Elegant Gypsy review by Al Di Meola

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jan 1, 1977
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.7 (26 votes)
Al Di Meola: Elegant Gypsy

Sound — 10
This is a landmark album not only in Al Di Meola's, but in jazz guitar history overall. It's the second Di Meola's solo album and it is a huge improvement from his first output. The intense and fast jazz fusion guitar is still there, but it's played with a much greater emphasis on the nature of songs and the melodies, rather than speed and intensity. On this CD we actually get to hear what kind of compositions Al is able to write. And they are amazing! Mediterranean Sundance and Race With The Devil On Spanish Highway are great classics and other songs ae equally great, just don't have as much catchyness (then again, who looks for catchy melodies in jazz?; ]). The songs are all in the vein of latin jazz, but they are very different, from Brazilian music to flamenco to rock-ish fusion, this CD has everything that Al's early work is associated with.

Lyrics — 9
No lyrics here, but I could talk a bit about the performance of the musicians. Along with Al is a handful of great jazz musicians: Jan Hammer, Steve Gadd, Anthony Jackson, Mingo Lewis, Lenny White, Barry Miles and Paco De Lucia. So it's a quality recording for sure. It has this late 70's feel that makes it sound like an old record, but everything is beautifully polished and sounds very organic. My favourite part of the record is Mediterranean Sundance, in which you can really forget that Al is american and rather feel like in some late 70s Spanish hotel.

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, I don't think it is the best thing that Di Meola has made, but it's a very strong, concentrated album, with which he stepped a bit outside of the jazz fusion world into a more world-music oriented genres. Also, there are two classic Di Meola tunes here that alone are worthy to buy this CD. A really great album to behold.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Great album and whoever you are, thank you for listening to some decent music and writing a good review.....
    Al Di Meola has always made me feel like I have three thumbs and two pinkies on each hand. I'm only 58, but when I grow up I want to play just like him.
    Mediterranean Sundance, the "duel", as in pace, turn, fire, between Al and Paco is my all time favorite guitar piece. Any guitarist NEEDS to hear it. Paco's complex open chords and absolute mastery of the strings is awesome. He plays all hammer-stroke in typical traditional flamenco style on his riffs, very difficult. Al easily surpasses him with a beautiful touch, and gorgeous phrasing, and expressive use of his signature muting technique. His artistry shows that at this almost unimaginable break-neck pace, that he is very comfortable and totally in his element. Al Di Meola is the greatest!
    Ahhhhh my first fusion cd. This was the door to everything i listen to today and the man is a giant influence on my playing.
    It's Funny that this is a GUITAR based site and there are so few comments on Al, by far one of the best guitar players of the 20th century, this album and Return To Forever's Romantic Warrior Album turned me onto Jazz fusion & technical guitar playing in general. Especially if you are just starting to learn Theory this is the Man to listen to! Good review!
    you can tell by my username what type of music i like, but al really turned me on to jazz, and made me broaden my spectrum as a guitar player.
    Al is really the father of shredders. Great musician. I love his music.