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Al Di Meola

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Al Di Meola Al Di Meola Project: Kiss My Axe album cover
2.61 | 60 ratings | 6 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. South Bound Traveler (5:22)
2. The Embrace (5:49)
3. Kiss My Axe (5:04)
4. Morocco (7:41)
5. Gigi's Playtime Rhyme (Interlude #1) (2:36)
6. One Night Last June (8:19)
7. Phantom (7:53)
8. Erotic Interlude (Interlude #2) (2:32)
9. Global Safari (5:42)
10. Interlude #3 (1:59)
11. Purple Orchids (6:45)
12. The Prophet (Interlude #4) (1:18)
13. Oriana (September 24, 1988) (5:19)

Total Time 66:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Al DiMeola / electric & acoustic (4,5,8) guitars, Roland guitar synth, Korg M1 & Yamaha Tg77 synths, Roland sampler, cymbals (4,13), percussion (5), co-arranger & producer
- Barry Miles / Korg M1 & Yamaha Tg77 synthesizers, Synclavier, Roland sampler, piano, co-arranger
- Rachel Z / synthesizers
- Tony Scherr / acoustic (6) & electric (2,11) basses
- Anthony Jackson / electric 6-string contrabass
- Richie Morales / drums (2,4,6,7,11)
- Omar Hakim / drums (3,9)
- Gumbi Ortiz / congas (2,3,6,7,11), bata (9)
- Arto Tuncboyaciyan / bongos (3,6,11), percussion, bata (9), voice (1-4,7,13)

- Oriana Di Meola / baby talk voice (5)
- Dan Mockensturm / Synclavier programming

Releases information

Artwork: Paula Scher (design) with Bill King (photo)

2xLP Tomato ‎- 700781 (1991, US)

CD Tomato ‎- R2-79751 (1991, US)
CD In-Akustik ‎- INAK 700782 (1998, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy AL DI MEOLA Al Di Meola Project: Kiss My Axe Music

AL DI MEOLA Al Di Meola Project: Kiss My Axe ratings distribution

(60 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (20%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

AL DI MEOLA Al Di Meola Project: Kiss My Axe reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Owl
1 stars From one extreme of boredom (gratuitous speed wankery) to another (smooooth-jaaazzzz tedium).

You'd think someone who's been around as long as Al would at least have a little class and some faith in the content of his recordings to not have to resort to using porn-lite covers to sell his albums.

But that's nothing compared to the contents themselves, in this case, it's just pure snooze inducing fusion-lite with Latin percussion tailored for your local Smooth-Jazz station, polite, inoffensive and very strictly color within the lines, ZERO risk-taking at all. Efficient, coldly technical, pushes all the right buttons for some, but nothing of any real interest here.

Review by fuxi
3 stars When I first listened to Al DiMeola's solo albums from the 1970s I was impressed by Al's technique, and his music gave me a lot of pleasure, but it never ever moved me. Not one single bit. Al was a guitar 'wunderkind' who seemed to lack emotional maturity - understandable when you consider how young he used to be.

When I saw the rave reviews KISS MY AXE received, I decided to give DiMeola another chance. I must admit I was impressed. KISS MY AXE's opening tunes still didn't bode well: I thought they were run-of-the-mill late-eighties/early-nineties fusion with a "world music" flavour, and with synths that by now (we're in 2007 as I write this) sounded frightfully dated.

But the album's title tune took my breath away with its subtle electric guitar playing. This was Al, but not as I had known him! Did he experience some serious loss, was he deeply in love, had he finally grown up or what WAS it? In any case, his music reached greater depths than before. To top it all, he led the piece towards a rocking, truly exciting climax.

Further proof of Al's newly found maturity could be heard in 'One Night Last June' and 'Global Safari', where the playing was once again superb. Was this man expressing pain or pleasure? I couldn't tell but he really astonished me, and to top it all, a certain Barry Miles provided some masterly solos on grand piano!

The album's final track is entitled 'Oriana (September 24, 1988)'. I don't know who the lucky lady is, or what sort of occasion Di Meola is referring to, but here too, the music sounds exquisitely tender.

As you may gather from this album's title and cover picture(s), early 1990s DiMeola still enjoyed striking sexist poses - just like his younger incarnation. KISS MY AXE's probably features his silliest sleeve art ever. But the music is a different kettle of fish. It makes me wonder what he's been up to in the past fifteen years or so...

Recommended to everyone who enjoys gorgeous guitar playing. Close your eyes and enjoy. Rating: Three and a half stars.

