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MAXOPHONE

Maxophone

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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Cesar Inca
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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.

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#4816)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Well, my knowledge of Italian prog was only limited to PFM. When my friend, Gandhi, introduced me with MAXOPHONE, the name itself did not ring any bell to me. The CD package in a cardboard design is excellent and it triggered me to open the case and played the CD. Wow! What a wonderful music, I think, when I listened to it the first time. I'm fortunate as I have the Italian lyric. I like native language lyrics even though I don't understand the meaning. Never mind, progressive music is universal! The music is a blend of 70s prog rock and jazz.

"C'e'un Paese Al Mondo" is oponed by a classical piano touch followed by uplifting music when all instruments come into play. It sounds like early GENESIS music. This track has a touchy melody when the vocal takes place followed by a jazz fusion composition when flute takes the lead.

"Fase" is an instrumental piece that has strong and powerful melodies. The guitar led intro followed by tenor saxes, dazzling bass guitar, flute (?) and vibraphone are really wonderful! The vibraphone solo with thin keyboard sound at the back is excellent arrangement! These guys are really creative. The music is complex yet enjoyable.

"Al Mancato Comleanno Di Unafarfalla" intro reminds me to the intro of PFM's "River of Life". The acapella piece that goes after intro is cool. It's not a pure acapella as it has flute sound at background. Oh my God .. this track has a very touchy melody sung in Italian lyrics! This is the strong point of this track. The lead guitar and organ composition during the track is stunning. I admire this band.

"Mercanti Di Pazzie" is relatively slow track with beautiful organ melody at background. "Elzeviro" is another interesting track opened with great voice.

"Cono Di Gelato" has more jazz touch than rock. It has great orchestration, brass section and very nice guitar fills. This is a wonderful slow track.

In "Antiche Conclusioni Nerge" there is a great solo sax at the interlude combined with lead guitar and it ends up with a church organ sound. Wonderful piece! The way singer sings is also excellent.

I know for most people that this band is not well known. Or, probably, it only me that who don't know this great band? One thing for sure, this album is a masterpiece. It has a strong structure in its music composition, great musicianship and I think beautiful blend of multi instruments used in its music. So sad that this band has only produced one album in two lyric version (Italian and English). I recommend you to have the Italian, even though I never heard the English version itself. I think Italian language is suitable for progressive music as it sounds wonderfully with the music.

Another thing I want to comment about the band: all music instruments were used in balanced proportion; no single instrument dominates the "lead" melody. Lucky that I don't know the band, so I'm not aware who is the leader (that usually demonstrates its instrument more than the other members). But all of them contribute excellently. This band should reunite and create another great music! - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#4817)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The best description for MAXOPHONE I could give is that they sound like an Italian Peter GABRIEL meets a classical jazz influenced progressive rock group. That sounds different now doesn't it? Well, it is very unique and refreshingly different. This self-titled LP was originally recorded in 1975 and has been reissued by the esteemed Akarma Records label in a perfected 180-gram vinyl format, complete with picturesque gatefold sleeves and black and white pictures of the group at work in the studio.

With a rich blend of every instrument imaginable in the spectrum of jazz and classical music, this group provided a progressive all encompassing musical cornucopia with dreamy Italian vocalizations. Don't worry if you cannot translate the foreign tongue, you will understand it. I wasn't at all deterred from enjoying this because of the language barrier. The music was simply wonderful. To think that this was recorded back in1975 is amazing. This group comes from a long line of progressive Italian groups that have built a stronghold that has never crumbled, and the genre has continued on strongly to present day.

It's important to know and acknowledge all the contributors that have made a difference in their chosen styles and countries. MAXOPHONE made one classic and unforgettable album twenty seven years ago. This album offers orchestral progressive rock at its best.

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#4819)
Posted Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another masterpiece of italian 70s. Various in sound, innovative, sometimes more jazzy and with voice/lyrics enphasis. Somebody told me of the presence of an harp (not confirmed, even after internet researches), while horn and vibraphone give unique atmospheres.

"Fase", "Elzeviro" and "Antiche conclusioni negre" are fantastic. "C'e un Paese al Mondo" is a perfect introduction to the album, and is nice enough to be remembered and sung. Reminds in some passages QVL, but this is perhaps the more distinct and atypical band among italian 70s.

Unfortunately, I miss the last two pieces which were posted on later releases.

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Send comments to NIC* (BETA) | Report this review (#36642)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Maxophone's only album is certainly one of the best Italian prog rock records ever! It is very well produced and very well played indeed! The musicians that play here are definitely professionals with no self indulgence and their music flows like a wonderful poem. The album contains a lot of jazz and classical music with an intellectual approach of progressive rock. The singer has a wonderful voice in the vein of Peter Gabriel, the guitarists are superb, so is the saxophonist (maxophonist?)/flute/clarinet player. In the whole work add also a fantastic cornet/tuba player which adds originality and you have a fantastic mature album that deserved more success.Brilliant!

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Send comments to deceiver (BETA) | Report this review (#45990)
Posted Thursday, September 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Add Maxophone to your list of must-have Italian prog albums to buy. Except for a stumble or two, its one of the best around and is just a tad under masterpiece status. The album starts out with wonderful piano, then cranks out some killer guitar. It has a definate ELP vibe about it, with excellent vocals by Alberto Ravasini and some pretty horn work for coloring. An awesome opening. Track two is cut from a bluesy prog cloth, then slides into a carnival style keyboard interlude, then into some sax work. ELP keyboards vie with the horns all about the instrumental. A very good prog number. Then comes my two favorite songs: 'Al Mancato Compleano Di Un Farfalla' and 'Elzeviro'. The first has a beautiful acoustic guitar intro leading to some tasty flutes ala PFM, especially with the harmonal singing. You'd swear it was PFM, like a lost song. Absolutely wonderful! The next track starts ominously, with Alberto's throaty singing over a cathedral organ playing in the background, then whammo! some early King Crimson prog blasts of hornwork and guitar circa 'Lizard', 'Island'. Phenomenal! One of the best Italian prog tracks ever! Must be heard. The next track goes back to the PFM style, with great singing. 'Antiche Conclusioni Negre' is very horn dominated, like Chicago, but in no way is it a copycat. Very bouncy track. The last two tracks seem like singles, with 'Il Fischio Del Vapore' being the better of the two. It's actually a beautiful track with nice guitars. Put it all together and you have an album that rivals the best Itailian symphonic prog. Other than the last track which I'm not fond of, it's practically perfect in ever way! 4.5 stars with no reservations!!

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#54596)
Posted Friday, November 04, 2005 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "and the butterfly goes on, shining within freedom."

Yeah! Another shining star from the HUGE Italian 1970s progrock scenario! I assure you that the high ratings I usually give to the Italian albums are due to the own merits of these great pieces of art! Maxophone were one of those mythic "one-shot- bands", formed in 1973 as a six-piece with an unusual assortment of instruments, due to their past experience as music students. When the band started rehearsing it became apparent that they were influenced by many genres: a captivating mix between symphonic-rock, classical music, swing, jazz, traditional Italian (regional) music with harp, French horn, classic guitars, saxophone, flute, piano, keyboards, organ, clarinet, trumpet, horn, vibraphone, string quartet, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and percussions: a very good menu for every good genuine progrock lover!

C'č un Paese al Mondo (there's a country in the world): nice and soft piano opening shifting into a short rock prelude of electric guitar, bass and drums fading then into another soft and warm tempo that prepares the listener to the good vocals of Alberto Ravasini. Clarinet storms into at the middle of the track, then trumpet and horns.then again electric guitar and a chorus singing! Each track of the Maxophone album follows the complexity of the opener track.

Fase (instrumental), in particular, which opens with a more harder vein than the previous one. Good jazzy saxophone mixed to a prog symphonic mood.then "burst" a wonderful, delicate and precise vibraphone before the return of the good electric guitar riff! Then horns again, flute and guitars.it seems to be at an exciting match with your favourite team!

Al Mancato Completamento di una Farfalla (At the Missed Completement of a Butterfly)is another favourite of mine from Maxophone all the album is a must have). A JT-looking like flute intro fading to soft vocals. Then, the second part of the track starts with a strong keyboard sound with more symphonic style and great personality!

Mercanti di Pazzie (Merchants of Madnesses) is marvellous.imagine a soft harp sound.some "crazy" lyrics (somehow non-sense experiment). Then the flute appears behind voices.it reminds me of Jethro Tull's animals-cycle (Chateau d'Isaster Tapes). Then the harp again.some soft synths-noises, ambient sound fading out.

