Remember Al DiMeola? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Finch Platte
06-30-2011, 08:52 AM
Yeah, I know, he's still around (but I notice he's been replaced by Frank Gambale in Return To Forever's latest tour).

Anyhoo, Al had a trio of awesome solo discs released way back when: The debut, Land Of The Midnight Sun, released in 1976, Elegant Gypsy in 1977, and Casino, 1978. "Blazing jazz fusion," as AllMusic puts it.

I was really into him those first 3 discs, then he just kinda fell off the earth for me. I had a friend named Robert who could play selections off these records, note for note, as fast & clean as Al could play. It was a trip sitting down in front of the stereo with Robert & watching him play along with the records- it was like having a short, ugly version of DiMeola 3 feet away! :arf:

Robert's no longer with us, but I've put together a selection of my favorite (read: uptempo) songs from the discs, and finished it off with a live track from Tour De Force: Live (1982).

Hope you enjoy it, you can find it here. (

Guitarist Al di Meola first rose to prominence as a blazing jazz fusion player before his playing matured and he began to conquer other styles, such as acoustic Latin music. Born on July 22, 1954, in Jersey City, NJ, di Meola briefly studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston during the early '70s before accepting a job replacing guitarist Bill Connors in fusion trailblazers Return to Forever (a group that included such monster instrumentalists as keyboardist Chick Corea and bassist Stanley Clarke) in 1974. It was with di Meola that Return to Forever enjoyed their greatest commercial success, as such releases as 1974's Where Have I Known Before, 1975's No Mystery, and 1976's Romantic Warrior cracked the U.S. Top 40 before di Meola jumped ship to launch a solo career.

What followed remains some of the finest jazz fusion guitar-based recordings ever: 1976's Land of the Midnight Sun, 1977's Elegant Gypsy (which would eventually earn gold certification in the U.S.), and Casino, plus 1979's Splendido Hotel. Di Meola then united with fellow guitar greats John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía for 1980's Friday Night in San Francisco. Throughout the '80s and '90s, di Meola racked up numerous accolades (including earning yearly top honors in Guitar Player magazine polls), kept on issuing solo releases on a regular basis, and played with others, including releases by Stomu Yamash'ta, Paul Simon, Stanley Jordan, and David Matthews, as well as further work with such former bandmates as Corea, Clarke, de Lucía, and McLaughlin.

During the '90s, di Meola turned his back almost entirely on fusion to concentrate more on acoustic-based world music, as evidenced by such releases as World Sinfonia, Di Meola Plays Piazzolla, and Heart of the Immigrants, among others. Since that time, di Meola has continued this eclectic approach with releases like 2003's Revisited, 2006's Consequence of Chaos, 2007's Diabolic Inventions and Seduction for Solo Guitar, Vol. 1: Music of Astor Piazzolla, and 2008's live album He and Carmen with flutist Eszter Horgas. In 2011, di Meola delivered the Latin and world music-infused studio album Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody, featuring bassist Charlie Haden and Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba.


06-30-2011, 09:32 AM

I have every disk you listed. But yeah, he seems to have disappeared just after Rite Of Strings with JLP and Stanley Clarke.

If you don't have that one, you may want to check it out. Although all acoustic, AD does some insane stuff.

06-30-2011, 12:00 PM
I got to see DiMeola soon after the release of ELEGANT GYPSY in a small club atmosphere in Dallas..............Anthony Jackson on bass............great show.
Then I saw him again on the road promoting the release of TIRAMI SU............the three things I loved about this show was...........first, he was touring with a synclavier, which at the time was a hot instrument but so expensive, very few would buy it.....and certainly not carry it around on tour........second, he had Anthony Jackson on bass ('nough said)............and third, RACE WITH THE DEVIL ON SPANISH HIGHWAY was still a kick-ass tune............another great show.

Mr Peabody
06-30-2011, 04:38 PM
Thanks for the info FP. I'm an AD fan, I don't have as much material as Hyfi though. Did Jan Hammer appear on any other albums than Elegant Gypsy? EG is one of my all time favorit albums.

Jack in Wilmington
06-30-2011, 05:10 PM
He's playing the Newport Jazz Fest on Aug. 6th. Man I would love to go. May be kind of last minute trying to get a room.

06-30-2011, 05:27 PM
Tanx FP - going right into my fusion rotation.

07-01-2011, 04:38 AM
Thanks for the info FP. I'm an AD fan, I don't have as much material as Hyfi though. Did Jan Hammer appear on any other albums than Elegant Gypsy? EG is one of my all time favorit albums.

Peabody :
Go to Wiki and look up AD -- there you will find a good list of discs and the personnel he used.

07-01-2011, 04:46 AM
I was in High School when the whole "Fusion" bomb hit. All the guys in my class were either rockers or funksters. Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, Weather Report, these bands blew our collective minds. Some guys with the chops went that way, others of us, myself included, who couldn't hang technically just listened and watched in awe. Al was/is a great guitarist and I saw him live with RTF but never "fell in love with him". While he could do some wizardlike chit on the axe I never felt any connection or soul with his playing. All pyrotechnics with no emotion is how it struck me. No denegration, just how it affected me.


07-01-2011, 05:05 AM
Yeah, I know, he's still around (but I notice he's been replaced by Frank Gambale in Return To Forever's latest tour).


Word on the street is that he is afraid of doing further damage to his ears and prefers to play acoustic.
Apparently, RTF and all that followed got a bit loud and lead to tinnitus.

07-06-2011, 09:35 AM
Al had a good run in the early 80's with Elegant Gypsy, Casino, Electric Rendezvous and Land of the midnight sun, played the grooves offa them.

He lost the plot for awhile and came back strong with Kiss my Axe, which is also recorded really well.
Seems to have lost me again since then with his world sinfonia and other stuff.

A good friend went to high school with him, said he was the quintessential hippie musician. Seems to have picked up some arrogance along the way, but damn he can play.