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Maxophone - Maxophone CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.25 | 411 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars They came, they played, they conquered, and then they scarpered.

Maxophone released one album that is a triumph of prog with some of the greatest musical virtuoso skill one is likely to hear. With such a great album you might have expected Maxophone to at least release something else or get back to recording years later in a reunion, I mean it worked for Anglagard and Comus. So this enigmatic stands like a lone beacon showing the rest of the try hards how it is done. The innovation and creativity throughout is astonishing. Opening with grand jazz explosions and a flurry of guitar prowess over layers of keyboards on 'C' Un Paese Al Mondo' (There's a country in the world), the band stamp their authority as masters of their craft. The vocals of Alberto Ravasini are easy on the ears, and he is joined by swooping Clarinet and keyboards. The music goes beyond the norm as it is so intricately woven in the tapestry of very complex musical phrases and melodies.

The band are an incredible unit with some stunning musicians, consisting of Maurizio Bianchini on horn, trumpet, percussion, vibraphone, Roberto Giuliani on electric guitars, piano, Sergio Lattuada on keyboards, Sandro Lorenzetti on drums, Alberto Ravasini on lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, Leonardo Schiavone on clarinet, flute, alto & tenor saxophone, Tiziana Botticini on harp, Giovanna Correnti on cello, Paulo Rizzi on contrabass, Eleonora De Rossi on violin and Susanna Pedrazzini on violin. This album is their sole masterpiece but certainly proves that sometimes quality over quantity is the best thing. To follow up on an album like this would have been almost an impossible task, but we will never know as the band have long gone.

The Italian vocals are not a deterrent and of course there's an English version that does not detract from the brilliant musicianship which is the real drawcard. Listening to both versions of "Maxophone" is a must. The album boasts some of the best sax playing on such tracks as 'Fase', with powerful jazz embellishments. The vibraphone solo is wonderful, and the muscular guitar riff works along the spacey effects and layers of horns.

'Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla' (I Heard a Butterfly) has lovely Italian acoustic guitar vibrations, interwoven with beautiful flute augmented by gorgeous vocal harmonies. I love the heavy organ attack, some of the boldest playing on the album followed by descending melodies. There is an exquisite reverb guitar to end it.

'Elzeviro' (Six Against One on the English version) is one of the best tracks, very jazzy with nice vocals, and merging with symphonic textures; a real work of beauty. The electric guitar splashes out with some soaring arpeggios and string bends.

'Mercanti Di Pazzie' (Merchants of Madness) has beautiful vibrations of harp and flute that creates a soundscape of tranquillity. The synthesizer chimes in and the scape becomes ambient and dreamy. This is another complex arrangement with some more wonderful vocals to augment the atmosphere.

'Live Together or Die' opens with odd time sigs and some excellent brass and emotive horns. Piano keeps a melody as a harmony of voices comes in with a lovely timbre. A glorious sax solo keeps things interesting along a swinging groove. It ends with a dirge of Italian choruses singing to a church organ.

The Italian version closes with 'Antiche Conclusioni Negre' (Ancient Negroe's Conclusions) that features some very interesting vocals and intricate musical arrangements. The bonus tracks to follow are 1977 singles, 'Il Fischio del Vapore' (Boat's Whistle) and 'Cono di Gelato' (Ice Cream Cone), that are not featured on the English version unfortunately as these would be great to hear with translated lyrics.

This album can be recommended to those who like their prog served up with complex musical arrangements and sprinkled over with those sweet Italian flavours. Maxophone will go down in history as being yet another RPI band that dished up one meal and then left the insatiable appetite of the prog world starving for more.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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