Elzeviro.what I could say more about this other excellent track? "They've beated me, six to one.", that's the lyrics opening.then swing mixed to other symphonic vein and chorus singing.electric guitar, "piano-carpet".the song speaks by itself, just listen to it! No one can be really disappointed!

The closer of the album is Antiche Conclusioni Negre (Ancient Negroes Conclusions). ".I do have poetry inside of me.my owner saw me there at the market.she saw me naked, she pointed me.new man moves without fears.". Good and deep lyrics, excellent the arrangements too!

The Akarma-label remastered cd makes the gift of two bonus tracks: Il Fischio del Vapore (Boat's Wistle) and Cono di Gelato (Ice Cream's Cone), two singles released in 1977, just before band splitting, because of the failure of their label.this is the official reason. why they didn't reach the success they'd deserve? The question remains without answer.

My evaluation.absolutely natural!

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#57733)
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The only album released in 1975 "Maxophone". Masterpiece that mobilizes orchestral music and constructs the beautiful world dynamically. Mild, graceful melody and delicate Harmony. The sound of the horn is especially impressive. It is a fantastic, excellent sound, and power as rock is also enough. It is pop rock rather than classical. Music is filled with the life feeling and overflows. And, a free sound for transforming closes in on P.F.M, and it surpasses it completely in a fantastic sound of orchestral music. Work of unusual to invent fresh, symphonic sound.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#71999)
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars For me, Maxophone is Il Balletto di Bronzo with heart. Their first and only album is great. It is really rockin' progressive jazzrock. From the musical part of view this album is close to perfection. The guitar is heavy. The rest is exceptional. The opening track gives to listener everything this band is all about. Symphonic prog, some rock, some jazz... The best song is Fase opening with great heavy guitar riff and then, of course, some prog and jazz appeared. The band is trying to persuade the listener that the musicians are masters, so some nice acoustic track and passages are also included (e.g. Elseviro). Unlike Il Balletto di Bronzo the melodies are also included and the whole album is memorable. This is lost gem and it's highly recommended to any prog fan in the world.

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Send comments to Hejkal (BETA) | Report this review (#104996)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another Italian Prog classic. In their only effort Maxophone play an excellent mix of classical background and rock themes, and improve it with a great melodic taste, as other Italian groups. Winds instruments like horn, flute and trumpet are the real focus of the music, but the rhytmical breaks and a brilliant electric guitar show a really talented band. The instrumental track "Fase" has a good jazzy touch, but the better Maxophone style stand out in "C'č un paese al mondo" or "Al mancato compleanno di una farfalla", pastoral tunes full of changing times and romantic vocals too. A real gem of the Italian Progressive of Seventies.

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Send comments to armapo (BETA) | Report this review (#119553)
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Maxophone was formed in 1972 by six excellent young musicians who were able to blend rock with jazz and classical influences in a very personal way... Their music was well performed and rich in ideas but they were only able to release one eponymous album before they split up on account of the financial troubles of their label. The lyrics of the album were not written by the members of the band but by some "friend-lyricists" who helped them to describe in words what they were trying to describe with notes and the overall result was definitely good...

The opener "C'č un paese al mondo" (There's a country in the world) is introduced by a piano pattern and features many changes of rhythm... Good vocals and evocative lyrics draw images of a fantastic country that "grows in the mind upon equality roots", "without thieves of truth", where "freedom dances"... The music keeps on swinging from classical to rock to jazz almost giving a sense of harmonic utopia...

"Fase" is an excellent instrumental track where the members of the band showcase their great musicianship performing a well balanced blending of jazz, rock and classical influences...

"Al mancato compleanno di una farfalla" (To the missed birthday of a butterfly) features a good classical guitar intro that leads to a bittersweet and romantic atmosphere... The song is about the quest for ideals... In the lyrics dreams and the struggle for a better world are compared to the flight of a butterfly: "The butterfly goes / It shines of freedom / It swings and goes further / Next year what will remain of its colours? / Other butterflies will take its colours and will be flying in its place... If my strength to go further will fail at length / Take my colours and keep on going / By yourself, without me!".

Organ and soaring desperate vocals drawing the image of an attack in the street for political reasons introduce "Elzeviro", a song that evokes the "leaden atmosphere" of political confrontation in Italy during the Seventies and its "long hours" full of blind hatred... "They've fixed me / Six against one / Convulsions of a power / That is crumbling by now...". Good track where the music gives a sense of tension and impending drama...

The intro of the oneiric "Mercanti di pazzie" (Merchants of follies) is taken from Paul Hindemith's Harp Sonata. The music is evocative and leads you into an "artificial" dreamy mood but, in my opinion, here the lyrics are not as inspired as in the other tracks...

The long final track "Antiche conclusioni negre" is a kind of tribute to black music (jazz and gospel) and features "a trumpet screaming new truths" and an Italian "gospel finale". An excellent track concluding an excellent album...

The re-release on CD features two bonus tracks, the interesting "Il fischio del vapore" and the weak "Cono di gelato"...

On the whole, "Maxophone" is a great album, released by a band that deserved more luck... Anyway, although the album didn't obtain the success it deserved in 1975, as years passed by it has become a "cult one" for progressive fans and I think it's a must for every prog collector...

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#134958)
Posted Sunday, August 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Safe Italian prog choice for people not sure they if they like Italian prog.

Every so often someone is blown away by Locanda Delle Fate, and asks what else they can get like Locanda. Well Maxophone (from Milano Italy) doesn't sound exactly like Locanda but they are a good choice for people who want safe, pleasant Italian prog that isn't *too* Italian, meaning sans the more gregarious side that some of us hard-core Italian hounds look for. It's pretty hard not to like Maxophone as they do everything well, good playing, nice songs, smooth vocals. But they don't take the risks that some of their peers do. It's hard for me to explain but while this album is most certainly good it just somehow lacks the distinct flavor and character I look for in my Italian albums. I think maybe they have more outside influences than some of the more regional Italian bands. For many this probably makes them better but for me not. In researching the band I found three sentences from another reviewer that perfectly summarizes my view of Maxophone:

"While Maxophone have constructed a very well balanced album, one thing they fail to do is absolutely dazzle me in the way that the best Italian bands can. There are no flat spots but the best moments are interesting as opposed to astounding. Maxophone never quite soar as high as they promise to at times." [those last 3 sentences credited to Conrad Leviston and thanks for saying it better than I.]

You will find everything you seek from the classic period here: piano, flute, sax, organ, vibe, clarinet, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, and good vocals. You will also find a wide range of styles and a band capable of turning from rock to jazzy to classical segments quickly and effortlessly. I think this band was likely influenced from Yes, Genesis, and PFM primarily. This was their one and only album and it is considered by many to be one of the greatest Italian prog albums. I'm at about 3.25 stars for Maxophone. The mini-lp sleeve reissue is nice because of the great cover art.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#141585)
Posted Tuesday, October 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If i had to do a Top 5 of my favorite Italian albums, this one would have a place there!

With such a prolific country, it is very difficult to me to choose my favorite albums, because i have a lot sometimes i could change my mind and say that i prefer this album to that one i dont know, but i believe with Maxophone is different, because i really fell in love with it since the very first listen, you probably know that my favorite album from Italy is YS by Il Balleto which i really have in another level (something personal) but the fact is that the Maxophone`s album provoked and still provokes the same feeling that i had with Ys, is just something that only you know and cannot explain, the album and the music and i did an instant "clic", hope you understand what i mean.

Sadly, Maxophone was just another "one-shot" bands that came from Italy in the 70`s, it would had been great to see them releasing another album, in order to see if they were capable to improve this masterpiece or no, that didn`t happen, but with this wonderful album i have enough.

Maxophone`s self titled album was released in 1975 and contains 8 songs, all of them made by a group of 6 magnific musicians with different ideas that later gathered together in order to create this gem of progressive rock, yes, Rock Progressivo Italiano.

"C`E a un Paese al Mondo" is the first song of the album, since the opening you will know that this is something special, despite being an opening with piano, and you may say that you have heard lots of songs with that kind of openings, the best is what continues to it, a very complex song with several changes within it, magnific musical arrangements that includes a great clarinet sound, excellent keyboards, guitars, bass and everything, the vocals are in Italian (i say this because they released the same album but with English lyrics) so if you like Italian language you will be caught in this carrousel of music, ther is no better track to open this album than this.

"Fase" has a change in the melody and the style, it reminds me a bit of Jethro Tull due to the guitars and bluesy style in the beginning, then the song turns into to a jazz oriented piece, having as well a symphonic sound on it, let me tell you that this is an instrumental song where we can appreciate the excellent musicians involved in this band, saxophone and flute are also featured here, brilliant!

