Al Di Meola: Egyptian Danza
Al Di Meola (electric guitar)
Tour De Force "Live" (CBS CK 38373)
Victor Godsey (keyboards), Mingo Lewis (percussion).
Composed by Al Di Meola.
Recorded: Philadelphia, PA, February 4, 1982
Rating: 82/100 (learn more)
Di Meola was coming off multi-years of winning the Guitar Player magazine poll as best overall guitarist when he recorded this live album. He surrounded himself with some of the greatest fusion players of the era. Jan Hammer, Steve Gadd and Anthony Jackson were no slouches. However, this tune, because of a lack of improvisation, seems more in the character of early progressive rock, trying to get radio airplay, rather than jazz-fusion.
Spanish and Egyptian in nature, "Egyptian Danza" is a pure chops-fest. Di Meola impressively runs the minor scales at terminal velocity. But it is speed virtually devoid of charm. Aside from Hammer's short solo and a brief bass statement, Di Meola so dominates the piece that the other players are mere spectators. There is no stretching out, no exploring, which is too bad. You would think a live recording would allow Di Meola to expound a bit. It is my belief that Al was reading too many guitar magazine polls at this time.
There is no denying that Di Meola is a great guitarist who plays demanding music worthy of an audience. I just wish there were more magic to it. But with very few exceptions during his career, it just isn't there. That being said, I would give my left nut to play half as good.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky