384

Arti E Mestieri: First Live in Japan

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Arti E Mestieri: First Live in Japan While the emergence of Punk and New Wave rang the death knell for most progressive rock acts that came to prominence in the 1970s, the ability to create global communities via the internet has led to a surprising resurgence of interest. Italian prog/fusion group Arti E Mestieri garnered considerable acclaim for its first two records—Tilt (Cramps, 1974) and Giro Di Valzer Per Domani (Barclay, 1975)—and then struggled against popular opinion through the 1980s before disbanding in 1988.

Reformed in 1998 with founding drummer Furio Chirico, keyboardist Beppe Crovella and guitarist Gigi Venegoni, this largely instrumental outfit began to record and tour again, releasing four full-length CDs and one EP. Recorded in 2005, First Live in Japan is Arti E Mestieri's first album to receive significant North American distribution, and its energetic delivery of both retrospective and recent material makes it an excellent entry point for newcomers and a boon for existing fans.

The 2005 version of Arti E Mestieri finds Venegoni replaced by Marco Roagna and, for the first time since Giro Di Valzer Per Domani, the group is a septet again with violin and woodwinds. Opening with the entire first side of Tilt, the group's power is immediately evident. "Gravita 9, 81," with Lautaro Acosta's violin and Roagna's overdriven guitar pushing the theme over a frenetic 5/4 rhythm from Chirico and bassist Roberto Cassetta, suggests an intriguing cross-pollination of vintage Mahavishnu Orchestra, contrapuntal Gentle Giant and symphonic King Crimson, with Crovella's mellotron a dominant voice.

But Arti E Mestieri is equally informed by the music of its own culture, with pastoral hints of the Italian countryside and Mediterranean breezes imbuing the music as well. "Kawasaki" features Crovella, who demonstrates a Keith Emerson-like classical pianism but without the navel-gazing self-indulgence. It's that overall lack of bombast, in fact, that makes Arti E Mestieri so appealing. All the texture, stylistic breadth, virtuosity and complexity of progressive rock is there, but equally the group can deliver a simple folk tune like "Glory," one of Iano Nicolo's few vocal tracks.

A suite of six tunes from Giro Di Valzer Per Domani ranges from the lilting waltz of "Valzer Per Domani" to the raucous "Mirafiori," featuring frenzied solos from Roagna and Acosta. While all the players are notable, Chirico and Crovella stand out. Chirico's a vibrant powerhouse who nevertheless knows when to pull back, while Crovella is a master of texture, melody and invention throughout.

Despite revisiting old material, what makes First Live in Japan so strong is that the music doesn't feel retro at all. The more complex, idiosyncratic and episodic "2000" may signal where the group is heading, but the suites from its first two classic albums sound no less contemporary. Some bands reform to cash in on a revival of interest, but the vibrant Arti E Mestieri is clearly back to do more than merely regurgitate past successes.

Track Listing: Tilt Suite: Gravita 9, 81; Strips; Corrosione; Positivo/Negativo; In Cammino. Giro Di Valzer Per Domani Suite: Valzer Per Domani; Mirafiori; Nov Luna Prima; Mescal/Mescalero; Nove Lune Dopo; Aria Pesante; Dimensione Terra. Kawasaki; Glory; Marilyn; Arcenciel; Alba Mediterranea; 2000.

Personnel: Beppe Crovella: Hammond organ, piano, mellotron, Moog synthesizer; Furio Chirico: drums, percussion; Marco Roagna: electric and acoustic guitar; Iano Nicolo: vocals; Roberto Cassetta: bass, vocals; Lautaro Acosta: violin; Alfredo Ponissi: soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute and clarinet.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Moonjune Records | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Free for One" CD/LP/Track Review Free for One
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Sir Nebula" CD/LP/Track Review Sir Nebula
by Doug Collette
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Six Easy Pieces" CD/LP/Track Review Six Easy Pieces
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "A Room of One's Own" CD/LP/Track Review A Room of One's Own
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "3's a Crowd" CD/LP/Track Review 3's a Crowd
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 21, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!