Al Di Meola – The Infinite Desire (1998)

FrontCover1The Infinite Desire is an album by jazz guitarist Al Di Meola that was released in 1998.

With the help of new generations of guitar synthesizers and samplers, The Infinite Desire finds a mature, lyrical, more expressive Al di Meola casting his lot with Telarc, which until the late ’90s had concentrated its attentions upon aging acoustic jazzers. Indeed, he makes marvelously musical use of the new devices, creating sensuous, exotic layers of sound that lie easily upon the ear, without much of the usual harshness of digital instruments generated by those who haven’t bothered to master them. “Shaking the Spirits” in particular is a fascinating piece, loaded with dazzling Middle Eastern and African colorations, and the sampled trumpet sound he gets on “Valentina” is astoundingly lifelike. Also, di Meola’s playing became more unabashedly fluid in the ’90s; on the closest thing to a straight-ahead track, “Invention of the Monsters,” di Meola’s electric guitar curls intricately and swingingly around the bass of Tom Kennedy, Ernie Adams’ drums, and some synthesized brass. Di Meola’s co-conspirators change from track to track, although two who figure a lot in the sound and package are keyboardist Rachel Z (a former di Meola sidewoman) and bassist John Patitucci. Also check out Herbie Hancock on acoustic grand and Peter Erskine’s drums on “Istanbul,” and di Meola’s fairly good-natured duel with rock guitarist Steve Vai on “Race with Devil on Turkish Highway.” (by Richard S. Ginell)


Guitar god Al Di Meola’s Telarc debut,The Infinite Desire, may well be the crowning achievement of his career to date. Di Meola has covered a lot of musical ground throught his career, including the fusion of Return To Forever and his first several albums, his acoustic projects, his interpretation of flamenco and Argentinian tango, and his love of the music of Italy and surrounding Mediterranean lands. All of these influences can be found at various points throughout the disc. The styles may shift, but all of the skillful compositions are saturated with passionate, melodic lyricism for a truly moving listening experience. Prime examples include “Vizzini” (an Italian painter whose works inspired many of these compositions), “In My Mother’s Eyes,” and the title cut.


The simple beauty of Di Meola’s acoustic guitar is counterbalanced with lot of guitar technology. Di Meola employs a wide array of sampled sounds (tamboora, fretless bass, trumpet, accordian, organ, vocals, percussion, cymbals) to create interesting background textures throughout the program. On the title track, a looped sample of splashing water forms part of the rhythmic backdrop. Of course, there’s chops galore, too, on tunes such as “Invention of the Monsters” and “Race with Devil on Turkish Highway” – a duo with fellow technical wiz Steve Vai. But the chops displays and electronics truly serve the music, not vice versa. The only mis-step, in my opinion, is the disc’s opener, “Beyond the Mirage,” which employs mechanical, clunky drum loops (drum loops? from Al Di Meola?!?!?). Nevertheless, this is an excellent disc compositionally, technically, and emotionally. It’s one of those CDs that reveals more and more with each subsequent hearing.(by Dave Hughes)

Oh ! Such a superb album !


Ernie Adams (drums)
Pino Daniele (vocals)
Peter Erskine (drums)
Layla Francesca (vocals)
Herbie Hancock (piano)
Tom Kennedy (bass)
Al Di Meola (guitar, guitar synthesizer, cymbals, marimba, harp, percussion)
Oriana Di Meola (vocals)
Kabuli Nitasa (violin, vocals)
Gumbi Ortiz (percussion)
Mario Parmisano (keyboards)
John Patitucci (bass)
Steve Vai (guitar)
Rachel Z (keyboards)


01. Beyond The Mirage (Meola) 7.20
02. Shaking The Spirits (Meola) 6.31
03. Vizzini (Meola) – 4:54
04. In My Mother’s Eyes (Memory of Theresa) (Meola) 4.42
05. The Infinite Desire (Meola/Daniele) 5.29
06. Invention Of The Monsters (Meola) 3.06
07. Istanbul (Meola) 8.01
08. Azzura (Meola) 2.55
09. Big Sky Azzura (Meola) 6.07
10. Race With Devil On Turkish Highway (Meola) 4.05
11. Valentina (Meola) 4.47
12. The Infinite Desire (Vocal) (Meola/Daniele) 5.27



Al Di Meola

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.