"Al Mancato Completamento di una Farfalla" is the third song, this time it starts softer with a classic guitar, but thenthe flute gives it a feeling that may remind you again to Jethro Tull but in their soft side, then the vocals appear and give to it that Italian sound, then the songs changes to a faster tempo led by keyboards.

"Elzeviro" is the fourth masterpiece inside a masterpiece, again it starts a bit soft but then changes to a faster tempo, the musicianship again is excellent there are some guitar riffs that will remind you to the best guitarists from your book, this is probably one of the best songs of this album.

"Mercanti di Pazzie" has a mood of peace which is noticeable since the beginning due to the harp and then the vocals, it is a beautiful melody at the middle of the album that will lead us to the best moments.

"Antiche Conclusioni Nerge" starts with a bombastic sound, provoking a kind of happy mood, of course it changes later, some calmed moments, some heavier moments with magnific keyboards and bass this is a magnific piece, which actually would be the last one of the album if it didn`t have the extra tracks, the saxophone at the middle of this song is also excellent. So the review of the original Maxophone album would end here, of course giving to this gem 5 stars.

But i will also talk about the extra tracks which are "Il Fischio del Vapore" and "Cono di Gelato" , the first one is a nice melody with a folkish style, flutes and soft vocals, the song itself is great but i can see that this was not in the original release, there is a difference noticeable, the second extra track is another nice melody with flute and acoustic guitar, then the piano appears nad gives to it a relaxing atmosphere.

Sometimes is not easy to review your favorite albums, but when you have the courage to do it you feel very pleased, Maxophone deserves more attention, it is a must have for Italian prog fans, and even for general prog rock lovers, please listen to it, and enjoy it.

Of course the final grade is 5 stars, masterpiece!!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#152340)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars Another one shot wonder from the glory days of Italian progressive back in 1975, Maxophone had released an English language version as well but not faring as well as their pals PFM whose Photos of Ghosts went around the world, together with follow up "The World became the World". The original language album is a prog monument without being an overt masterpiece inculcating clarinet, flute, saxes, French horn, trumpet, various strings, harp and vibes to the usual gt/k/b/dr lineup. While symphonics dictate the overall feel, there are massive doses of jazz, experimental and blues, with evident hints at early King Crimson's use of the wind instruments as if Mel Collins was a major inspiration. The guitar plays a strong role, fuzzy yet intricate as on the instrumental "Fase" which incorporates even some Canterbury fare into the mix. As usual with Italian prog groups, the fat bass and slick drumming are irreproachable, while the keyboards limit synthesizer use, preferring e-piano, grand piano and some oft rousing organ. The group choir work is astounding, most evident on the supremely romantic "Al Mancato.", flush with assorted medievalisms that wink at "Gentile" Giant, throwing in some exquisite organ to boot. "Elzeviro" is somewhat darker, more political fare with some musical twists and sudden turns that remind of the Shulmans again, proposing a ragingly tortuous guitar solo and some sultry vocal passages. A delicate horn outro takes this to the bank. Another contrast, the gorgeous "Mercanti di Pazzie" is a vocal exercise with an immense melody where fragility rules, vibraphones and flutes play together as if to "Promenade the Puzzle", a cascading piece that is eerily expressive. The finale "Antiche Conclusioni Negre" is a brass-led piece where bombastic themes are countered by more lush vocalizations. Big fat sax solo keeps this firmly in line with some of the better Italo-prog releases, with an exquisite "gospel" ending that leaves a positive feeling. Of the 2 bonus tracks, the first one is rather pleasing and the second is an ice cream cone filler. Not in the top tier of their countries representatives (PFM/Banco/Goblin/Il Volo/Le Orme etc.) but most definitely worthy of being awarded room in a prog collection. 4 maxed phones.

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#163594)
Posted Sunday, March 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars. The bands I see MAXAPHONE compared to the most are PFM and LOCANDA DELLE FATE. GENESIS is mentioned a lot too, mostly I think because one of the two vocalists does sound like Peter Gabriel. I'm amazed at the way these guys change gears so fast during a song, and the different styles of music they play too. I do feel that the album loses steam towards the end. In fact the last two tracks really do little for me. The first six songs though are very impressive, and for those alone this is a 4 star record in my opinion.

"C'e Un Paese Al Mondo" opens with piano before guitar and a full sound arrives before a minute.This sounds incredible ! Especially the guitar. It changes to a GENESIS flavour as it calms down, then those Gabriel-like vocals come in with piano. Another change 3 1/2 minutes in as bass and flute lead the way.The organ and guitar a minute later sound fantastic but it's brief. Vocals are back 5 1/2 minutes in. Great sound. "Fase" opens with a nice guitar/drum intro. It changes after a minute but it still sounds really good. Sax then comes in. Guitar is back. Nice bass lines. Vibraphone 3 minutes in. Guitar is back after 4 minutes. Nice. Flute 6 minutes in. This song is constantly changing. "Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla" opens with acoustic guitar, flute joins in and then vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. Beautiful sound. Horns are added. Some dirty organ before 4 minutes as vocals and sound gets fuller. Fantastic section !

"Elzeviro" opens with vocals and organ. The tempo picks up when the vocals stop after 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound.Vocals are back before 3 minutes. Guitar after 3 1/2 minutes. Vocals and organ are powerful after 5 1/2 minutes. "Mercanti Di Pazzie" opens with some harp. Light vocals join in. A change before 2 minutes as flute, vibraphone then a good beat takes over with vocals. Original melody is back. A relaxed section ends it. "Antiche Conclusioni Negre" is uptempo to open as horns and drums lead the way. Piano then organ make their presence felt. A calm before 2 minutes as vocals and piano take over. I like the sax / organ section before 5 minutes. Organ 7 minutes in with vocals ends it. "Il Fiscio Del Vapore" is a fairly mellow song. It fuller sounding 3 1/2 minutes in. "Cono Di Gelato" opens with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. It's slower paced and I just can't get into it. Guitar ends it.

For me the last two songs reduces this to barely 4 stars, but it's easy enough to listen to the first six songs only. P.S. I just got a message from Tom Ozric who informed me that the last two songs are actually bonus tracks. So this is definitely a solid 4 to 4.5 album, but no Tom i'm not giving it a 5 as you suggested. Haha.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#180832)
Posted Monday, August 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars MAXOPHONE - Maxophone

Simply: what an album! I love it. This is so full of life, joy and melody. Maxophone homonymous album is another lost gem of the prolific era of the Italian prog; a truly masterpiece. I can go on and on with words trying to describe the beauty I find in this record. So let me tell you my opinion over this amazing album.

Overall, I believe this album is a little bit jazzier, but definitively has the sounds and nuances to fit perfectly into the symphonic sound and of course, a marvelous progressive sound.

1. C'e un paese al mondo.

This is the song. This is what is all about the beauty in this genre. A piano intro, seconds by the electric guitar and drums to change the mood again with the participation of the great vocals of the Italian singer to go to a middle part full of joy, fun and overwhelmingly beautiful played by that clarinet that absorbs me, and draws a smile in my face, to keep up the sound of the electrical guitar into a chorus proclaiming "a walk to the world, that measures an enormousness." Beautiful, beautiful song.

2. Fase

Here, Maxophone changes the mood to an instrumental song, more focused in a jazzier sound but plenty of changes and enjoyable harmonies. We can enjoy here the saxophone, keyboards, electric guitar (which realises a splendid job) to finish with a beautiful piece of transverse flute. Believe me, the arrangements are one of the greatest. Magical sound.

3. Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla.

Once again, the beautiful sound of the flute, delivers the first notes of the song, which are lovely. Some a-capella lyrics after that, accompanied only by the flute! What a flute! I love its sound in the background! Then things turn over and change into a more melodic mood filled by this impressive keyboard that dominates the song all along. Electric Guitars, Italian lyrics, saxophone, super organ, and everything is glued marvelously. The song fades out to calmness, like the beginning of the song.

4. Elzeviro

Two minutes of Italian lyrics once again followed by brilliant saxophones and the beautiful mellotron (?) in the background. This is the awesome part, when things change direction and flows with the chords of that electrical guitar, changing tempos with the melodic voice of these Italian guys in the center of the song. A terrific song. What else can I say? The end: very pleasing.

5. Mercanti di Pazzie.

Ahh. The harp, what a soft sound! And the mellow voice of the singer. Pleasant flute and organ makes this song the delicate and slowest track, but not for that less valuable: a beautiful haven of the flashy mellotron (showing why it's the king of the gender), being played so subtle and wonderful. This is a very enjoyable track for sure. 6. Antiche Conclusione Negre.

