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Arti E Mestieri - Live 1974/2000  CD (album) cover

LIVE 1974/2000

Arti E Mestieri


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.94 | 8 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars `Live 1974/Live 2000' is an amazing two CD set capturing Italian jazz/fusion legends Arti e Mestieri at two very different points in their career, over 25 years separating the two discs on offer here. It's best to treat this as two albums for the price of one, each offering something different to stand apart from each-other. Likely it's the vintage recording that will be of most interest to Italian prog and fusion fans, but the `Live 2000' disc is a real gem too, with superior sound and infectious performances. `Live 1974' makes for a fascinating time-capsule to give you in idea of what the band sounded like live back then, but `Live 2000' is not as rough around the edges and easier to listen to. With both discs performed by mostly the same line-ups, you get two winning discs overloaded with incredible musicality.

In some sections `Live 1974' sounds almost like an `official bootleg'. Not a lot of depth to the recording, the odd crackle or distortion once in a while, so just be aware before considering a purchase. Diehard fans will want to persevere and will be rewarded with a thrilling glimpse at a band in their infancy, performing most of the tracks from their debut album `Tilt' with a dirtier, more frantic urgency than the studio versions. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that once you've heard these performances several times, it's quite difficult to go back to the original studio recording, as it sounds so reserved and mannered by comparison! This disc occasionally features violin player Giovanni Vigliar's vocals, not quite as pleasing as on the classic studio debut, really serviceable at best here, but no better than they need to be, as the emphasis is, of course, on the blistering instrumentation.

There's not a bad track on offer, but let's look at a high standout moments. Drummer Furio Chirico truly dominates opener `Articolazioni', his playing a tornado of percussive energy, always front and center. The piece takes on moments of racing tension and breathless aggression as the band whip up a fury, the murky saxophone and searing violin adding a melancholic seriousness. A rougher reading of `Young Man's Tale' takes on even more King Crimson-like qualities with its weeping violin, and `Comin' Here To Get You' is given a dirtier blusier electric guitar approach over blaring Soft Machine-esque clarinet, which also gives the opening of `In Cammino' a somber restraint.

Special attention must go to the two different interpretations of classic `Gravita' 9:81', one of the signature pieces from the band. They are barely contained jazz explosions, full of glistening electric piano runs, maniacal drumming and senses-warping scratching violin, but they also find time for some hazy and hypnotic ambience to allow the listener to catch their breath. They are also an absolute showcase of masterfully executed drama by clarinet player Arturo Vitale, especially the later version.

Moving onto the later disc, `Live 2000' is taken from different sources between 1999 and 2000, but luckily doesn't have a disjointed feel, perfectly playing like a continuous concert. Entirely instrumental for this performance (just the way I prefer the band, to be honest), the band bristles with confidence, a real lively snap and energy to their playing. Due to the absence of saxophone, the violin player here, Corrado Trabuio, takes a lot more solos and adds new sounds to some of the same pieces on the first disc.

I'll draw attention to a few of my favourite numbers on this disc. `Nove Lune Prima' is a stirring violin piece, full of the expected Italian sophistication and classical style. `2000' is all humming Hammond and spacey swirling synth effects plied over murmuring bass that slinks around the background. The purposeful drums and sweeping violin bring a tense near-cinematic sound with an exciting build towards the finale. `Valzer per Domani' is my absolute favourite track, a sprightly and sweeping romantic violin-driven performance that makes me smile every time, plus it's also foot-tappingly catchy! This recording truly belongs on every compilation of chill-out instrumental music.

Thoughtful piano solo `Nuova Dimensione' changes the atmosphere for a cooler night-time sound, `Gerico' and `Ali' are brief drum/bass duels that show off the cleverness and jamming skills of the two musicians, and `Terra Incognita' is an addictive upbeat groover that darts through a range of quick-change tempos and allows all the players a chance in the spotlight. `In Cammino' takes on a near psychedelic ambience in the intro, still reminding me instantly like it always does no matter whan version of Perigeo's fuzzy `Abbiamo Tutti un Blues da Piangere', before positive breezy vibes take over with some rapid-fire wailing electric guitar soloing throughout.

`Live 1974/Live 2000' is a fascinating historical document of a defining jazz/fusion band that offers ample brilliance of their early years, and a sublime and classy instrumental performance showcasing two decades of honing and perfecting their craft. Fans of the band could not ask for a more exciting and worthy collection to treasure.

Four stars.

Oh, and whoever voted this disc a 1 star...well, what can I say? I guess they have a problem with superb musicians playing amazing music...

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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