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This is the third release by DFA, one of Italy’s premier fusion outfits, and it provides perhaps the clearest insight yet into what makes them so special to the genre. Recorded at the NEARFest 2000 in Pennsylvania, their first live show in the U.S., Work In Progress Live captures a good deal of the coalescing energy and intuition that the studio discs Lavori in Corso and Duty Free Area couldn’t quite document. This is a band that puts as much effort as possible into advancing the state of instrumental music, and they were in fine form on this day.
Guitarist Silvio Minella possesses a shredder’s heart and a jazzman’s discernment, a precious combination. Likewise, Luca Baldassari’s bass lines are solid, complex yet unobtrusive. While the keyboards have often been relegated to a textural position in fusion over the last decade, Alberto Bonomi isn’t afraid to let his smooth washes and jagged lines step right out and sing. He has the good sense to choose appropriate tones and techniques that don’t date the music before the band can even get going. He and drummer Alberto De Grandis, a fine master of surging, crashing rhythmic power, composed all of the selections here. They also perform the vocals on the lovely, crystalline “Caleidoscopio”. Bonomi’s organ is majestic on “Ragno”, complementing the dotty fabrications of the other performers. Kudos to Moonjune Records for releasing this magnificent show; may we continue to hear more great things from both the label and DFA.
Track Listing: Escher; Caleidoscopio; Trip On Metro; La Via; Pantera; Ragno.
Personnel: Silvio Minella, guitars; Luca Baldassari, electric bass; Alberto Bonomi, keyboards, vocals; Alberto De Grandis, drums, vocals.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.