Wow! This has to be one of my favorite tracks (if I can pick a favorite one). A calm sound at first to burst into this beautiful mellotron and even horns, those sounding gloriously, this song different from the above, shows the rock-style of Maxophone, even in a way that the sound feels for me dramatic (maybe for the way it sounds the singing and of course that energetic, breathtaking and spectacular saxophone!). The end changes to sound more like a church organ and kind of a gospel chorus (perhaps, not very accurate, but it reminds me that at first impression) Splendid song, with those jazzy hints, and it just makes me happy, the entire song is a wonderful piece. Very good song to closing the album.

7. Il Fischio del Vapore.

This extra track, instead of depreciate the album, raises its value. This track is extraordinary. We have more of the mellotron, with those unique voices. I love that riff guitar with those tambourines. It is a marvelous song, great drumming, and splendid mellotron throughout the song. Ten points to this song. I just don't know why they didn't release with the original album; such a great work definitively deserves a space in this disc.

8. Cono di Gelato.

For many time I despite this song not because was bad, but because of I was in ecstasy finishing 'il fischio.' that I didn't pay attention to the last song, but actually Cono di gelato is a very fine and enjoyable work that I think is the tribute to the jazz music and the thanks for the influence. Lovely track.

It is so bad that this band finished their great career so soon. This album competes with any prog masterpiece from the Italian side with no doubt.

But here we are, I honor them and show them respect they deserve for creating an album that is so unique and wonderful, and for helping me to develop my love to this genre. And I can say that Maxophone's album is the best album for me, just after another wonderful piece that I need to review.

No hesitation: five stars.

A progposito: RSDMCG

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Send comments to progaddict_salvatore (BETA) | Report this review (#181039)
Posted Friday, August 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Recently I could watch my one shot loved band Maxophone on DVD "From Cocoon to Butterfly". It presents 4 tracks studio performances recorded in 1975 with perfect image and sound production. Wish I these forgotten heroes had a long discography...(as Locanda delle Fate, Il Balleto di Bronzo, Racomandata Ricevuta Ritorno, Semiramis, Rusticelli Bordini and most of that one shot italian bands )... But let me tell you about one of my vinyl collection prides : the 1975 english version of Maxophone (from PAUSA label ) with its fantastic fold open cover. Of course I also have the italian sung version on cd. Generally I use to prefer native languange for non english speaking bands. For example I love hungarian singing in East "Huség" and "Jatekok"; the polish singing in all SBB albuns; the spanish singing in BUBU "anabelas"; I prefer a million times the italian version of Le Orme "Felona e Sorona" than the english one (even if the lyrics are signed for not less than VDGG´s Peter Hammill). But in Maxophone case, I love both english and italian lyrics version. To my ears Maxophone in english is so convincing as Acqua Fragile "Mass Media Stars" if you permit me to compare. Coming back to the DVD, what a hapiness to see nowadays all band members in nice interviews and joined to perforn "Mercanti di pazzie", really a fantastic revival of the unrecognized heroes. I´d like to put more reviews at progarchives as I did at the time of the pioneer reviews site PROGNET (do you remember ?). But I have a backbone problem and must avoid typing. I thank Erik and all you progheads for supporting this wonderfully administrated site.

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Send comments to Prog_Veteran (BETA) | Report this review (#181153)
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A heavy saxophone presence somewhere in between Mel Collins and Elton Dean...at times _The Jaxon_(of Van Der Graaf Generator). Still a _second string_ band in the Italian Progressive Rock genre, but one of the better examples of one-shot bands. The vocalist seems to gel with the arrangements making him part of the composition rather than an afterthought. I haven't heard the English version, but apparently Peter Hammill translated the lyrics. One might also hear a Van Der Graaf Generator influence in Maxophone's music, but not overtly so. The guitarist reminds me a little of Gary Green from Gentle Giant when it comes to soloing. Sort of a blues/rock prog. delivery. Instrumental sections are very reminiscent of early period King Crimson, most notably the jazzy sections a la Lizard or In The Wake Of Poseidon. Maybe a little of Manfred Mann's Chapter Three to boot! Recommended, but nothing essential.

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#196561)
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Moderator / Psych / Avant / Neo Teams
5 stars This is masterpiece. Whatever anyone says, I should conclude this be masterpiece. :)

I consider the product should be a mass of Italian progressive rock. The first time I heard it, I'm very amazed that Maxophone could do many varieties of play. Their sound is sometimes lyrical, sometimes powerful, sometimes loud, and sometimes delicate. What I can say is they have Italian sentimentalism of music or rock. With listening to each song we can feel their identity enough. I have heard the 4th track in English version (Six against one?) and this version could sound good rather than strange. I suppose they could sing dramatically in English too and their English lyrics were absorbed in the story of album well. At any rate, I'm sure I can recommend this work for beginners of Italian progressive rock. If you wanna feel and understand the Italian-prog world easily and smoothly...

I can't say anything more. Listen to it, please.

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Send comments to DamoXt7942 (BETA) | Report this review (#197290)
Posted Monday, January 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's such a shame that 'Maxophone' only released one album. They're one of the best Italian prog bands I've heard. I listened to this while cycling to work in the sunshine last week and have come to the conclusion that it's pretty damn good. It's well recorded and there are some truly beautiful moments on it. The vocals are kept to a minimum and there's plenty of variety of sounds from track to track. A brilliant little album from one of the lesser well known Italian acts on this website.

Oh, and for people like me who thought that Maurizio Bianchini who plays trumpets, horns and vibraphones on this recording was the same guy from the 80's noise band M.B and one time friend of Whitehouse - you're wrong. It's not the same bloke.

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Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#215174)
Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The flow of Prog Rock of Italy that multiplied at the time of 1973 from especially 1972 and had carried everything before one the market was exactly a state at the season. The band with high various qualities was contributing about the market and the chart. And, it is also true that various bands accomplished a good revolution to correspond to the situation. However, there might have been what dissolution and the activity are stopped through necessity in the situation in which the band accomplished the revolution and evolution for a fact, too. It is also true to have contained the element concerning the situation besides groping for the problem, the opinion, and the directionality that various bands had of course.

It was likely to have begun to rush into at time when the state of saturation concerning the market was faced with the activity of various bands in the latter half of the 70's. Various situations might have come in succession musical and generally at the time of 1975 of which Maxophone debuted. Generally, situation in which business deteriorates. Or, it is a tendency to the reduction concerning the production of LP at time when the situation politically becomes unstable. And, it is partial to the market in the main current of Single Cut. And, it aims at music to consider the sphere in English. The market might also have faced the time of the revolution as well as music on the boundary of 1975. It is said that the work of promotion by label by which the expectation and the band to the music character that this Maxophone did in the situation belonged was done well.

Maxophone announced "Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla/C'e Un Paese Al Mondo" of the single at the same time as announcing this album in 1975. Produttori Associati that derived from Ricordi gave the chance of large-scale promotion for Maxophone. The flow that progressed their music from the part concerning the market of the home country worldwide might have been done as well as the activity of various bands. The fact from which the album with the content of lyrics in English in Germany and the United States, etc. was produced will have been exactly appearance of the expectation for Maxophone.

There might basically be a flow of symphonic as a music character that Maxophone did. It is indeed ..Music including diversity.. finished in this done performance on four guests Player in addition to. six members howeverThe sound is enhanced with the wind instrument as a point that should make a special mention. And, the establishment of the sound by Horn might be valuable. And, familiar work about Banco and Odissea Sandro Colombini has been appointed as Producer of this album. It is said that the album of Maxophone contributed to sales for the market of Prog Rock of Italy to some degree though it is time with the revolution in the market and the age. And, the point that should make a special mention will include the point related also to work besides the activity of Maxophone as for the member of the band. The member of Maxophone contributed to "Gente Cosi" that Corrado Castellari had announced in 1975 by the performance. Or, Roberto Giuliani and Alberto Ravasini participated in "Volando" of I Dik Dik as work of the arrangement. In the flow of the situation and the change in the music in the 70's, the activity that Maxophone had done though it was a situation in which the flow of legitimate Prog Rock declined gradually in the age might have been exactly offering a good contribution and valuable music.

"C'e Un Paese Al Mondo" dashes from a beautiful piano melody attended with an intense guitar and the rhythm. The part of legitimate Prog Rock of Italy has been established because of the sound of Horn. Their originality is concealed here. A good song is developed attended with the obbligati of the wind instrument. And, their good originality is expressed as for the part that shifts from elements of a few Jazz to a grand melody. The melody and the chorus who has expression of feelings will indeed call impression.

