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.