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Il Baricentro - Sconcerto CD (album) cover

SCONCERTO

Il Baricentro

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Sconcerto" is, first of all, a very beautiful and tasteful album, that reveals Il Baricentro as what it is in its purest form, a proficient jazz-rock ensemble with a very strong melodic sense and with a capability to do energetic interplaying in a most colorful manner. The two keyboardists, brothers Boccuzzi, stay well away from the mutual dueling scheme; on the contrary, they use their combined keyboard inputs (mostly pianos and synthesizers, with a noticeable deal of clavinet and harpsichord, and occasionally, some room for organ, too) as portrayers of the candid melodic ideas and elegant textures that keep coming around with the sonic flow. They seem to intend to act as subtle leaders of the band, making the effective rhythm duo come to the fore with their excellent foundations, while they pull the musical strings (well, ivories to be more precise) without showing off. The way that the rhythm section provides swing and groove to all the individual pieces helps the cadence to become a most important element of enhancement for the melodies. The opening namesake track serves as the perfect Baricentro sample for the neophyte. Let me add that I find the presence of the harpsichord in this fusion-esque amalgam quite intriguing: its crystalline vibrato helps the track to preserve an aura of distinction among the groove. This was actually my first Baricentro experience, the track that made me fall in love with this band's proposal. Further ahead, 'Afka' is more focused on the funky trend, while 'Meridioni e Paralleli' and 'Comunque' make a sort of compromise between jazz-fusion and funky - as usual, all well accomplished, very close to what Weather Report was doing at the time in the USA. On the softer side of things, 'Lido Bianco' shows the most academic side of Il Baricentro's ideology: this track is the closest to standard symphonic prog that this band can get. In fact, this track somewhat reminds me of "Ultima Cena"-era Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. 'Pietre di Luna' is plainly beautiful, an evocative serenade instilled with melancholy that needs no lyrics to create emotions in the listener's soul. 'Della Venis' is yet another serene track, ethereal and melodically pristine. These softer tracks are cohesively harmonized with the album's repertoire as a whole. So, all in all, "Sconcerto" is a potential excellent addition for the collections of those who love a strong dose of jazz in their prog, or, mutatis mutandis, those jazz-fusion freaks with a progressive sensibility.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#61483)
Posted Friday, December 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Ricochet
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A "sconcert" that's full of vitamins, juicy stuff, drifting talent and consistent music - and of progressive rock, kudos to the mixture of 70s rock and original jazz creating a warm combination of colors and liquid fireworks; this is how Baricentro's first album (far from calling it a simple debut, it's too strong) sounds like, down the more or less usual path of jazz-rock, fusion heat, electric melodism and rock composer. Its field isn't powerful enough to bring a swell impression, its pleasure, instead, is half the great quality that's installed in this album.

Despite that almost all the members have come from playing in a band (Festa Mobile and its rock nucleus), plus from an early field of rock and vanilla-jazz, Il Baricentro's moment sounds fresh, far-dropped and confines an artistic intensity and pattern from, mostly, a world of technique and shining expressions (and, more importantly, from a wisdom of emotion dominating the fuse and the rhythms, and gallantry dominating over too simple or straight improvisations). Sconcerto, most especially, shines as something natural, even pastured, still fired and fusion-flickered most of the times. Both the traditional and the nonconformist, the somber and the fun, the hypnotic and the light, the radical and the alternative musical tastes are merged in a mellow point, where good music also means a lot of sensual slide, and the jazz/fusion technique is one small step close to a spiritual and healthy art. The key to Sconcerto's good mood is how intense, instead of remarkable, and imaginative, even if not original, the scores abounds. The rest is either good or tranquill, either fascinating or too plain, either creative or vicious.

It seems interesting how each of the four artists play a percussion role; nevertheless, the Bocuzzi brothers create out of the keyboards a state of the art - and the strongest link to fusion and electric jazz, too. The great idea of fusion can sound different to each and every one who listens to Sconcerto, meaning that there's a bit of freedom and good taste in the jam, unrelated to anything particular or too shabby - but references could make you think of Weather Report and their key/fusion/funk-tap, of Return To Forever and their bit of prolific "feathery" jazz, of Mahavishnu and some sticky accents, of PFM and symphonic rock bands that play an airy taste of attractive art. The link with Keith Emerson (mentioned in many places) comes to a true sense when Baricentro's jam is aggressive and plastic (my best example being to think of "Blues Variation" from ELP's Pictures..., where Emerson sweats on a same vibrating and high-pitch Mellotron). In short and conclusive words about Sconcerto's style, its jazz/fusion is more different and moderately rocking, while it's natural high-marks of (Italian) symphonic are spontaneous and gusting.

Few words are left to be said about each of the seven precious pieces, since they all are part of the same consistent concept and vibrating rhythm, sketching a diversity of moods and colors thanks to the set of melodic, emotions and elastic improvisations. The fusion of Baricentro drops heavy, but not immense, in every minute, the great undulations being when the music is atmospheric or has an obscure crust (Della Venis), dominating and insatiable rhythm (Afka) or when a drop of pop makes the music sensibly light (Meridioni e Paralleli).