"Fase" starts by Riff of an aggressive guitar. However, the sound and development with the expression of feelings included overall might be splendid. The line of the wind instrument and Bass pulls ensemble of the band. The part of Solo of Sax and the sound of the organ also decide the impression of the tune. It develops into a better flow though the tune returns from Solo of the vibraphone to the theme. The flow developed attended with the sound of Horn with expression of feelings and good Bass might be splendid. The impression with good sound of the flute is given.

As for "Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla", a beautiful arpeggio of an acoustic guitar and the theme of the flute are impressive. Part of chorus who made good use of falsetto. Progress of original Chord that is. A beautiful chorus and the flute contribute to the tune. And, the tune continues the quality and twines the dash feeling. The arrangement and the progress of Chord are complete.

A good song for the melody of a grand keyboard twines round "Elzeviro". The development of good Chord is expressed while repeating the rhythm of five and the rhythm of six. The organ continues the rhythm of five as it is and keeps the dash feeling. The progress of good Chord receives the top with the chorus attended with an intense part. Development and the decision to give width to the impression of the tune while introducing the melody with complete expression of feelings might be splendid.

As for "Mercanti Di Pazzie", the melody and the chorus of a beautiful harp are impressive. A high-quality melody and expression of feelings are continued. And, it arranges it of the intermittent development. Melody of gentle POP. Progressing an original tune that is might be their good parts. The flow with the anacatesthesia and a grand melody and the arrangement are splendid.

The theme of "Antiche Conclusioni Negre" with the wind instrument is impressive. The melody developed as the line of Bass and the part with the organ twining is complete. The part done attended with the rhythm of six shifts to a complete melody of Horn. Chorus and song. And, the progress of Chord with expression of feelings means the success in a good part and the arrangement of the music character of Maxophone. Arrangement to introduce sound with diversity and grand sound. The good element that the band of Prog Rock of Italy did is blocked enough and has been digested. The flow that reaches the peak from Solo of Sax completely is decided by the theme visited again. And, the hymn might surely have shown the listener the existence of Maxophone.

The music that this Maxophone did to the flow at time when the state of the revolution and saturation is gradually faced in the 70's might succeed as a band that exactly takes an element of various music and a legitimate part well. It is necessary to be acknowledged as a band that especially offers the music of fine quality in the music of Prog Rock of various Italy. One light is here.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#259364)
Posted Monday, January 04, 2010 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars As a passionate fan of Italian prog, it is always a pleasure to listen to these fine vocal harmonies, good keys developments and some jazzy fantasy as well. These elements are all featured in the opening track "C' Č Un Paese Al Mondo".

Obscure, hard to reach, but pleasant overall. Italian symph as we can expect I guess? Genuine Italian music, I mean?

The complexity of several songs are with no doubt reminding me some of a KC affair. But "Maxophone" is not the first band to share similarities with this giant. I reckon that some tracks are too loose to sound great. Too many hesitations, too many repetitions: little enthusiasm globally. That's what I feel.

Passion and jazzy items are well performed and songs as "Mancato Compleanno?" or "Elzeviro" surely deserve your attention. But you should bear in mind that they are not that close of the origin of the great Italian genre we all love.

There is of course no question about the skills of the musicians (but this is only a standard I guess for professionals). Guitar harmonies, vocal skills, some fine "Trespass" feel are all more than welcome like during "Mercanti Di Pazzie".

I will be less generous in my rating than the majority of my fellow reviewers. The main reason being that this album shares too many jazz influences ("Antiche Conclusioni Negrethan") than true Italian symph prog ones.

This is a good album. Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#261420)
Posted Monday, January 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Franco Doesn't Get to Go to Hollywood

It's ironic that the lack of global success enjoyed by RPI has cemented its demarcated status as a genre. Even it's most travelled missionaries PFM pined to retreat to within its borders when international acclaim beckoned circa Photos of Ghosts and their subsequent volte-face into fusion muzak after relocating to the USA still now appears baffling. There is surely just as valid a case for say, South American prog to be given its own sub genre as RPI, after all, both reflect the indigenous music and instrumentation of their traditional cultures plus both have a recognisable flavour unique to that locale. Say what you like about Italians, but they do appear to be incredibly persuasive lobbyists.

It also seems borderline perverse that this album is often criticised for lacking the signature calling cards of the genre i.e. the very dearth of RPI characteristics commented on by previous reviewers would indicate to me that it actually had global potential which makes such misgivings reek of the parochialism of localised aesthetics. (If I like someone, I don't ask for a sliver of their DNA, do you?) Which all begs the rhetorical question: Did RPI really want to be successful on the bigger stage?

Maxophone probably represents one of the most transparently 'international' sounding records to have ever come out of Italy and apart from being the clear leader in a field full of excellent competition (PFM, Banco, Le Orme) also blows Yes, Genesis, Camel, Harmonium and Focus etc clean out of the water. Whether the band could have sustained this level of brilliance on a lengthy career is of course a moot point, but let's not quibble about what didn't happen and instead just celebrate a masterpiece that is on a par with any of symphonic prog and RPI's ageing sacred cows.Those who perish early usually don't get the chance to become the bloated corpses in the swimming pool so just count your blessings and accede to the old adage that 'those whom the gods love die young'.

They rather cheekily quote wholesale and verbatim the brass chorale interlude from the 2nd movement of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra on the opening track C'e un faese al mundo with the exquisite wind and reeds combining for a sustained oceanic moment of shimmering glacial calm. From such stately grandeur via tongue in cheek swung jazz to visceral rock and astringent classical in under 7 minutes and back home in time for tea. You want jam on it ? The beautiful but still inconsolably desolate piano of the intro carries a whiff of Emerson circa The Endless Enigma (that's a reference point, not a comparison OK?)

When it comes to labels, although everyone and their pet Yak knows what is indicated by 'Symphonic Prog', the appellation suffers the same flaw as that of 'near miss' i.e we really mean 'near hit'. Similarly, there are remarkably few prog bands with even a vestige of formal symphonic writing or instrumentation in their output and together with say, The Enid, Maxophone are also conspicuous by successfully assimilating orchestral sources like trumpet, clarinet, vibraphone, flute and sax to that of prog's standard issue electronic arsenal.

Who needs piercings when like Alberto Ravasini you are born with golden tonsils ? On Elzeviro, this critter's voice is like the sound of rich gravy being poured from a Midas jug. (For those resistant or even allergic to gravy, substitute something erm......runny and yummy right ?)

The musicianship is unimpeachable throughout but as I alluded to earlier, despite their clear virtuosity, all the players are more concerned with creating a whole that is greater than the sum of their individual parts, so no auto-erotic pyrotechnics here, just the aim of an ever changing and evolving accompaniment that is designed to enhance, complement and develop the melodic themes. There are very few stylistic avenues left unexplored on Maxophone and the lads sound entirely at ease with jazz, blues, rock, classical, folk and several points in-between of their own fresh coinage.

Check that disorienting moment in Al Mancato Compleanno di una farfalla when the multi tracked vocal layers lurch unannounced into harmonic territory unknown to this rodent even in the most acerbic and thrillingly jarring works of the classical avant garde. It's a truly spooky episode that illustrates to great effect how dissonance can only achieve its aim if used sparingly and thus preserve its capacity to shock. (Think of Billy Connolly: if you swear all the time the audience gets numb to it until eventually they can't even hear it) The Hammond organ solo that follows is drier and dirtier than a Legionnaire's socks and is one of those passages you just wish could last forever. (ELP's Tarkus is perhaps a reference point in places)

All the redemptive power of music is abundantly here in truckloads, and there are several moments on this wonderful record that reduce your habitually feisty reviewer to girly quaking sobs. Like all great art it has the ability to freeze time for the duration of its presence in our midst and leaves the listener cleansed and healed thereafter. (Yes I know, I'm much better at kicking than cuddling - just ask Mrs L)

For those who don't give an airborne fig what the museum curators plaque says beneath the exhibits, this album is not RPI, Symphonic Prog, extreme/tech polka, progressive skiffle or death calypso. It's just great music.

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#266041)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars I've heard few RPI bands from this era. And I have to say that they are pleased me a lot, I felt (and am feeling when listening Maxophone too) like charmed, in enchanted forest of sweet symphony, this beautiful celebration of life and what is so interesting and wonderful about it, positive things, positive thinking, positive way of living, embracing the good and rejecting the bad.

There are of course differences between these bands, albums, mostly in vocals, their approach to the music they create, but more or less, they all are high class music. It must have been great to live in Italy back then (not sure how good it is today, so I do not predict).