Review by Flucktrot
2 stars All right--Al di Meola is back with an in-your-face album title and a cover featuring a less-nerdy Al and a topless babe. Things are looking up, right? Well, unfortunately, not too much. If you're going to have an album titled Kiss My Axe, there better be some in your face guitar shredding (at least in my book), probably over power chords and double-bass drums--not smooth jazz. Since when did Al take his album title ideas from Ted Nugent, anyway?

Inappropriate album title aside, there is plenty of fine guitar on this album. The rawness from di Meola's early days has been completely removed, often to the detriment of the music. I prefer some rough tones to provide texture and energy, but I also cannnot deny that di Meola displays some absolutely gorgeous playing on this album. Unfortunately for me, this kind of guitar is more likely to activate circuits in my brain that put me to sleep, rather than actively engage in the musical experience. Maybe this would be good to have around to plan a romantic evening, but certainly not for much else.

There really is no need to go into the tracks in depth--there is basically much alternating between mellow, relaxing bits and more uptempo sections. Global Safari and Phantom are greats examples of di Meola's soothing sustains, while parts of the title track and Morocco indicate that his shredding days are far from over. However, there's really no fusion happening, and there's also plenty of annoying common eighties flaws, such as cheesy vocal oooohs and cliche synths. But the guitar is always solid, even if it's not aggressive enough for your preference.

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars Every time I pick up a CD at my local library that I haven’t seen before I wonder if it came from a patron’s donation; was the result of an employee whose personal tastes influenced my tax-dollar’s spending decisions; or if the record industry lost another racketeering case and had to dump some more of their stale inventory as a “public service”. I’m not sure which applies in this case, but if it was a library employee who decided that spending my tax dollars on this thing was a wise decision, I want that person fired.

Al Di Meolo is unquestionably an outstanding musician, and his prowess at picking guitar strings ranks him up there with music’s greatest legends. But this album is one of the most boring things I’ve heard in a long time, and that’s saying something considering I’ve logged a half-dozen one star album reviews in less than a year.

The guitar playing is great of course, but the setup pretty much ensures the overall experience is going to be disappointing. A half-naked chick on the cover, an album title that would have been more fitting for Van Halen or Twisted Sister, and an introduction in the liner notes that boasts of Di Meolo’s “speed”, “intensity”, “guitar heroics”, “power and fury” on this “most intense electric album in ten years” had me salivating in anticipation of an onslaught of Latin-flavored jazz ferocity. Well, that was a mistake.

The most salsafied track is the naughtily (and misleadingly) titled “Erotic Interlude” with some peppy Latin percussion and an upbeat tempo. But that’s about it. The rest of this album consists of a dozen tracks of the some of the smoothest, most precise, and unimaginative jazz I’ve ever heard out of this guy. There’s nothing here that stands up to the promising written introduction in the liner notes. I’m left wondering if this was not only a castoff copy from the record label, but was also the result of a manufacturing error that left someone else’s CD booklet inside of a Di Meolo jewel case. If that’s true then this all makes a lot more sense, but I sort of doubt it.

Fortunately the master would recover from this and put out the much more adventurous ‘World Sinfonia’ just a couple years later, and he seems to have stayed away from this kind of lounge-act smoothness on most of his records since, but this is one for the dustbins and suburban library shelves, not for your collection (or mine). Two stars just because that means ‘for collectors only’ and I’m sure Al has fans that hoard everything he’s ever released. They might dig this but I didn’t.


Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Beside of its unusual (for ADM) cover art, this album is final low point on some Al Di Meola musical moment. After some great electric speed attacks on his earlier solo albums, ADM tried to find new ground, flirting with world music and some more commercial sound.

Kiss My Axe is blind line. There he plays smooth jazz-fusion with slight Latin scent and world music influences. Even if sound radio-friendly, its far from guitarist musical and technical tops. Easy jazzy listening ,which was so popular on some radio stations at that time.

His guitar still sounds good, and few moments could be enjoyable, but in total this work adds nothing to great guitarist legacy.

All musicians team is competent though, and big part of them fill form ADM's new perfect world fusion band "World Sinfonia" very soon. But this album is still too much transitional.

Mostly a recording for fans and collectors. As well for smooth jazz fusion lovers.

About 2,5.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This albums marks a return to a great shape for Meola. It contains brilliant playing on acoustic and electric guitars and what has not been always the case, an attention to detail and decent compositions. Rhythmically, the album is on top of the game; there plenty of speed changes, irregular b ... (read more)

Report this review (#2842128) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, September 24, 2022 | Review Permanlink

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