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Al DiMeola - Casino CD (album) cover


Al DiMeola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.81 | 168 ratings

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3 stars The album that followed his two most acclaimed solo efforts after leaving Chick Corea's ever-evolving RETURN TO FOREVER project, Casino is a very polished album, eminently listenable, yet lacks something. I think it is the push and prodding that collaborators can have. Here it feels as if Al is definitely the boss--confident to the point of being cocky, taking the vast majority of the limelight--even multi-tracking his own instruments--rather than giving away any of the show time to anyone else. (The album's "Fantasia Suite for Two Guitars" has two guitars, but his! Recorded in two tracks!) Though Al has enlisted the help of amazing team of players--including Steve Gadd, Mingo Lewis, Eddie Colon, Barry Miles, and Anthony Jackson--the team are all subordinates; all are very respected in their field but none of them have been leaders--whereas on previous albums Al had hired help from seasoned veterans--some of whom were senior to him (and, therefore, more strongheaded). For Casino, gone are previous collaborators Jan Hammer, Lenny White, and Paco De Lucia (and before that, Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius, and Stanley Clarke). And it shows: This is Al's show now. So what's wrong with that? the music comes out a little too proscribed, cerebral, even sterile. Don't get me wrong. It's impressive and clean and genius. It just lacks some kind of . . . soul. Or emotion. Listening to this album after all these years reveals some really great music, accomplished composition and performance, just lacking that something personal. "Casino" (5:05) (8/10) and "Chasin' the Voodoo" (9:29) (8/10) have both received many concert performances by Al through the years--as has Chick Corea's "Seņor Mouse." I bet the concert versions are awesome.
BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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