Over Al Di Meola
Boosting metronome sales everywhere, DiMeola sent thousands of guitarists to the woodshed in the '70s to practice their muted speed picking and otherwise hone their chops. Though his early success was largely due to his faster than light plectrum skills, DiMeola has proven over the years to be quite an improviser in many genres. In Chick Corea's Return to Forever he lit up the Fusion world, racing through changes with a rock star's ego and distortion alongside a jazz musician's technique and improvisational skills. Picking up the acoustic guitar more often proved to be artistically beneficial, especially in his blazing neo-Flamenco trio with John McLaughlin and Paco De Lucia. The past decade or so has found DiMeola de-emphasizing his string-slinging for a more compositional approach, drawing on South American, Middle Eastern, and Spanish flavors.