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Al Di Meola - Electric Rendezvous CD (album) cover


Al Di Meola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.55 | 119 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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).

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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