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December 1998

Al Di Meola
The Infinite Desire
Telarc

A marriage of jazz, world music, and high technology, this ambitious label debut freely draws upon Di Meola's vast reservoir of interests, talents, and experiences. While his core group includes drummer Ernie Adams, bassist Tom Kennedy, keyboardist Mario Parmisano, and percussionist Gumbi Ortiz, he also calls upon the services of luminaries such as Steve Vai, John Patitucci, and Rachael Z.

The sophisticated writing and use of technology occasionally recall 1985's lush Soaring Through a Dream. But while that project was dominated by those elements, here Di Meola uses them to complement his dynamic acoustic and electric instrumental work on compositions such as "Shaking the Spirits" and the title track. The most guitar intensive numbers include "The Invention of the Monsters," a quirky, virtuosic, jazz-influenced workout on electric guitar, and "Race With Devil on Turkish Highway" (a twist on "Race With Devil on Spanish Highway," his '70s signature piece), which provides a vehicle for incendiary exchanges between Di Meola and Steve Vai, whose respective approaches mesh surprisingly well. The closer reprises the title track; however, this time it is augmented by the expressive voice of Italian pop star Pino Daniele.

All in all, The Infinite Desire is the latest in a series of mature post-fusion projects by one of the guitar's most masterful talents.

Originally published in December 1998
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