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Rock Progressivo Italiano

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4 stars An excellent album by this misunderstood (little-known?) band of the '70s, permeated by a fairytale atmosphere and the singing of a great vocalist such as Gianfranco Gaza. Imagine the contributions of the flute and sax, completing an opus that is truely successful and pleasant to listen to. One to appreciate!
Report this review (#61242)
Posted Thursday, December 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here's an interesting italian prog band from the seventies named Procession. As many of their colleagues of that time, they only managed to release a couple of albums and then disappeared. With their second work titled Fiaba they're generally considered to have composed and performed their best effort with the help of certain guests as Ettore Vigo of DELIRIUM on mellotron, Silvana Aliotta, ex lead singer of the then dissolved CIRCUS 2000 who provides a fabulous vocals on the last part of "C'Era una Volta" (Once Upon a Time, 8,10 mns) that reminds me of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, a little bit and also something from the band UNO by ex Osanna leader Elio D'Anna. Other guests are Francesco Froggio Francisca (RRR) on percussions

As I said, Procession has lot in common with Delirium, musically. They're an example of that eclectic traditional sound of Rock Progressivo Italiano as also Delirium were. With some delicate jazzy phrasing all along the six compositions they also sound a la RACCOMANDATA RICEVUTA di RITORNO (for the sparse jazzy parts and for the vocals). Well, this is the point, I think. Not a keyboards' based band, this time, despite some good mellotron's soundscapes thanks to Ettore Vigo who also brought this instrument to a high level of quality when released with Delirium their last studio album. It's not a case it was 1974 also.

On about Procession we will say that they sound pleasant within acoustic guitar and flute wisely alternating compelling tenor saxes interludes and fine electric guitar' solos through the most delicate parts to the most "aggressive" ones. Great drums and bass' lines, let's say.

All in all, this is a very convincing work and it's certainly one of the most overlooked italian prog gems from the classic years. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#121749)
Posted Friday, May 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Very enjoyable guitar/sax dominated album.

Procession is another worthwhile classic Italian band releasing two albums in '72-'74. The first is a more hard rocking approach that listeners compare to De De Lind and New Trolls. Fiaba is the second and largely abandons that approach in favor of a more rounded symphonic sound with keys, flutes, sax, and plenty of acoustic guitar. There are still moments that rock but the sound is more varied, rock in some places, alternately jazzy or folksy in other sections. For Italian fans I would suggest they are somewhere between the sound of Era Di Acquario and Delirium. In several places their English influences do show through.

"Uomini Di Beno" is an upbeat folk rocker with a briskly strummed acoustic backing a hard guitar solo right out of the gate. Great bass and drums. Vocals come right in trading off with a nice raw guitar sound. Nice flute counter melody opens up and then yields to some sax. Energetic opener that will give way to a more mellow sound starting with the second track. "Un Mondo Sprecato" begins with acoustic guitar, gentle vocals, and sax in a good melody. As usual the bass playing is enthusiastic and interesting. The guitar solo about half-way through has a real "howling" kind of sound and it is soon challenged by a rather hard-edged saxophone before the acoustic and mellotron soothe the nerves again. Gaza is a pleasant vocalist, not as overbearing as some and with good high range. "C'era Una Volta" has a jazzy feel with a long saxophone intro over just cymbals and bass. A rather sunny vocal and light electric solo over the acoustic follow in places can remind one of Jon Anderson. It gets all quiet with the exception of some bird sounds, followed by very some very gentle guitar in the distance. Unfortunately, the song ends with a poorly executed attempt to mimic the Clare Torry vocal performance on Great Gig in the Sky. Not the albums high point and surely will make you appreciate the original. "Nottorno" begins with a trippy section of flutes and cymbals over acoustic creating a moody feeling. This goes on for quite some time until the pace picks up with some spacey soloing-a very effective and patient track. "Il Volo Della Paura" starts very much like Era Di Acquario with nice acoustic guitar melody and a lighter New Trolls style vocal. Really nice electric solo in this one. "Fiaba" is pure symphonic bliss with mellotron, flutes, acoustic, lively bass and drums keeping things pumping. Fiaba is a well rounded and musically satisfying album that will certainly entertain you even if it doesn't make the top of your list. A fabulous painting on the gatefold mini-lp edition shows the band and orchestra traipsing up a hill for an apparent jam at a medieval castle. It may not be the most representative album of the Italian scene but I doubt this album will disappoint anyone looking for good music.

