(Columbia / Legacy)

AL DiMEOLA: Anthology (Columbia / Legacy)I've been waiting a long time for this. Al DiMeola has been one of my favorite guitarists since I heard him on the Return to Forever fusion masterpiece, Romantic Warrior. The songs on the new double CD appear in (mostly) chronological order, covering the years 1976-83. From the blazing "Land of the Midnight Sun" to the end of the second CD; the quintessential jazz guitar hero burns up the fretboard with mindboggling speed and precision. All of his Columbia material is represented here, with the exception of the classic Friday Night in San Francisco album with John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia.

In the 2½ hours on these two CDs, DiMeola covers an enormous amount of musical ground. From the graceful power of the epic "Elegant Gypsy Suite," to the gentle "Bianca's Midnight Lullaby," to a rocker like "Cruisin'," he effortlessly switches between multiple styles--often within the same song. Looking for highlights? Check out the track list. There isn't a bad one in the bunch. One special note to fans: there are two previously unreleased live tracks at the end of each disc, for a total of almost 40 minutes of new music. The liner notes are excellent, and there are plenty of great photos also.

It's always great to see one of your favorite musicians release a compilation like this and have it done right. You can almost always find something wrong with them when you've been a fan for any length of time. There's always the song that should've been on there but wasn't, and vice versa. But you'll be hard pressed to find fault with this one. Whether you're a longtime fan or discovering Al DiMeola for the first time, you can't go wrong with Anthology.


DISC ONE -- Land of the Midnight Sun * Suite: Golden Dawn * Race With Devil on Spanish Highway * Elegant Gypsy Suite * Senor Mouse * Casino * Medley: Short Tales From the Black Forest/Fantasia for Two Guitars (live) * The Wizard (live)

DISC TWO -- Alien Chase on Arabian Desert * Dinner Music of the Gods * Bianca's Midnight Lullaby * God Bird Change * Electric Rendezvous * Nena (live) * Egyptian Danza (live) * Cruisin' (live) * Island Dreamer * Sequencer * Al Di's Dream Theme (live) * Theme to the Mothership (live)

© 2000 Steve Marshall

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