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Arti E Mestieri - First Live in Japan CD (album) cover


Arti E Mestieri

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars "Created by Furio Chirico (ex-Trip's drummer), Arti & Mestieri blends jazz-rock with progressive perfectly: imagine Mahavishnu Orchestra's sumptuousness embroidered with (splendid) mellotron parts! A fabulous violinist, Giovanni Vigliar, is the leader of that combo. He is supported by an efficient rhythm section (Furio's drums and Marco Gallesi's bass). « Tilt » (1974), their first album is a milestone of Italian rock. Listen to 'Strips' or 'Articolazioni' for example, the only two tracks featuring vocals. (?) Their following albums are more conventional, presenting a more common jazz-rock." This is how Jacques Toni presented this fabulous combo in the guide to the Italian progressive rock of the 70's, "Storia di un minuto". Well, I have nothing to add except that this live opus is a de luxe visiting card for those who don't know this band yet (it features 'Strips' for instance) and a must for Italian prog addicts in general. For sure, the musicians changed meanwhile (only the famous keyboards man Bepe Crovella and Furio Chirico remain from the original line-up) but the new musicians, especially the violinist (Lautaro Acosta) and the saxophonist (Alfredo Ponissi), are exceptional players who are faithful to the typical Arti & Mestieri sound. Gorgeous!
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Posted Monday, February 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A good run through their best material.

Arti E Mestieri is one of the most famous and highly regarded bands from Italy. Although they are not officially recognized as a Rock Progressivo Italiano (RPI) band, their music has a lot to offer to fans of the Rock Progressivo Italiano scene. Their style is a blend of RPI and Jazz/ Fusion. To my ears, that is a very nice blend. This live album is full of this blend.

The band debuted in the early 1970s and their debut album Tilt is widely regarded as a classic album. It is therefore quite fitting that this album starts with one of the songs from this album; Gravita. The tone has been set for seventy five minutes of some truly great music.

The music flows and ebbs like a truly great Fusion/RPI live performance always does. The leader of this band; Beppe Crovella also gets some minutes of solo material. The violinist Lautaro Acosta adds some folk/gypsy music to the blend too. In short; Arti E Mestieri really impresses me with their style, their abilities and their songs on this live album. The roof is not falling down and the Japanese audience is polite in the background, listening to these masters and hopefully copying them (Read: creating bands like this which we can add to ProgArchives). In short; this is a great live album and a must have for the fans of this band and Italian music in general.

I am impressed.

4 stars

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Posted Thursday, November 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Arti & Mestieri 's newest album was recorded live in concert in June, 2005 at Club Citta in Kawasaki, Japan. The set list included spirited rendition of the Tilt album minus three songs, seven tracks from their release Giro Di Valzer Per Domani, and six more recent tracks. The songs easily segue without a rest until the end of each suite, only allowing the Japanese audience to show their restrained affection rarely. Their music follows in the footsteps of Return to Forever, some PFM, and the lighter side of Mahavishnu Orchestra. They never stray into Canterbury territory and follow the scripted chord changes fairly tightly.

Due to their tight instrumentation, the band has a big sound, sometimes like one of Zappa's jazz orchestras toned way down, sometimes like an enhanced Weather Report or the Dixie Dregs. Although their songwriting is quite innovative and unique, I would say those bands have the greatest influence on the group's playing and arranging. The vocals (all in Italian) are not the centerpiece of the music, but offer another instrument to be arranged into the song.

There is plenty of mellotron from Beppe Crovella, and the instrumental solos, duets and trios abound using sax, electric violin, electric piano, bass, and clarinet. "Strips" includes wonderful violin solos behind electronic grand piano. Often a languid section breaks into an instrumental duel.

Some of the tracks are much more arranged than others, leaving you with the feeling that the show drifted off of and onto their pre-arranged schedule. If you know Arti y Misteri, you will note the great production values of this album, the tight musicianship and the band's enthusiasm, even after thirty years. If you are new to the band, then this will guarantee your follow up with at least the first two albums.

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Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | Review Permalink

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