Al Dimeola is not a god, but pretty damn close. If you don’t agree with this statement you either should stop reading this review, or perhaps have never heard of him, or you simply do not appreciate the talents that he possesses. If you were ask any true guitar aficianado about who they consider the greatest contemporary jazz guitar player ever, they normally will say Al DiMeola. Although you might get a few George Benson or Wes Montgomery lovers out there, but primarily Al D will be the top choice for most. In 2000 Al DiMeola released Anthology: (1975-1982). I’m curious why an album released in 2000 only covers up to 1982 since he has released several albums afterwards of equal stature, and continues to deliver incredible albums to this day. His touring schedule is legendary and his performances (from what I have heard) unforgettable. Regardless, this collection choice songs from his catalog is smartly selected and well rounded.
Anthology offers us a variety of songs (22 songs in all) that truly define Al DiMeola as a master of his craft. With each year that this collection covers you hear his playing style develop more and more; often the listener will be stuck wondering how he came up new (and incredible) riffs for each new song.
Prior to listening to this album I knew very little about Al DiMeola yet always knew he was a very well respected jazz guitar player, now I’m a certified deciple of his work. As you may well know most “best of” albums or anthologies offer a few good songs and then just a bunch of b-side bombs; not this album. Every song is honestly good stuff and getting addicted to wanting more that the 22 songs in inevitable. I took the leap of faith and purchased another of his albums entitled Casino (1978), even though there are few songs on that album found on Anthology, the remainder of the album is great. That’s a cool thing with Al DiMeola albums, there never seems to be a dead spot in the track selection with any of his releases.
Another great album is Friday Night in San Francisco (1980) which is a live album of acoustic mastery with Al DiMeola, Paco DeLucia, and John McLauglin. This album really shows how good Al DiMeola is in a live setting without the aid of studio magic. This album is just a testament of how much a talent he actually was in music then and today.
Even if you are not a fusion or contemporary jazz fan you should give Al DiMeola a listen, I think you will discover an artist who rises above all others. This is a great album as an introduction or experienced Al D fan.
Al DiMeola’s Anthology (1975-1982) gets a 5 out of 5.
To see more of the DiMeola catalog click below: