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Maxophone - Maxophone CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.26 | 440 ratings

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5 stars Maxophone was one of the few Italian groups of the 1970s that managed to record an English version of their album, although the English-language recording wasn't a great success. This review is based on the original and more highly regarded Italian version. Half the members of this Milanese sextet were classically trained musicians and most, if not all, were multi- instrumentalists. As a result, there are some novel textures on the album thanks to the singular array of instruments that the band employs. Vibraphone features prominently and while that in itself isn't unusual for an RPI album, it is when used together with valve horn, clarinet and trumpet. Along with the more orthodox saxophone and flute, the wind instruments generally tend to be in the driving seat throughout the album.

With the exception of the two closing bonus songs, all the tracks feature fairly complex multi- part arrangements. There might not be any sprawling 20-minute epics (the longest track is under 9-minutes), but we do get a series of six concise mini-masterpieces. Lead singer Alberto Ravasini has been compared to Peter Gabriel... not something I'd noticed myself but I suppose there is a similarity. Musically the band plays a sophisticated mix of classical, jazz and progressive music, with a crisp and compact rhythm section that provides a firm rallying point for the front line instruments. Their main influences seem to be Gentle Giant, perhaps not as quirky but with similar medieval flourishes, and King Crimson, with the fast section of ''Antiche Conclusioni Nerge'' having something of the ''Great Deceiver'' about it.

This album should have broad appeal, not just to RPI enthusiasts but also to fans of the above mentioned prog heavyweights as well as Genesis and Van Der Graaf Generator. What it lacks in originality and RPI-ness, it more than makes up for in its dazzling brilliance.

seventhsojourn | 5/5 |


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