Al Di Meola was about 12 years old when he joined Return To Forever in 1973 for the classic rock fusion lineup of Chick Corea, Lenny White, Stanley Clarke and himself.
I became aware of this band following Al Di Meola's 1976 record "Land Of The Midnight Sun" and through retrospective discovery of "Romantic Warrior", RTR's fantastic 1975 record.
I often wonder how I was turned onto this stuff as a bare-arsed 16 or 17 year old? In hindsight, I somehow think the weekly music papers "NME", "Melody Maker" and "Sounds" had a lot to do with it. I religiously picked up these papers every week without fail. The scope of interesting, non-mainstream music was immense. Actually finding the records they were referring to was an obsessive but often fruitless task. No digital media or Internet back then my friends.
This was about a close to jazz as I wanted to venture however. Mr Di Meola's lightning runs and riff-age, as well as Stanley Clarke's liquid bass lines , were the main attraction. Hey Chick and Lenny weren't half bad as well.