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Al DiMeola - Splendido Hotel CD (album) cover


Al DiMeola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.97 | 89 ratings

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The Owl
Prog Reviewer
1 stars When this sprawling magnesium opus was first unleashed circa 1979, I approached it with some trepidation, unfortunately, that trepidation proved very well founded. Simply put, this was one of the most ponderous, pretentious, egocentric and overblown things I ever heard in my life! And this coming from a person who LOVES good fusion, progressive rock and adventurous music in general! Albums like this were what gave fusion a bad name in some people's minds towards the end of the 70's.

From the rather excessive fussed-with music-math to the equally ridiculous and over- long "Thank You" section in the liner notes (he stops just barely short of thanking the trees for producing the paper that this was printed on and the rubber plants for the vynil et al), it's painfully clear that Al DiMeola wants you to pay attention to him and fall down and worship him wether he actually has something to say or not. Is there no end to this man's ego and overblown self-importance?

The music? On the whole, it seems Big Al is trying to cover a wide variety of bases, some of his own choosing, and one OBVIOUSLY of the record company's ill-conceived marketing tragedy (yes, it's a deliberate substitution on my part for the word "strategy"), "I Can Tell", a soulless pseudo-soul tune on which Big Al proves to the world at large that William Shatner can outsing him (at least Shatner was FUNNY and ENTERTAINING!). The only humor comes on the fadeout when Al smashes an exaspirated power-chord as if to say, "Can you please shoot me now?". There's a pleasnat enough duet with Les Paul ("Spanish Eyes"), a bizarre post-disco dance tune called "Roller Jubilee" and the usual pseudo-flamenco workouts, nothing really new otherwise.

Elsewhere, it's pretty much a repeat of previous Al D outings, very calculated, mathematical textbook exercises lacking in any real soul or passion, long on excessive speed guitar wankery and arbitrary start-stop stuff but VERY short on real musical substance. Even Chick Corea's "Isfhan" fails to spark any interest, attempting to conjure up sonic images of ancient Persia and all.

Big Al D is, if nothing else an accomplished TECHNICIAN, but as far as being able to play musically and with real soul, he falls far short of his comtemporaries like John McLaughlin (who has a FRIGHTENING amount of musical depth), Allan Holdsworth, Larry Coryell, Philip Catherine and Pat Metheny among others.

Want fusion with REAL musical substance? Look elsewhere.

The Owl | 1/5 |


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