Report this review (#160699)
Posted Sunday, February 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars PROCESSION's second and final album comes 2 years after the debut and with a lot of changes. The original drummer and bass player have left along with one of the lead guitarists. They replaced the bass player but not the second guitarist, instead they added a flute / sax player. A guest drummer Francesco from RACCOMANDATA RICEVUTA RUTORNO has been brought in. Some guest keyboards from Ettore from DELIRIUM. It's hard to believe this is the same band. Even Gianfranco's vocals are different as he holds them in check for the most part. A much more mature work for sure but they really sacrificed the passion from the debut. I still like this a lot but the debut is my favourite.

"Uomini Di Vento" opens with percussion, strummed guitar and bass. I like when the electric guitar joins in. Vocals follow.Some flute followed by sax as drums pound. The guitar is back 2 1/2 minutes in. Nice. Themes are repeated. "Un Mondo Sprecato" is darker sounding as guitar, drums and bass all play in a melancholic way. Reserved vocals and sax add to this mood. Gianfranco does gets passionate and the sound fuller. Nice guitar 2 minutes in. Gorgeous. Sax before 3 minutes. Sounds like floating organ 3 1/2 minutes in then the vocals return. Maybe it's string synths here. "C'era Una Volta" opens with atmosphere and gently strummed guitar. Sax and cymbals follow. Vocals before 3 minutes, the guitar follows. More sax then a calm 5 minutes in with birds and acoustic guitar. Very pastoral. Reserved vocals join in then we get guest female vocals around 7 minutes doing her "The Great Gig In The Sky" impersonation.

"Notturno" opens with some haunting atmosphere before acoustic guitar and flute come in. Lots of flute here. Very cool sounding intro. Vocals join in around 2 minutes. It picks up 4 minutes in with strummed guitar and synths. A beautiful passage follows. "Il Volo Della Paura" opens with acoustic guitar as fragile vocals and sax join in. It kicks in before 2 minutes. Some great vocals too around 2 1/2 minutes as he sings with passion. Electric guitar follows then it settles back to end it. "Fiaba" is a mellow tune with lots of flute early. Vocals and drums join in and we get some prominant bass too. The tempo picks up then it settles as contrasts continue.

While this album doesn't move or excite me like the debut does, I really enjoy it's atmosphere. A solid 4 stars.

Report this review (#261036)
Posted Friday, January 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the debut album "Frontiera" released in 1972, Procession released their second album for the record label Fonit Cetra in 1974 with a different line up festuring original members Gianfranco Gaza (vocals) and Roby Munciguerra (guitars) plus Maurizio Gianotti (sax, flute) and Paolo D'Angelo (bass). In studio they were helped by some guests musicians like drummer Francesco Froggio Francica (Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno), keyboardist Ettore Vigo (Delirium) and vocalist Silvana Aliotta (Circus 2000). The result was excellent. The overall sound is less raw and aggressive if compared with the previous album and dreamy acoustic atmospheres prevail while lyrics by Marina Comin perfectly fit the music blending dreams and reality.

The opener "Uomini di vento" (Men of wind) starts with a rhythm percussion pattern, then electric guitar comes in... "The wind blows strongly by now / Men run away because they can't stand it...". Sax, flutes and vocals depict a world stormed by the wind where scared shadows are looking for a shelter. Reality and its hypocrisies are swept away...

"Un mondo sprecato" (A wasted world) is more reflexive and darker and features good electric guitar and sax solos... "I wasted a world trying to understand / But I don't know how to begin / Man, you look at me and you don't understand / I used to live like you / A bitter life like many others / But I made up my mind and now I know / You're laughing at a clown / That has stopped playing with the wind by now... You are laughing without asking yourself what this tale could mean...".

On the long and complex "C'era una volta" (Once upon a time) the band try to explore the "dark side of the moon" and sax and vocals every now and again run after Pink Floyd's shadows... Lyrics are about a quest for true life: a child set off looking for the sense of life and when he thinks to have found it he realizes that he's old by now and that he has wasted his time...

"Notturno" begins softly, with acoustic guitar and flute drawing a strange and unquiet dreamy atmosphere... "A boat sails lightly on the see / There's a man on the edge / And the breeze wets his face / And the night gets darker / The man seems looking for life / But what is he looking for? He's not a fisherman... And the sea gets darker and darker / And the man leaves the edge / Now the boat is lighter...".

"Il volo della paura" (The flight of fear) is another beautiful dreamy track. Lyrics depict a flock of seagulls that darken the sky. When they land all together the earth is shaken. Men that can't fly are scared and remain on their shaken world where there's only a wall left, so hard to climb... Just thousand wings and so much fear!

The final title track "Fiaba" (Fairy tale) describes a village on top of a hill where live people refusing the rules of the world and enjoy their peace... I think that the inlay painting featuring classical and rock musicians climbing the hill describes this track better than words...

An essential album for every Italianprog lover!

