The 60's & 70's in music were a fascinating time in rock music for obvious reasons. One of the by-products then was the elevation of the (lead) guitar player. First popularized by the 60's phrase, "Clapton is God," names like Beck, Page and Hendrix soon became very well known.
In the late 60's something happened; certain jazz musicians were listening and incorporating rock elements and turning out what would be called "jazz fusion," or simply, fusion. Miles was among the first with his Bitches Brew, and the great Tony Williams (and Miles alum) would shortly follow suit with his "Lifetime" band.
Yet another Miles alum,Chick Corea, jumped on the bandwagon. By now (early 70's) fusion was primed and pumped for a "superstar" group, and Chick seized the moment with his band, "Return to Forever." (rtf)
First, what a dumbass Trekkie name. Let's be honest; it's fruity. I remember looking at the album back and if memory serves correctly, it had a quote by L. Ron Hubbard, who was really into "space opera" as scientologists have told me. Yes, Chick had become one...
Second, rtf had a young - I believe he was only 19 - axeman; Al Di Meola. He became fusion's guitar shredman posterboy.
Personally, I never liked his playing or his pretensions; just go down the list of his solo album titles. You think Chick's head is full of "space" grab a fork and get a load of Al's bullshit; "Land of the Midnight Sun," "Soaring Through a Dream," "The Infinite Desire" ... yeah, these folks are serious. Either that or they say, "Get a load of this crap I'm gonna make 50 g's on..."
Once I saw him in a later incarnation with John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia doing their faux flamenco thing, all three seated on stage. Eh, not my cup of tea, but I went to catch up to see what McLaughlin was up to. Anyway, the most hilarious thing was that Al would start his patented shred runs, and at the climax - invariably on a high note - he'd literally lift up out of his seat, as if the run was goosing him up the ass. When I pointed it out to my friends, we'd crack up every time it'd come to Al's turn to solo.
Following is one of the most hilarious vids I've seen in a while. I owe these guys because I was feeling kinda shitty and then found this; These guys literally had me in tears.