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Album Review

Following up the superb Elegant Gypsy was no mean feat, but Al di Meola gave it his best shot with the similarly styled Casino, released in 1978. Featuring a core band of Steve Gadd, Anthony Jackson, and Barry Miles (whom di Meola came up with before the guitarist was invited to join Return to Forever), the playing is sharp and fiery, matching the youthful intensity of the leader. Di Meola is a good composer in the fusion idiom, and the four original compositions on Casino, although clearly bearing the mark of Chick Corea's influence, are strong. His "Fantasia Suite for Two Guitars," featuring di Meola accompanying himself via multi-tracking, is beautiful and dramatic, and hints at the guitarist's later all-acoustic works such as Friday Night in San Francisco. "Dark Eye Tango" opens with a slow theme before turning into an uptempo vehicle for di Meola's darting Les Paul. In fact, it is the leader's solos that frequently prevent the Latin grooves and rhythms found on Casino from sounding stale and a bit dated. His trademark staccato phrasing and high-velocity improvisations are what is noticed upon first listen, but di Meola does have an excellent sense of phrasing that is undeniably present. Contrary to popular opinion, he knows how to use his technique to good effect. Casino is not as strong as either Elegant Gypsy or Romantic Warrior, but is nevertheless well worth picking up for fans either of di Meola himself or of the entire 1970s fusion scene.

Customer Reviews


Al Dimeola is a wizard of flashing fusion electric guitar and is also a master as an acoustic player with an eagerness to explore numerous cultural musical stylings. He broke into the music scene when he joined the great Return To Forever in 1974 and immediately became a very influential fusion jazz guitarist. Though with his great talent, he was criticized early in his career that he overplayed with an excess on notes and lacked true emotion and feeling in his playing.

After a relatively brief time with the short lived RTF due to their breakup, Dimeola then ventured out to lead his own groups, alternating between electric and acoustical guitar throughout his career.

"Casino" was his third solo outing released in 1978 and showed that he was progressively maturing as a musician and playing with much improved emotion, feeling and growth since the RTF days as he showed here in all of the compositions a distinct strength and diversity. Several tracks are ripping, straight ahead fusion-rock assaults, "Fantasia Suite For Two Guitars" displays his masterful acoustical talents while his growing affection for flamenco is displayed as well.

A highly recommended album from Dimeola for your listening pleasures!!!

Guitar at its finest...

No matter what style of music you like, if you like guitar, then Al di Meola can only be recognized for what he is - a freak!!


Born: July 22, 1954 in Jersey City, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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