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Free Wave System - Nonostante Tutto CD (album) cover

NONOSTANTE TUTTO

Free Wave System

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.87 | 8 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Rare Italian jazz gem

Free Wave System is a jazz/fusion quartet from Turin, Italy. While there is not a lot of information available about them, it seems they formed in the 1970s from the ashes of a group called Assoluto Naturale, who were more of a traditional progressive rock band influenced by the usual suspects, PFM, Banco, and the like. That band featured vocals, and performed early incarnations of Free Wave System songs, but Free Wave later decided to be an instrumental band. Brothers Luca and Enrico Morandi left this band and joined bassist Luciano Devietti and saxist Mauro Ravizza. The new group had a good live activity in northern Italy and managed to release one very good album on the Drums record label prior to disbanding. The band claims to have been most influenced by Perigeo, and I would say they compare very well to other Italian jazz-prog outfits such as Arti Mestieri, Bella Band, Etna, and Esagono. Today Devietti is a very successful Turin based businessman who still plays in a jazz/blues band, while the others are well ensconced in family life it appears. He remembers the band fondly and said his only regret is that they relied too much on sax and should have used some guitar too. (And if you see this Luciano, please contact me and send me a group photo for this page!)

"Nonostante tutto" (Despite Everything) is like so many of these Italian jazz-progger albums by the bands I note above. Very refined and exceptionally played, these guys have monster chops but more importantly a certain RPI tendency to inject some mischief into a sub that too often for me is a bit dry. No exception here, the compositions by the Morandi brothers remind me of the delicious Bella Band album. While they lament the lack of guitar I found the songs worked perfectly for me as they are. The sax is the lead instrument and Ravizza wails over a powerful and precise rhythm section. Devietti is a smoking bass player who lights up some nice solos in several places, but his general playing is also very up-front which I love. The real sale is made, to my taste, by the exquisite piano playing of Luca Morandi. I love piano, and while he also plays organ and synth it is his piano passages that inject some symphonic prog colors and classical influence. Great melody and emotion comes from these keyboard parts to soften the often fiery jamming. This is an album that I took to rather slowly but has become one of my favorite jazz-rock albums of the RPI scene. A nice concoction of elaborate playing and good songs by four friends who stick to a unified approach and rather lean production. There is nothing here that hasn't been done before and yet these guys have managed to create some wonderfully entertaining moments. The vinyl version is quite rare but the music can be heard on the Mellow Records reissued CD. The CD insert is a simple two page fold-over with photos of the band.

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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