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Zaal - La Lama Sottile CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.74 | 24 ratings

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5 stars Zaal is an extraordinary recording from talented composer Agostino Macor, the brilliant keyboardist of Finisterre, Hostsonaten and La Maschera di Cera renown. Surrounded by some of his usual colleagues as well as a few new guys, the crafty composer suggests a jazzier side to his usual heavy symphonic gig with weighty use of the grand piano. When a progressive disc starts off with a 51 second intro with some superlative ivory work, you know this is going to be joyride. The 8 minute plus "Zelig" is a stunning work with intense cello and supple violin fillets on a bed of lush mellotron and sweet synthesizer, another dash of tangy piano, the prolific Fabio Zuffanti on bass and some wonderfully ornate drum work from Federico Foglia as sides. On the masterful epic "Il Destino di Haghia Sofia", Macor shoves this straight into pure jazz confines with liberal use of Fender Rhodes , tagging along with some highly Pontyesque violin forays from Sergio Caputo, some exemplary furrowing bass by Maurizio Bavastro as well as Foglia 's relentless work. "La Lama" is a minute long reflective piano etude that breathes and pants, a stellar example of passionate restraint. The next track is called "Progress", pfff what a title! The mood goes head first into some seriously experimental symphonic Prog with strings ablaze, a hint of harpsichord, ornately buzzing synths as well as Finisterre's soaring Stefano Marelli on lead guitar (is he good or what?) all tossed into the melee, a musical antipasto adding bursts of saxophone to provide some "piccante". This final supreme instrument is the showcase on "Naan", a vibrant follow-up to the previous madness, a meanderingly sexy solo courtesy of Paolo Pezzi that has a cool, relaxed authority about it that just exudes class. Aaah! What, I dialed a wrong number? Well, this is a recording after all and "Il Cannocchiale" is a Macor Fender Rhodes and a Marelli e-bow guitar theatrical duet with French and then German spoken word samples. Hey, Robert, Stefano can "tronic" too! Simply brilliant stuff, constantly in search of the edge. "Cinquequarti" smartly revisits the jazz quartet pattern with Bavastro's bopping bass foraging assuredly, Caputo's catskin caressing the violin strings with sheer impunity and Macor weaving some additional piano magic. Blending briefly into the mellotron infested "Limbo". The final piece is "Sul Mutamento", a classy 7.23 minute epic that showcases all the combined talent amassed by Macor and his "amici", a keyboard fest with piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Mellotron and synthesizer all taking a bow in the spotlight. Caputo takes a little violent ride with later Marelli going for a mellow exit. Though most probably a one-shot "solo" album that is miles away from his normal style, Agostino Macor certainly has a side project that is most worthy of pursuing. Certainly hard to resist for fans of ISP and for those discerning proggers who like a little class with their music. Beautiful gray/blue slate modern graphics add to the pleasure. 5 Rhodes.
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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