Guitar god Al Di Meola's Telarc debut,The Infinite Desire, may well be the crowning achievement of his career to date. Di Meola has covered a lot of musical ground throught his career, including the fusion of Return To Forever and his first several albums, his acoustic projects, his interpretation of flamenco and Argentinian tango, and his love of the music of Italy and surrounding Mediterranean lands. All of these influences can be found at various points throughout the disc. The styles may shift, but all of the skillful compositions are saturated with passionate, melodic lyricism for a truly moving listening experience. Prime examples include "Vizzini" (an Italian painter whose works inspired many of these compositions), "In My Mother's Eyes," and the title cut.
The simple beauty of Di Meola's acoustic guitar is counterbalanced with lot of guitar technology. Di Meola employs a wide array of sampled sounds (tamboora, fretless bass, trumpet, accordian, organ, vocals, percussion, cymbals) to create interesting background textures throughout the program. On the title track, a looped sample of splashing water forms part of the rhythmic backdrop. Of course, there's chops galore, too, on tunes such as "Invention of the Monsters" and "Race with Devil on Turkish Highway" - a duo with fellow technical wiz Steve Vai. But the chops displays and electronics truly serve the music, not vice versa. The only mis-step, in my opinion, is the disc's opener, "Beyond the Mirage," which employs mechanical, clunky drum loops (drum loops? from Al Di Meola?!?!?). Nevertheless, this is an excellent disc compositionally, technically, and emotionally. It's one of those CDs that reveals more and more with each subsequent hearing. (Telarc 83433)
Tracks:Beyond the Mirage; Shaking the Spirits; Vizzini; In My Mother's Eyes (Memory of Teresa); The Infinite Desire; Invention of the Monsters; Istanbul; Azzura; Big Sky Azzura; Race with Devil on Turkish Highway; Valentina; The Infinite Desire (63:24)
Al Di Meola, electric and acoustic guitars; Ernie Adams, Peter Erskine, drums; Dino Daniele, vocal; Herbie Hancock, Rachel Z, Mario Parmisano, keyboards; Tom Kennedy, John Patitucci, bass; Gumbi Ortiz, percussion; Steve Vai, guitar.