Picks and Pans Review: Tirami Su

updated 03/14/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/14/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Al DiMeola Project

Guitarist DiMeola and his record company were slow to turn out his 10th solo LP—named after the Italian dessert that includes mascarpone and ladyfingers dipped in rum. It comes too close to Pat Metheny's mid-1987 album Still Life (talking), which also features breezy Brazilian melodies and vocalists who lend a rich bossa nova feel. In DiMeola's case, he seems to be trying to change his image as a specialist in lightning-fast solos by experimenting with some more subtle approaches. Perhaps inspired by performing with local musicians while on a solo tour of Brazil in 1986, DiMeola creates some effective moments. Jose Renato adds vocal force to Arabella, giving the song enough power to float the airy melodies from here to the Amazon. DiMeola ignites Rhapsody of Fire With flamenco fills (DiMeola teamed with flamenco master Paco DeLucia on a 1977 release, Elegant Gypsy, and has never, fortunately, gotten the music out of his system). There is a tip of the hat too, to his former Return to Forever companion Chick Corea on Corea's Song to the Pharoah Kings. DiMeola is renowned for his technical expertise, often at the expense of melodic concerns. He still leans too heavily on his guitar, and not enough on his emotions, for inspiration. Some of his ideas seem incomplete. But he appears to be moving in an intriguing direction. (Manhattan)

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