Al Di Meola – “Elegant Gypsy”
Jazz fusion in the 70s was rife with guitar talent. John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, and this guy (see glasses, left). Di Meola is a one-man band, and on Elegant Gypsy, he showcases his out-and-out rock-jazz style, never rushed, and chock-a-block with insane Yngwie Malmsteen-speed guitar riffs. This man’s talent makes us sick. So does his shredding (“Race with the Devil on Spanish Highway”) and, you’d’ve never guessed it, acoustic duet with Paco de Lucia on “Lady of Rome, Sister of Brazil.” At this point in his career, Di Meola had come off the breakup of star-studded Return to Forever, and we wanted to make sure you’d never run out of albums by RTF and its members. But seriously, this is a fusion masterpiece, and even if you’ve forsworn fusion in favor of acoustic jazz, this album is worth your time. One of our Jazz Albums You Must Own.