It's unique experience, but I don't feel like I can write more, I would be just repeating myself.

4(+), if you want to be what this is about, go for it, I can just recommend it.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#279265)
Posted Saturday, April 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fantastic, brilliant and beautiful are insufficient adjectives to illustrate my impressions about MAXOPHONE !!! With a significant influence of another two Italians bands - P F M & Campo di Marte- and something for Gentle Giant ( especially on track 4 and track 9) without to be a clone. Is very hard to detach some point, because the disk is perfect !!! Not only the musicians are excellents and the music are stunning in some moments and very bucolic in others (due to the contrast created by the use of a energetic eletric guitar/keyboards harmony and riffs and a very unquiet bass/drums duets in opposition of the use from wind instruments like flutes, horns, trumpets and saxophones. However, in spite of the use of a countless soloist intruments the equalization is too perfect, in form that all of instruments are perfectly audible. Maybe the only detach which I can make is the very beautiful vocals in this albun ( fact which is a great problem in some Italian bands ). my rate is 5 stars !!!

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Send comments to maryes (BETA) | Report this review (#282950)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Just another Italian prog band that showed hints of potential to eventually creative a progressive rock masterpiece but couldn't get past the first album. I can hear why some view this as a masterpiece, because there are a number of very good sequences, on par with the PFMs and Le Orme's of this world. On the other hand, this album can be wildly consistent between songs, and even within songs.

Take Elzeviro, for example. It's largely a pleasant but forgettable song. However, the brief instrumental break is fantastic, particularly when the guitar crashes in. Maxophone really show their potential in spots like this. Also, they have a unique sound when compared with other Italian prog bands because of jazz rock instrumentation and playing style. These aren't just backing instruments to add Chicago-style punch to the guitar solos and verse and chorus, but instead fill the album with some great solos (i.e., the sax solo on Antiche Conclusioni Negre) background sounds (i.e., the horn blatts throughout). Fun stuff!

My favorite is probably the instrumental Fase, which morphs between straight prog, jazz and even some funk rock. Mondo and Antiche are also highlights. Unfortunately for me, most of the songs are not consistent throughout, such as the vocal lines that conclude Antiche or the slow-downs in Mondo. These things could be tightened up, and I think they would have if Maxophone had put out later albums.

A solid album showing a band with plenty of potential in spots, but inconsistent and too often simply decent. I think it makes a nice contribution to fill out an Italian prog collection, but it wouldn't be in my top 10 of the genre.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#286204)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
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.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#297521)
Posted Sunday, September 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many words has been written about this album by far smarter persons than myself. Hence, I will be pretty brief in my own review.

It is no doubts that this band has had a few listening sessions to Genesis first six albums. A couple of jazz and Italian folk music records must also have found their way to a record player in the vicinity of their ears. The result is this album.

Maxophone's take on RPI is therefore a pretty sound one. It has all the right ingredients. That include some very good vocals, a both rampant and a pastoral use of the tangents and some superb guitar works. Add the usual excellent bass and drums to the mix and you get Maxophone. The lyrics is in Italian and that adds the right spices to this album. This album is a lush RPI album, in other words.

This album takes time to warm up my heart strings to the right temperature. I did not get it at all during the first four-five listening sessions. But I started to get it and the melodies started to make sense in a nonsensical way. Hence, I now really love this album. It does not have any stand out tracks though. But many of the melody lines here are really superb. And so is this album in general. This is another great RPI album, well worth the effort.

4 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#299846)
Posted Monday, September 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Maxophone is a second-generation Italian prog band that made - in true RPI fashion - just one album before collapsing. They are often compared to Locanda Della Fate and PFM, two popular references that will attract most listeners but that made me a bit suspicious as I'm not much of a fan of either of those.

The RPI days of innovation are largely behind but I still find the band to be adventurous and organic enough to be of interest. The band incorporates their many influences quite effectively and brings a cohesive bland of rock, sympho, madrigals, jazz and even music-theater. As an example, I find it quite impressive how they manage to make a capricious song like Fase sound so fluent and natural. Easily my favorite here by the way.

The band employs different vocal styles, sometimes reminiscent of Le Orme, sometimes of Phil Collins doing the Gabriel classics, sometimes of PFM. Depending on the style they can be a bit mellow and schoolboy-ish and it will be no surprise that I only dig the parts sung by the more ... eh 'mature' vocalist. But judging from the popularity of PFM this won't be a problem for most listeners.

It's not easy to reach a conclusion. I can understand why so many people love this album - even to the extent of calling it a masterpiece - but I can enjoy it only partially: loving the playing quite a lot, the vocals a whole lot less, and the compositions somewhere in the middle.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#300209)
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Another example of the musical richness that characterizes Italian progressive rock, this 1976 self-titled affair is a wonderfully-diverse collection featuring a uniquely original style moulded around the band's obvious love of Genesis, Yes and King Crimson. Though 'Maxophone' has been described in some quarters as a symphonic album, it is in actual fact extremely difficult to classify, such is the breadth of sounds and styles on offer, with a multitude of instruments contributing to an opulent sonic cornucopia that counts lush keyboard passages, electric guitar-shredding and all kinds of woodwind, percussion and brass effects amongst it's battery of tricks. Opening track 'Ce Un Paese Al Mondo' reflects this semi-theatrical approach perfectly, flitting between jocular, music-hall style neo-classical harmonies and dense, multi-layered symphonic prog with reckless abandon before settling down into a beautifully-orchestrated synth-and-keyboard finale that brings to mind the ethereal beauty of fellow Italian proggers PFM. Then, as if to hammer home their point, Maxophone leap head first into the electric, Led Zep-style jazz-scaled rock of the seven-minute long opus 'Fase', which showcases guitarist Roberto Giuliani's dextrous, quicksilver finger-picking. Both these songs illustrate just what an outstanding album 'Maxophone' is, which makes the fact that it would be their one and only studio album incredibly difficult to fathom. Whatever the reason, Maxophone have at least left behind this rewarding slice of Italian prog, which must surely rank alongside the likes of PFM's 'Per Un Amico' and Le Orme's 'Felona E Sorona' as one of the key progressive texts from mid- seventies Italy. Fans of the Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin and Genesis should revel in this classic album. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#303672)
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The self-titled album the band Maxophone (and so far, its only if you disregard the English version it released a year later) is certainly one of the greatest albums ever RPI lançados.Full of influencse,excitement and virtuosity, this is an album worth hearing.

There are influences mainly from the PFM and Banco del Soccorso Muttu, even Pink Floyd (at least I found). Maxophone however has its own sound, and they are quick to show that veio.Minha loved is the last, "Antiche Conclusioni Nergis "with great vocals and an excellent saxophone that converges to a seemingly cacophonous end, but we are presented with an anti-climax, where the voices and create a final sejuntam wonderful.

Great album, worthy of 4 stars.

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#411883)
Posted Sunday, March 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Man, this is depressing. It always is whenever such a great band only manages to make one album. Maxophone's lonely self-titled debut album is RPI at its creative best. This whole disc seems to grab at influences from all around, but manages to keep its own original sound. I'm detecting hints of early Yes, some Hendrix, a dash of King Crimson, and a whole lot of Italian flair.

I'm not really sure how to start a review on such a good album, and it's been a while since I've reviewed such an eclectic album. I'll just dive in. "C'č Un Paese Al Mondo" starts with soothing piano that sounds almost in the vein of an A. Scriabin composition, but fuzzy and aggressive guitars kick in that automatically make me think of Locanda Delle Fate, followed by beautifully powerful vocals and an almost ragtimey passage, followed by an A. Copland type horn passage, ending with a passage that sounds like it could've been from Tales from Topographic Oceans. Such a mouthful, and an earful. I won't bother going into all the tracks, because they'll all be seemingly random collections of fragmented sentences. But one of the real standouts is the second track, "Fase", which I get a real Buenos-Aires-meets-Goblin kind of feel from.

