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L' Estate di San Martino - ESM#40 CD (album) cover

ESM#40

L' Estate di San Martino

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.84 | 15 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars With the exception of a stray promo single released three years after the band formed in 1975, Italian band L'Estate di San Martino share a similar history to groups from that country such as Il Cerchio d'Oro - vintage Italian acts who never released a studio album in the period of their initial activity. A belated release of a 1983-recorded live album came in 2006, with a proper studio debut a year later, but the band gained better notice with their last album, 2012's warmly received `Talsete di Marsantino', a rather special pastoral gem with worldly flavours that is fondly remembered. So fondly, in fact, and especially by the band themselves, because they've decided to completely remake the album all over again!

`E.S.M # 40' doubles as a celebration of the fortieth anniversary of L'Estate di San Martino, but while they again present the above-mentioned previous album in the same running order, the highly skilled musicians have completely reinterpreted the material here with great taste and sophistication. It has breathed new life into the work and given it a gentler acoustic personality full of jazzier laid-back passages with controlled improvised jamming bursts, and it even has a fleeting guest vocal spot from the late great Francesco Di Giacomo of legendary RPI group Banco del Mutuo Soccorso on the final track.

Looking at some of the highlights, the brief introduction opener `Silbo' and `Il Cielo per San Lorenzo' float with early Deuter- like meditative flute, and `Archivista' sets a style that maintains throughout much of the disc, with Stefano Tofi's ravishing piano runs, Riccardo Regni's fancy acoustic guitar flair, Marco Pentiricci's purring saxophone, Massimo Baracchi's bass sweetly murmuring in the background and Sergio Servadio's drumming moving between subdued and lively little bursts. `Fretta' is dreamy and wistful with the lightest of introspective moments, and `Ely' is a lonely saxophone rumination that could have easily come from the `Fifth'-era of the Soft Machine.

The inviting piano of `Long Now Clock' has a`brand new day' warmth that reminds of the Seventies albums of American jazz- fusion instrumentalists Oregon, and the group even manages to utilise bagpipes throughout `Hallucigenia' and somehow give them a very exotic flavour! There's plenty of late-night improvisation-heavy sax and piano noodling on `Monolake', the chiming acoustic guitar of `Otto' reminds of those fancy old Genesis interludes, and the album closer is lightly psychedelic with flute drifting in and out of alluring acoustic guitars with breezy warm-weather vibes all around, a sole uplifting vocal from Banco's Francesco wrapping the disc with refinement.

If you're a fan of the first version, please don't instantly dismiss this impossibly pretty re-interpretation as nothing but a mere `remake'. L'estate di San Martino have taken what was already a wondrous work and made it lovelier than ever, and listening in early A.M hours or on an unhurried summer day will reveal an exceptionally beautiful album full of delicate magic and embracing intimacy.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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