Sconcerto can't be called an easy winner, but something from its pleasant and juicy art makes it all worth.

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Send comments to Ricochet (BETA) | Report this review (#146749)
Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Three of the band members here used to be in a band called FESTA MOBILE who put out one album that i'm a big fan of. On this project they have turned to a Jazz direction and called themselves IL BARICENTRO. They are from Italy and they put out two albums with this being their debut. I must say the first time I listened to this I really didn't want to play it a second time.The dual keyboards are so light sounding and wimpy much of the time that I just didn't want to listen to it again. I've now heard it 6 times and am actually impressed with the way these guys play but the keyboard sounds keep me from giving this 4 stars.

The first track is by far the best.This self titled beauty recalls WEATHER REPORT with all those intricate sounds coming and going. It's just a feast to the ears.The drumming is really good. "Lido Bianco" opens with some atmosphere before the keys and synths dominate. We don't get a melody until after 3 minutes.

I really like the intro and drumming in "Meridioni E Paralleli", although the keys are too light. "Afka" has a funky rhythm with light synths playing over top. Lots of piano in "Pietre Di Luna". "Della Venis" is slower paced with lots of synths and piano. "Comunque...(Todo Modo)" is more uptempo with a good beat.

So yes this is a good album but for me it's not that great.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#211028)
Posted Saturday, April 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars If I could give this 3.5 stars I would. Being a huge fan of the Italian scene, as well as fusion in particular, this one didn't really deliver a lot of meat. So why the 3.5 stars? The musicianship and production quality are top-notch, so it's a great "sounding" album. But while it does a fine job of mining the Weather Report meets the Italian sun schtick, its songs are a bit far from overly memorable.

The band have a tight, energetic sound but too often take a "proggy groove" and milk it a little too far. More developed and structured solos might have helped balance the songs against what is a great rhythm section that drives the album. I haven't heard the second album that's a follow up to this, would be curious if their songwriting took a leap forward or if they still rested on their (considerable) muscianship.

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Send comments to Area70 (BETA) | Report this review (#246579)
Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let me start off by saying that the album Sconcerto by Il Baricentro is much better quality music than their other record Trusciante-this album is really the one to have.

I stumbled across a stray lp copy of this astounding music by chance in a used record store. That was in 1989, and Sconcerto has stood the test of time very well. The music is very keyboard oriented, what with two keyboard players. This album is much more to the point, and better played, than a lot of Italian groups of the time, even though they had some stiff competition.

For me, on this album, Il Baricentro have always epitomized how an Italian keyboard-based group could really play in that perfect way where each track, and each note is just so right-the right kind of playing, producing just the right kind of synergy, and producing the right kind of emotion, really doing everything just a bit better than other, similar groups.

Sconcerto has no vocals, and does not need them-all you need to do is revel in their instrumental world-once you are in it, you are left spellbound. This album of theirs is more jazz influenced than the other one, but that element is not really overwhelming or extreme. To me, they do sound like Italian prog with somewhat of a jazz influence. In a nutshell, Sconcerto is a lost gem that is under-rated and full of music that should be available to be heard by many more people than it currently does-listen to the music at hand, and you will see what i mean! Five stars.

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Send comments to presdoug (BETA) | Report this review (#263192)
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
4 stars I've visited Italy only once, back in the day and on a journey across Europe with one of those student rail ticket thingies. On the Paris-Venice leg of our journey my buddy and I stopped off in Turin where we overindulged just a little on chianti, so that by the time of our late arrival in Venice we were only fit to crash out on the concrete steps outside the train station. Early the next morning one of the local Carabinieri wakened me rather rudely with a friendly cherry blossom enema - Glasgow dialect for a boot up the backside.

The scary thing about the Italian police, unlike Scotland's finest who are unarmed, is that those guys carry submachine guns slung over the shoulder. The sight of which is guaranteed to revive your dulled senses swiftly. Anyway, I look forward to hopefully returning to Italy one day and on that occasion not travelling slum-class but in the meantime I'll have to make do with albums such as 'Sconcerto', which convey the warmth and colour of southern Europe in a way that is as welcoming as an Italian sunset.

Having said all that, this album arguably has more of New York about it instead of Rome or Florence. Despite their RPI beginnings - most of these guys played together in Festa Mobile - Il Baricentro clearly craved a more Americanised jazz fusion. While Festa Mobile's only album contained some traits of jazz, 'Sconcerto' represented a complete transgression from 'typical' Italian prog and I reckon that if Il Baricentro had been from the States they might have been on a par with the likes of Weather Report and Return To Forever.

The guys in Il Baricentro typically express themselves through exuberant melodies although there are one or two points of departure like the laid back 'Della Venis' and the slowly evolving 'Lido Bianco', the longest track at just over the 10-minute mark. Their core sound comes from the Boccuzzi brothers' twin keyboards; they make use of all manner of the beasts and from the get-go of the opening track we're treated to some superb electric piano and harpsichord criss-crossed with synthesizer and clavinet.

Highly recommended jazz fusion from Italy. It's my understanding that the CD is now out of print so don't dawdle if you see one.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#513447)
Posted Saturday, September 03, 2011 | Review Permalink

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