Al Di Meola – Flesh on Flesh
Al Di Meola
(Telarc – 2002)
by Ricky Miller
Since we first met teenager Al Di Meola as part of Chick Corea’s now-legendary Return To Forever band, he has been amazing us with his guitar mastry. This CD is no different. Di Meola pulls together elements of jazz, flamenco and pop with a decidedly Latin flavor. The captivating nine-plus minute “Zona Desperata” contains three distinct parts and you don’t realize how long it is until it’s over… and that’s how the CD starts out! The title track Flesh on Flesh features guests pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, flutist Alejandro Santos, and World Sinfonia members Gumbi Ortiz on percussion and Mario Parmisano on keyboards, and the result is a jamming track that’s straight out of Havana.
I particularly liked the funky take on “Senor Mouse”; Di Meola picks up a Strat and literally pumps the rodent full of Latin fusion. Hindsight is 20/20, and it looks from here as if that original Corea band owed a lot of it’s funkiness to Di Meola. Over the years Al has gone down a lot of different roads, like any gifted artist, testing the limits and directions of his abilities and ideas. Throughout he has continued to show great songwriting skills and superb performing talents, while keeping his connection with that intrinsic rhythm that keeps you entranced. Di Meola fans will love this CD, and critics should take an honest listen because there’s really not much to criticize here.