I would have to say that this is the ultimate guitar fusion track of the 1970’s. It is off of Al Di Meola’s second solo album Elegant Gypsy released on CBS records in 1977. The album features a who’s who of jazz fusion players from the era, Paco de Lucía on acoustic guitar, Jan Hammer on keyboards, Barry Miles on keyboards, Anthony Jackson on bass guitar, Steve Gadd on drums, Lenny White on drums and Mingo Lewis on congas, synthesizers, organ, percussion. I’ve always loved Al’s lightning-fast riffs on the guitar and his fusing of jazz meets Latin percussion grooves. Like millions of other guitarists at the time, I was first turned on to Di Meola’s playing with Return to Forever, but always wished there was more of Al’s playing in the songs. Well, we got it with his solo records, especially with this instant classic track Race with Devil on Spanish Highway. The main intro riff can easily be a heavy metal song itself, in fact 13 years later the band Riot remade this song on their album The Privilege of Power and does a great job!
With his pinpoint accurate legato solos, Di Meola inspired an entire generation of rockers to shred ‘til their dead in the 80’s & 90’s! But at the same time, he is very melodic and dynamic in his compositions and melodies. I remember hearing one of his instructing acetate records that came in the Guitar Player magazine in the 80’s and it was incredible how fast and clean he played solos. He would play a riff slow, then at medium speed, fast then warp speed! If you only had to listen to one Di Meola song ever, this would be the one. It falls in the Top 10 of best fusion guitar songs of all time and should be in any guitarists collection who worth’s their salt!