SPINETTA JADE — Alma de Diamante (review)

SPINETTA JADE — Alma de Diamante album cover Album · 1980 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
-It's really unfortunate and sad that Spinetta has just recently passed away, at age 62. He was truly one of Argentina's most beloved and greatest artist, having a career that goes from the late 60s to modern times, passing through various genres and succeeding in them, always covered with the man's fantastic poetic lyrics and gorgeous voice. I grew listening to a pair of his records, being my dad a fan and later my elder brother, and although I was turned-off at first, due to his expressive vocals, I later became a fan as well. I've listened to a good bulk of his discography, and he has simply filled me with total pleasure and emotion. The following review is one I wrote a while ago, but would like to post it here in the Jazz Archives to catch some notice of this brilliant man. Rest in Peace "Flaco".-

After the disbandment of Invisible, lead singer and songwriter L.A. Spinetta's most-prog oriented band, he released a solo album in 1978 entitled A 18' Del Sol (At 18 minutes from the sun), one of his most acclaimed solo efforts evoking the future jazz fusion spirit of his later 80s band, Spinetta Jade.

In 1980 the debut of Spinetta's jazziest group was finally released, called Alma de Diamante ("Diamond's Soul"), and damn, what a debut! Of course, it's not a real debut in the sense that it is the first time they compose and play in studio, Spinettta & Co. were already professionals by that time, so expect a very polished debut without the usual flaws of typical debuts.

First, let's state what type of fusion this band delivered. It's a smooth and very melodic fusion, with floating and chilling keyboards, an entertaining and diverse (but not technical-kind) rhythm section, some good emotional soloing from the guitar and synths (not dated!), and, finally, soulful vocals and poetic lyrics that is the band's most unique feature. Comparisons? Well, it reminds me a bit of Holdsworth's 80s solo stuff, the melody department specifically. But no, it's not really a clone or a derivative fusion band.

But what's so good of this fusion? Ah, the whole mixture of the previously stated elements. The instrumentals, 'Amenaber' and 'Digital Ayatollah', show the band in real fusion grounds, but maintaining Spinetta's melodic and cheerful spirit. The rest of the compositions have the lovely vocals of Luis Alberto, but they're not simple tunes though, still a lot going on from the band, powerful melodies, excellent solos, great instrumental parts, all in all making very pleasant and entertaining melodic fusion.

In last place, I'll say why this is in my opinion the band's greatest album. Mainly because this is purely consistent in great material and there's simply no filler or unmemorable parts. But mind you, the remaining three albums of the band are all quite different and worth of listening (with the exception of the last album), Los Niños Que Escriben En El Cielo "plays" a lot with varied time signatures and Bajo Belgrano is a very uplifting record with greater pop sensibilities that don't harm.

5 stars: masterpiece of Spinetta Jade and of Argentinian music. Unique album in this country that I highly recommend if you want to hear what Argentina can offer musically alongside stuff by Invisible and Seru Giran. If you're a fan of the lighter, more melodic fusion, this is a must, however if you are more into the avant-side of fusion like the Mwandishi albums by Hancock and the like, well this album might not be such a necessary record for you to get.
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