Report this review (#272319)
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very pretty album in Italian Progressive Rock classic vein. Made in 1974 we can listen some melodious tracks but without keyboards. The musical instruments that most stand out are the guitar and saxophone. It has moments of brilliance with a unique sound. We can listen some more energic parts in first track but the others are more calms and balanced. The flute in rare moments give a context of classic progressive in Italian vein. Lyrics are in Italian with a tone of voice similar in many bands of this decade. If you are a Italian Progressive fan, this album is mandatory and a good adiction in your collection. It deserves 4 stars because is a classic record of this culture time in Italian.
Report this review (#547859)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Two years after ''Frontiera'' Procession returned with a refined line-up and a new contract with Fonit.Gone are Marcello Capra (who released an interesting solo Folk Rock album in 1978), Angelo Girardi and Giancarlo Capello, replaced by Maurizio Gianotti on sax/flutes and Paolo D'Angelo on bass.For the recordings of their sophomore ''Fiaba'' album they were helped by Francesco Froggio Francica on drums (from Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno), Delirium's keyboardist Ettore Vigo and Silvana Aliotta from Circus 2000 on vocals.

A refined line-up brought a refined sound for Procession and musically ''Fiaba'' is a lot smoother and lighter release than ''Frontiera'', albeit in the same good level, if not better.Their sound was now a mix of soft Italian Prog with plenty of Folk and Jazz elements, based on the excellent vocals of Gianfranco Gaza and the elaborate arrangements.This belongs among the most romantic releases of the Italian school of Progressive Rock, featuring beautiful vocal lines, mellow jazzy electric guitars and careful synth explorations, maybe comparable at moments with IL VOLO's works.Procession focused this time on creating more atmospheric compositions with lyrical depth than offering multiple Hard Prog attacks and their sound is often colored with elegant acoustic passages and swirling flutes.Additionally some tracks contain some well-crafted sax parts akin to VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR's album but with a more melodic content.

The next year Procession disbanded despite their decent live activity with Gaza participating in Arti E Mestieri's second album ''Giro di valzer per domani'' and Gianotti playing with the Jazz-Rock group Combo Jazz.More recently the band surfaced again under the leadership of guitarist Roby Munciguerra and released the 2006 album ''Esplorare'', consisting mostly of reworked old songs.

Another winner from the 70's Italian Prog scene.''Fiaba'' is a very nice album full of flexible material and comes strongly recommended for all fans of high quality artistic rock music...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#841300)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Fiaba is Procession's second (and final) album, and a far cry from their blissfully heavy 1972 debut. By 1974 only singer Gianfranco Gaza and guitarist Roby Munciguerra remained from the original group; the twin-guitar approach from Frontiera is abandoned in favor of woodwinds, sparse percussion and walking bass lines. I prefer the first album, but Fiaba has its moments and definitely belongs in any complete RPI discussion - although the impact on progressive music as a whole is negligible. Sales for Fiaba were virtually nonexistent and Procession folded shortly upon release. Highlights include the opening "Uomini Di Vento" and somber "Un Mondo Sprecato." I tend to lose interest after those first two tracks and wish the aggressive swagger of Frontiera would kick in, but it never does.

"Uomini Di Vento" is the closest thing to 1972 Procession found here. Francesco Francica of Raccomandata Ricevuta Ritorno plows a funky path, laying down a solid drum beat upon which bassist Paolo D'Angelo treads assuredly. Flute and sax solos are skillfully played by Maurizio Gianotti. Gaza's voice is in top form, retaining its warbly, emphatically powerful quality. The tone shifts dramatically on "Un Mondo Sprecato," as the singer displays a seemingly new-found tenderness. The slow tempo allows Munciguerra to explore a soaring Gilmouresque solo; finally Gaza reenters and gently closes the song on verse, which creates a sense of unresolved tension. "Un Mondo Sprecato" abruptly ends and we are treated to another stylistic change on "C'era una Volta" - to Jazz Rock this time. Sizzling cymbals support a sleazy sax while guitars chug along in the background. Suddenly, the mood shifts to upbeat Neopolitan folk, sounding not unlike Citta Frontale. This middle section fades out a little too soon for my taste, as the last three minutes build to a clich crescendo.

Side two still suffers from an identity complex as Procession try to work through various passages, impersonating a classically symphonic RPI band at times ("Notturno"), and a folk/canzone group at others ("Il Volo Della Paura"). The title track seems to finally settle on a cohesive style, but feels too little too late. I do not regret adding Fiaba to my RPI library, but the title will be largely irrelevant for most and only mildly enjoyable for Italian Prog newbies. I recommend the debut to hear Procession in its element and at the peak of their powers; Fiaba displays a shadow of that great band trying to adapt and catch a break near the end of a creative wave.

Report this review (#967083)
Posted Thursday, May 30, 2013 | Review Permalink

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