JC 35277 Casino
Produced by Al Di Meola
Released on April 1978
US CHART POSITION #52 . . . US JAZZ CHART POSITION #5
Find it at GEMM
JC 35277 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

W ith works like this, Al Di Meola is fast becoming my favorite fusion guitarist. The opening “Egyptian Danza,” perhaps the most stunning track from his catalog, can hold its own with anything from Steve Hackett; high praise from an acolyte of Genesis. There were moments in Hackett’s catalog when he seemed to reach the peak of perfection, only to turn it up a notch, and the same thing happens here. Though the opener is the album’s breathless champion, there’s more magic in store on the acoustic guitar showcase “Fantasia Suite For Two Guitars” and the slow, sexy “Dark Eye Tango.” Few guitarists are able to visualize and execute their music the way Di Meola does. Though the Latin overtones invite comparison to the music of Santana, the solo albums of Carlos Santana were never comfortable in their own skin. Even John McLaughlin was too restless a genius to produce a solo album that made a compelling case for him as a great songwriter. Hackett and Di Meola had distinctive styles and techniques, an internal eye for music that matched the distinctive “voice” they had developed. On Casino, Di Meola also benefits from a steady backing band: Steve Gadd, Barry Miles, Anthony Jackson, Mingo Lewis. They’ve been on board from the beginning and provide a rich tapestry of sound behind the guitarist. If I had to pick a favorite Al Di Meola record (and I don’t, I don’t), I’d probably put my money on Casino. It might even defeat Romantic Warrior in head-to-head combat, and there isn’t a Ponty album I’ve heard that could unseat it. If fusion and fiery fretwork get your juices flowing, Casino is a sure bet to please.

JC 35277 back cover JC 35277 picture sleeve
JC 35277 back cover JC 35277 picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. EGYPTIAN DANZA    5:58
  2. CHASIN' THE VOODOO    (Mingo Lewis)    5:02
  3. DARK EYE TANGO    5:25
  4. SEÑOR MOUSE    (Chick Corea)    7:19
  5. FANTASIA SUITE FOR TWO GUITARS    5:13
      A. Viva La Danzarina
      B. Guitars of the Exotic Isle
      C. Rhapsody Italia
      D. Bravoto Fantasia
  6. CASINO    9:33

    All songs written and arranged by Al Di Meola unless noted

CREDITS

AL DI MEOLA -- electric guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, castanets, hand claps, foot stomps, muted congas and bongos, percussion, album cover concept
STEVE GADD -- drums
ANTHONY JACKSON -- bass guitar
MINGO LEWIS -- congas, bongos, percussion
BARRY MILES -- electric piano, mini moog, Yamaha organ, acoustic piano, organ, marimba
Eddie Colon -- timables and roto toms (6)
Dave Palmer -- engineer
Bill King -- photo credit
DeNoyer -- fashion

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US April 1978 Columbia LP JC 35277 picture sleeve
UK 1978 CBS LP 82645 picture sleeve
US   Columbia CD 47482  

 

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