AL DI MEOLA — Scenario (review)

AL DI MEOLA — Scenario album cover Album · 1983 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Atavachron
This was an interesting phase for Mr. Di Meola. It was the 1980s after all, not an easy time for any musician who'd been around as long as he, and he found himself adapting to that brave new musical world the best way he could. The result was 'Scenario', and it turned out to be quite a tasty little album. The line up for the session was also an asset; Jan Hammer on keys, Fairlight CMI, piano, Linn and Roland drums, and Moog bass. As well, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin guest on a track, and Phil Collins appears. This didn't produce a prog supergroup for the 80s but it did make for one of the better synthetic projects of that often garish period.

The winds of the East and an Indian Bansuri, all electronic, open the desert pictures of 'Mata Hari', a track that showcases fluid rhythms from Hammer's Linn drums and Fairlight with Di Meola's cool plucking on top. The obligatory Adult Contemporary pap follows with 'African Night' and the record is further diminished by the dreadful 'Island Dreamer'. Luckily, these two maestros snap out of it and give us the superb title cut, a lovely and passioned duet of Al's Flamenco strings with Hammer's alternating piano and synth. A diamond in the rough and one of the things worth admission. 'Sequencer', in many ways the flagship of this project, is a bright electro-rocker where the blend of high-tech with hard rock is best illuminated and features one of this guitarist's best, most elegantly fierce staccato performances. 'Cachaca' slows the pace a bit but the guitar still cuts like a knife as it does in 'Hypnotic Conviction'. The eerie 'Calliope' develops into an odd-metered romp with melodic solos and the album finishes with the racing and clipping 'Scoundrel', an exercise in instrumental prowess. And please note the hats-off to Jeff Beck's 'Blue Wind' at the end, a well-deserved homage to that rock fusion giant.
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