Really, this whole album is super high quality RPI of a very eclectic variety. I've listened to quite a bit of the RPI bands on this site, and none of them have gripped me by the brain like this album has. There's so much going on here that anyone would be able to find something positive about it. The only reason anyone wouldn't like this album is if they have a biased grudge against anything amazing.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#438246)
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the more original "one album wonder" bands from the RPI boom - that is to say, the Genesis sound from the Trespass era isn't their primary inspiration - Maxophone shift from dark King Crimson-ish realms to classical/operatic majesty to brief moments of pastoral beauty with an adeptness that is a joy to behold. Forget the two bonus tracks, which are from a rather more commercial and simplistic single the band released the year after putting this one out (I don't include such things in my ratings anyway), this album is a prog symphony from the opening notes of C'č Un Paese Al Mondo to the majestic choral outro to Antiche Conclusioni Nerge. Those who are exploring the RPI scene should mark Maxophone out as a stop on their prog tour of Italy.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#537311)
Posted Thursday, September 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Maxophone: Maxophone [1975]

Rating: 7/10

Italian prog is known for its "one-album wonders"; throughout the 70s, many RPI bands released a single album and called it quits soon afterward. I don't know why this was such a common trend, considering that progressive-rock was quite popular in Italy during the decade. Regardless, this pattern produced many gems. Maxophone's sole album is a superb and adventurous piece of work. Like many Italian groups, Maxophone approached their music in an eclectic manner, combining jazz-rock, symph-prog, hard-rock, and folk to create a consistently interesting melting pot of ideas. This strange melding of PFM and Zappa manages to sound completely natural, making for an exciting and memorable one-off effort.

"C'e Un Paese Al Mondo" begins with some fantastic jazzy piano, transitioning into heavy symphonic rock with light vocals. The track breaks down into unorthodox swing-jazz about halfway through, creating one of the most exciting pieces on the album. "Fase" is an absolutely phenomenal instrumental that blends various styles. The ripping vibraphone solo is especially awesome. "Al Moncato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla" is a light pastoral piece ala PFM. "Elzeviro" is one of the less interesting pieces here; the vocals sound a bit off. Still, there's plenty of exciting instrumentation to be found. "Mercanti Di Pazzie" is a slow-paced piece with pretty acoustic guitar and interesting reeds. "Antiche Conclusioni Negre" is a bombastic slice of Zappaesque big-band rock. This is another standout track. The largely acoustic "Il Fischio Del Vapore" features the best vocal work on the album. The Moog solo at the end is also worth noting. "Cono Di Gelato" is a soft closing piece that ends the album with beautiful vocals and guitar.

Maxophone's sole album is an excellent piece of work that successfully amalgamates various influences and styles into a cohesive whole. However, I don't consider this a masterpiece. Some of the tracks drag on slightly, and the best ideas are not carried through throughout the album's entire duration. Regardless, this is a fantastic album with incredible diverse musicianship and memorable composition. This certainly isn't the greatest thing to come out of Italy in the 70s, but any RPI fan will find much to enjoy here.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#602464)
Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album became one of my favorites from the first time I heard it. I love it and I recomend it

It opens with "C' e Un Paese al Mondo" (5.00 out of 5.00). A wonderful song which shows how eclectic the band can be. The best part of this song is when it takes a break into a more jazzy form, wich sounds funny and clownish with an almost umpredictable bass work. Then all became beautifully symphonic in a dense form with Italians choruses, I was about to cry.

"Fase" (3.50 out of 5.00) Is the instrumental song of the album. It starts very heavy, being highly influenced by Gentle Giant later. The song ends heavily again.

"Al Mancato Compleanno di Una Faffalla" (4.25 out of 5.00) This is the folk song in the album, with beautiful flutes that reminds me of Jethro Tull but in a more sophisticated form. The vocal lines are good with Italian words that fits perfectly. Then it became in a worthily progressive song. Very Good

"Elzeverio" (2.50 out of 5.00) is my least favorite, but that doesn`t mean it`s a bad song. Now is when I realize that the man who`s starts singin` reminds me of Derek Shulman (Gentle Giant).

"Mercanti di Pazzie" (4.75 out of 5.00) Sounds influenced by both: Gentle Giant and Jethro Tull. Good Song and I want to emphasize that the last couple of minutes are absolutely brilliant, in fact, is the best part of this song and one of the best moments of the whole album.

As well as the album opens with a "5.00 out of 5.00" song, it closes with a song with the same rating IMO.

"Antiche Conclusioni Negre" (5.00 out of 5.00): Starts very festive with well played saxophones, but then, surprisingly, it all goes melancholic, when that horn starts to sounds I feel my eyes almost wet. Then, After an outstanding Italian vocal lines (that fits perfectly again) it starts to madurate again, just to reach the festivity which started with. A song that makes me feel Proud, I don`t know why.

There are good bass, guitars, organ, horns, flutes and saxophones. All well played But i`m not so sure about the vocals, although I have enjoyed.

Certainly, Maxophone were influenced by Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull and other acts by the time of the recording of this album, but I feel myself satisfied sayin`that at the same time they offered their own flavor.

4.00 Stars well received

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Send comments to raul_siberian (BETA) | Report this review (#747442)
Posted Wednesday, May 02, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you like prog and just discovered this whole world of prog from this website, Maxophone is perfect for you. A masterpiece is all that can be said about this album. The best 'one-hit-wonder' a band ever produced, in my opinion.

It's obvious once hearing the album that it's pure eclectic, and if you're a King Crimson fan, you're in for a big treat. This album combines nearly every possible prog sub-genre that you can think of. Hints of Space (for the most part in Antiche Conclusioni Negre), Electronic, Heavy (heavy guitar), Symphonic (plenty of that) and you can guess what else. Just look at the sub-genres!

Talking about each individual track would lessen the brilliance of every song, so I'll leave it at "every song sounds completely different from the next". Few albums contain this, and that's why this remains as one of my favorite albums of all time. There's multiple melodies throughout the song so you're never bored, but never lost in an array of random notes. It's complex, but not too complex to muddle the melody. There's a large set of instruments to captivate what you're listening to and transform that piece into an unheard-before beauty. The perfect balance.

I find it amazing that they could come up with such a variety of melodies, sounds, and vocals that set it apart from any other band. This here is a one of a kind; a true 'one-hit-wonder'. This is my opinion, but everyone should try this album out and judge for themselves. It took me about 20 listens to get around to this album, believe it or not. But each time I listened to the full album, I found it becoming better and better to my ears (which happens to many albums). This turned into an addiction, every week I had to listen. Once Antiche Conclusioni Negre you think 'aww, this has to be the last song?', luckily it's 9 minutes in length. But it's so entertaining, you completely forget about that thought and realize this has to be the one of the greatest end-songs of an album EVER. There's something totally unique and brilliant here, and everyone should try it. Easy 5 stars.

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Send comments to Raccoon (BETA) | Report this review (#754127)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars They came, they played, they conquered, and then they scarpered.

Maxophone released one album that is a triumph of prog with some of the greatest musical virtuoso skill one is likely to hear. With such a great album you might have expected Maxophone to at least release something else or get back to recording years later in a reunion, I mean it worked for Anglagard and Comus. So this enigmatic stands like a lone beacon showing the rest of the try hards how it is done. The innovation and creativity throughout is astonishing. Opening with grand jazz explosions and a flurry of guitar prowess over layers of keyboards on 'C'č Un Paese Al Mondo' (There's a country in the world), the band stamp their authority as masters of their craft. The vocals of Alberto Ravasini are easy on the ears, and he is joined by swooping Clarinet and keyboards. The music goes beyond the norm as it is so intricately woven in the tapestry of very complex musical phrases and melodies.

The band are an incredible unit with some stunning musicians, consisting of Maurizio Bianchini on horn, trumpet, percussion, vibraphone, Roberto Giuliani on electric guitars, piano, Sergio Lattuada on keyboards, Sandro Lorenzetti on drums, Alberto Ravasini on lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, Leonardo Schiavone on clarinet, flute, alto & tenor saxophone, Tiziana Botticini on harp, Giovanna Correnti on cello, Paulo Rizzi on contrabass, Eleonora De Rossi on violin and Susanna Pedrazzini on violin. This album is their sole masterpiece but certainly proves that sometimes quality over quantity is the best thing. To follow up on an album like this would have been almost an impossible task, but we will never know as the band have long gone.

The Italian vocals are not a deterrent and of course there's an English version that does not detract from the brilliant musicianship which is the real drawcard. Listening to both versions of "Maxophone" is a must. The album boasts some of the best sax playing on such tracks as 'Fase', with powerful jazz embellishments. The vibraphone solo is wonderful, and the muscular guitar riff works along the spacey effects and layers of horns.

'Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla' (I Heard a Butterfly) has lovely Italian acoustic guitar vibrations, interwoven with beautiful flute augmented by gorgeous vocal harmonies. I love the heavy organ attack, some of the boldest playing on the album followed by descending melodies. There is an exquisite reverb guitar to end it.

'Elzeviro' (Six Against One on the English version) is one of the best tracks, very jazzy with nice vocals, and merging with symphonic textures; a real work of beauty. The electric guitar splashes out with some soaring arpeggios and string bends.

