Flesh on Flesh

Guitarist Al Di Meola returns to the bins after a three-year absence with a jazz project worthy of our undivided attention.

Guitarist Al Di Meola returns to the bins after a three-year absence with a jazz project worthy of our undivided attention. Always a fluid technical player, Di Meola's feel is finally fully in-synch with his fiery fingerwork. The opening track, "Zona Desperata," brings Di Meola's flair for Latin stylings into sharp focus. The original number has a terrific rhythmic push to it, fueled by Gumbo Ortiz's congas. Guest Gonzalo Rubalcaba offers a brief, yet pointed Fender Rhodes keyboard solo as a counterpoint to Di Meola's acoustic and electric solos. The title track offers something more specifically Cuban, featuring Alejandro Santos on flutes in the midst of a pleasantly hectic Di Meola arrangement. He masterminded another equally compelling arrangement on Astor Piazzolla's "Fugata." The ensemble work here is arresting, and Di Meola's guitar solos are wonderfully articulated sorties, rich in note work yet uncluttered.—PVV