a bit blurred for me here, you might call some of it jazz pop I guess. There are 3 instrumentals which are kind of ok, but I have plenty of other and better AL's work to choose from if I'm gonna be in need of easy listening music. It's not horrible music, but seeing as there is so much more in his catalogue I can't really recommend this to someone who is AL's fan or someone who is looking for jazz fusion that will blow him away, everyone else is welcome to enjoy it I guess but why bother buying it if you're gonna probably hearing this kind of stuff on the radio all the time for free.

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