'Mercanti Di Pazzie' (Merchants of Madness) has beautiful vibrations of harp and flute that creates a soundscape of tranquillity. The synthesizer chimes in and the scape becomes ambient and dreamy. This is another complex arrangement with some more wonderful vocals to augment the atmosphere.

'Live Together or Die' opens with odd time sigs and some excellent brass and emotive horns. Piano keeps a melody as a harmony of voices comes in with a lovely timbre. A glorious sax solo keeps things interesting along a swinging groove. It ends with a dirge of Italian choruses singing to a church organ.

The Italian version closes with 'Antiche Conclusioni Negre' (Ancient Negroe's Conclusions) that features some very interesting vocals and intricate musical arrangements. The bonus tracks to follow are 1977 singles, 'Il Fischio del Vapore' (Boat's Whistle) and 'Cono di Gelato' (Ice Cream Cone), that are not featured on the English version unfortunately as these would be great to hear with translated lyrics.

This album can be recommended to those who like their prog served up with complex musical arrangements and sprinkled over with those sweet Italian flavours. Maxophone will go down in history as being yet another RPI band that dished up one meal and then left the insatiable appetite of the prog world starving for more.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#853118)
Posted Wednesday, November 07, 2012 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Maxophone - st (1975)

This Italian symphonic progressive rock record is often seen as one of the highlights of the scene. Fullblown multi-instrumental arrangements, influences from Genesis and ELP, yet still a sort of own way of doing things in an almost orchestral way. The band incorperates many influences in it's compositions and is garentued to raise a smile with a composition like 'Fase', in which they switch styles in high tempo.

I don't like hearing instruments recorded in differents pitches. Maybe it's because I'm a trained musician myself; I really really don't like it, it makes me crumble. This is the type of well intentioned record that is totally ruined by false sounding guitars and keyboards that are like a saw for my harmonic brain. During almost every moment of the record there's some pitch anomaly that bothers me quite a lot. I don't think every music-listener hears this, because almost no-one seems to even mention the fact that some of the arrangements are painfully out of pitch. I would really love to hear a remaster in which all instruments are re-pitched to the same amount of Herz. As it is now, I can only recommend this record to symphonic prog listeners who have never engaged any problem whatsoever with a record sounding out of pitch. They will find Maxophone a great treat I guess.

Two stars, I just can't listen to this.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#877783)
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok...one should never start a review with the words "ok" or "so", but I do it anyway. Okay then...this is a tough one. Maxophone is one of those one-hit wonders of rock progressivo Italiano that nominally could be categorized with PFM, Banco or LeOrme...my holy trinity of that genre. Maxophone, had they persisted should have stood shoulder to shoulder with them, as well as with symphonic prog masters such as Genesis, Yes and ELP. In fact this album has been sought for many years by fans of rock progressivo italiano and for good reason.

Most of the songs on Maxophone's debut defy description mixing jazz, rock, blues, funk and, of course, classical. History tells us that Maxophone was the joining together of three rock musicians with three classical musicians, and if true, it explains a lot, particularly the eclectic nature of the band. Despite the fact that these songs defy description, I will do my best to describe some of the songs so the reader can decide if this album is worth investigating. I also may "name-drop" other bands to give the reader a sense of what the album sounds like. This is not to imply that Maxophone is derivative or ripping these bands off, because I do not believe that this is the case. Maxophone may incorporate many different styles but have a style all their own. Describing the music in the context of familiar bands should give the reader some idea if this recording will be pleasing to them.

Setting the tone for the album is one of the album's strongest tunes "C'e un paese al mondo" which kicks off the album in grand style...beginning with hauntingly beautiful piano before electric guitar, drums, bass and organ barge in with a time signature change at less than minute, signaling the first of several different movements and time changes within this six and a half minute song. At this point the band compares very favorably to PFM, Genesis or Yes in terms of complexity and talent, with a very strong vocal performance from their lead singer.

The next song "Fase" starts like a blues-rock-prog jam, sounding something like Edgar Winter had hijacked Yes, before sliding through symphonic mode into jazz. Before long, this is abandoned in exchange for some Tony Banks-style keyboards, then to vibraphone (or xylophone?) back to blues-prog, then to a flute solo and back again. Perhaps the reader is beginning to sympathize with this writer. It is not easy to describe these songs or do them the justice that they deserve.

"Al mancato compleanno una farfalle" is one of the more gentle songs on "Maxophone" and has some nice vocal harmonies before launching into hard rock mode about four minutes in. The faster section of the song has keyboard playing reminiscent of Keith Emerson, and my previous statements not withstanding, is probably the most derivative moment on the album. However, nowhere and no-when would I ever consider sounding like Keith Emerson to be a flaw.

The fourth track "Elzeviro", sounds a little bit like the inspired chaos that characterizes Area International Popular Group with Maxophone's vocalist nearly attaining the dramatic heights attained by Area's vocalist, the late lamented Demetrio Stratos, while avoiding the excesses of that band. By turns, the song is jazzy, funky and symphonic before transforming into something resembling early Genesis.

"Mercanti di Pazzio", like "Al mancato" begins gently, except in this case maintains a gentle tempo and tone, comparing favorably to mellower Genesis fare such as "Ripples". "Antichi conclusioni negre" closes the album with some funky, spacey keyboard playing and excellent drumming. This song also boasts some fine saxophone playing, memorable guitar work and Yes-style harmonizing. It definitely closes the album in grandiose style.

The final two songs appear to be bonus tracks that are not part of the album proper, but are part of the iTunes rerelease. "Il fischio del vapore" contains a strong, melodic and confident vocal performance even if the song is relatively simple. "Cono di gelato" could almost be described as a blue-eyed soul or pop ballad. Is it progressive? No. Is it alluring, soulful, beautiful and worth a listen? Absolutely.

The overall verdict is that this is a stunning debut album that unfortunately did not evolve into a lengthy career for Maxophone. I would love to know what happened and why this promising beginning did not amount to much beyond a cult oddity, all but forgotten except by hardcore prog fans like myself. "Maxophone" is such a great recording that I still feel like I cannot do it justice with mere words. I would love to hijack a radio station and just play it over and over again (even the pop-oriented bonus tracks) until everybody has heard it. I love this album that much. However this album does contain an annoying artifact of the time in which it was recorded..the fadeout. On "Fase" especially, the fadeout was disappointing because it was fading while some interesting music was still going on. Aside from that minor gripe this is a brilliant album, a masterpiece of progressive rock. Bravo!

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Send comments to Fenrispuppy (BETA) | Report this review (#946868)
Posted Saturday, April 20, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Excellent RPI album, one of the best that I know of.

What makes it so good is the excellent compositions, which are as good as any of the 'big Italian bands', like PFM, Banco and Le Orme. Actually, there is not one weak song on the album. All the compositions have something to offer. This is a very mature band, even when this is their debut album. Each song has different bits and pieces that gel all well together: nothing sounds artificial, everything sounds 'in place'.

Except for the compositions, I'd say that the imaginative use of keyboards add to the great quality of the album. The vocals are quite nice too, even if not very special. Soundwise, the band is quite good too.

Strongly recommended for anyone who likes classic Italian 1970's prog!

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Send comments to Moogtron III (BETA) | Report this review (#1092206)
Posted Thursday, December 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars If there was ever a one hit wonder, then Maxophone's only album certainly makes the mark. This isn't your standard PFM, Banco, or Le Orme styled album; there are bits of these band's sounds, but for the most part this is a very unique sound these guys achieve. A few of the members are classically trained, while the others have a rock background. This alone gives the album a unique blend of pure classic rock riffage and well-composed symphonic moments, in addition to plenty of jazzy moments to top it off.

Suffice it to say the album is quite diverse. The album can be folky, jazzy, symphonic, or heavy. It can be intense, dramatic, yet equally beautiful and melodic. All of this while retaining a sense of unity. Not adhering to any strict sound, style, or formula is what makes this album so appealing.

There are plenty of surprises in each song; the through composed nature of the album benefits this, as they often don't spend too much time on a single idea. Yet everything seems in its rightful place. The first song, for example, is based on a dramatic, repeating vocal melody, while the following 'Fase' has a much more aggressive and rough edge. The band even takes a more poppy approach in songs like 'Il Fischio Del Vapore' and the ballad-esque 'Cono Di Gelato,' both of which are more laid-back than the rest of the album.

A unique album, yet undeniably Italian in style, I would say this is a must have for Italian Proggers at the very least, and earns a nice spot amongst the best of the genre.

8/10

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Posted Tuesday, January 07, 2014 | Review Permalink

MAXOPHONE Maxophone ratings only


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