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Al Di Meola - Splendido Hotel CD (album) cover

SPLENDIDO HOTEL

Al Di Meola

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.95 | 80 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars After three very good albums, Al Di Meola seems to have run out of steam for this fourth effort. It is not too surprising that Di Meola ran low on musical ideas since his previous albums were packed full of them. But he could at least have showed enough good judgement not to release a double album at this point in his career. Yet that is exactly what he did (the awful Works Vol. 1 by ELP is a good reference point for worst possible timing to make a double album). In his defence this is rather short for a double album. However, Di Meola did show some good judgement in changing his style a bit after three quite similar albums. It probably would have been impossible to top Casino and Elegant Gypsy with another album in a similar vein. Splendido Hotel is different in many ways. The music here is smoother and slicker than on the three earlier albums, the tempo is generally much slower and there is not much left of the sheer intensity and urgency of Casino. There are occasional outbursts of his typical energy, but overall Di Meola takes a much more laid back stance for this album. Splendido Hotel is definitely less progressive and elaborated than his earlier albums. The third track is really something that might be played on repeat in the lobby of a holiday hotel. Banal is the word.

Acoustic instruments are very prominent on much of this album and not only acoustic guitar but also acoustic bass, percussion and piano. There are even strings on some songs. The electronic keyboards generally take a backseat if they are present at all. Much of the music is of a slightly relaxing nature. Even the up tempo numbers has a somewhat relaxing feel. Especially compared to things like Egyptian Danza or Race With Devil On Spanish Highway. Alien Chase On Arabian Desert and Dinner Music For The Gods are clearly modelled on such older tracks. But they are less intense and less memorable, as are the compositions on Splendido Hotel generally.

I Can Tell stands out from the crowd by being the only vocal number on the album. It is a very slick Pop tune with both male and female vocals. Is it Al himself doing the male vocals? The eleven minute Isfahan contains a boy's choir, an abundance of strings, some grand piano and acoustic guitar. The tempo is very slow and the mood is mellow. While quite symphonic there is no question of this being remotely close to Symphonic Prog. Despite being both eclectic and sometimes symphonic, there is very little Prog on Splendido Hotel.

We should admire Di Meola for branching out and trying out new things, but overall this album is not very successful. It is a sprawling collection of more or less average compositions, recommended only to fans and collectors.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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