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Maxophone - Maxophone CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.25 | 411 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's not so easy to write and perform a prog masterpiece, but there has been a bunch of those in the 70s Italian scene... and Maxophone's eponymous only album is certainly one of them. I like to describe them as the missing link between Quella Vecchia Locanda and Locanda delle Fate, since they combine the colourful exquisiteness of the former's second album the ellegant lyricism of the latter. Maxophone's repertoire is based upon a clever equilibrium of various confluent sources: symphonic, mediterranean folk, ragtime, baroque, romanticism, hard rock, an equilibrium well reflected in the overwhelming beauty and daring complexity of the six compositions that fill the original album. The individuals' musicianship reaches outstanding levels of immaculate skill, but you can tell that the ensemble likes to shine as a whole most of the time: nevertheless, there's always room for killer clarinet/sax/flute solos, beautiful piano chords that come to the fore, sensible guitar leads, brass textures, and even some ethereal, almost dreamy vibraphone stuff. Don't get too used to a melodic line or a rhythm pattern, since a change won't take too long to appear: yet it won't come abruptly, but with delicate fluency - you won't feel it happening, you'll just notice when it's already happened... that's what I call absolute mastery on arranging. The opening track 'C'e un Paese al Mondo' serves as a perfect intro into the amazing musical world of Maxophone, continuing with the slightly harder 'Fase'. Both tracks coincide in portraying the band's multifaceted style, with the former leaning closer to the evocative side of things and the latter following a more explicitly intense trend. None of them gets dull or overbearing... ever! Tracks 4 and 6 are the most outstanding samples of the complexity mentioned above, with the band working speciallly hard on more enriched textures and more noticeable contrasts, yet focusing the whole variety into an integral amalgam. The closing chorale for track 6 is emotional and ethereal at the same time. Track 3 lays a fusion of baroque and big band (the opening section is indelibly memorable), in a compact cohesion of successive beautiful motifs that will surely captivate each and every listener; meanwhile, track 5 explores the realms of pure melancholy. The bonus tracks come from both sides of a single: 'Il Fischio del Vapore' is a folkish sound with a nice merry-go-round spirit, while 'Cono di Gelato' is a ballad with a soft bluesy twist - though not as impressive as the official songs, I find them attractive, too, coherent with the preceding repertoire in spite of their less compelx nature. From one of many Italian one-shot bands... here is one of those records that you can't praise enough.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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