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Luciano Basso

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Luciano Basso Voci album cover
3.95 | 80 ratings | 8 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Preludio (7:35)
2. Promenade I (4:45)
3. Promenade II (6:19)
4. Voci (10:52)
5. Echo (9:17)

Total Time: 38:08

Bonus track on 2008 CD reissue:
6. Mignon (2:28)

Line-up / Musicians

- Luciano Basso / acoustic & electric pianos, organ, Mellotron, harpsichord, composer & arranger

- Michele Zorzi / guitar
- Luigi Campalani / violin
- Massimo Palma / cello
- Mauro Periotto / acoustic & electric basses
- Riccardo Da Par / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Anna Zorzi

LP Ariston ‎- ARLP/ 12228 (1976, Italy)
LP AMS ‎- AMS LP 04 (2008, Italy)

CD Vinyl Magic ‎- VM 043 (1994, Italy)
CD AMS ‎- AMS123CD (2008, Italy) With a bonus track

Thanks to Ghost Rider for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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LUCIANO BASSO Voci ratings distribution

(80 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(60%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

LUCIANO BASSO Voci reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars I just wanted to post this review and then discovered that my review is the first one of this 'RPI gem' while the homepage is flooded by Classic Rock bands like Black Sabbath.... incredible! OK, now let's focus on the music. Luciano Basso is a classically trained and experienced musician, specialized in Grand piano and writing compositions, he has made 4 LP's (source: book Progressivo Italiano by Barotto & D'Ubaldo): Voci (1976), Cogli Il Giorno (1978), Frammenti Tonali (1979) and Luciano Basso (1980) on the Ariston label. Later he released 5 CD's and nowadays he is a music teacher in the known Italian city Padua.

Listening to his instrumental debut album Voci the music reminds me of keyboard oriented Seventies Prog bands like Trace, ELP, Le Orme and Triumvirat, also driven by virtuosic play on the Grand piano: from fragile (Voci) and sparkling (Promenade II and Voci) to jazzy (Promenade II) or wonderful interplay between Grand piano and the violin like in Preludio, Voci and the experimental Echo (lots of good ideas but sometimes it sounds a bit too fragmentic to me). Although the Grand piano is omnipresent, you can also enjoy a wide range of vintage keyboards, from the mighty Hammond organ and the unsurpassed Mellotron to the harpsichord, clavinet, string-ensemble and even a church organ sound. Some songs contain sensitive work on the electric guitar like halfway Preludio and in the final part of the Voci. The Vinyl Magic CD release features the poorly recorded bonustrack Mignon (almost 3 minutes), it is a bit disappointing end of a beautiful Seventies Italian Prog album, layered with great work on keyboards, especially in the titletrack Luciano Basso shows his skills in playing keyboards and writing compositions!

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ".I tried to set sound alive."

"When I composed Voci my main aim was to get rid of the symphonic rock sound clichés, and bring music to a total dimension. My academic training helped me to form and structure melody, harmony and rhythm in order to create a kind of sonic phase, far away from foreign influences able to reach the sun-rays of sonic universe in those days. In all tracks I tried to sound alive, highlighting expressive dynamics, looking for more innovation and a new approach to counterpoints. Voci is a record that still surprises me after more than 30 years although my composing work has taken a very different course nowadays." [Luciano Basso, July 2007]

Luciano Basso is a keyboard extraordinaire from Venice who started playing as a child of 10 years old. He had a deep musical education, is a composer and concert performer, and currently teaches music as well. He has recorded many albums that I have not heard, this first one I believe is the most "prog" while later material became more in the contemporary classical music style. Voci is a dynamic instrumental powerhouse with much life and vigor, and album guaranteed to delight fans of solid composition, virtuoso piano playing, and those who enjoy strings in their prog.

You know when you hear the first notes of piano wonderfully accompanied by the violin, that this album is going to be a special one. It is so breathes. The composition is elaborate and satisfying, dreamy and longing. Eventually the piece is bolstered by the soaring guitar of Michele Zorzi whose airborn leads appear in several places over this album. The song ends with a full band rock section including bass, drums, guitar, and mellotron. "Promenade 1" is an energetic swath of progressive rock which sounds like a mix of Italian and English influences. The clavinet is featured prominently in this one. In "Promenade 2" the piece begins with the interplay of Basso's piano and the outstanding bass of Mauro Periotto, soon with the added punch of the drums and the elegance of strings on top of everything. There are some quirky sections in this piece that are alternated with the sections of solo piano that sound like rain falling down, sprinkling beautifully over everything. Basso likes to develop about 3 easily recognizable themes in each piece and then he bounces back and forth from one to the other giving the album much continuity and flow. I think you could make the case that this both helps and hinders the album. On the one hand it makes "Voci" seem undeniably well-constructed and solid from a thematic standpoint. To play devil's advocate one could say that the album is a bit safe and lacks the crazy experimentation of the daring wing of the Italian school. Those who live for the wild ride of Semiramis or Ys might find Basso's debut to be a bit traditional, a bit of a "bourbon and cigars" side of prog.

On side 2 the title track "Voci" begins with heavenly piano runs over mellotron, really quite beautiful. Two minutes in Basso is joined by driving drums and bass, and also violin. That falls away back to solo piano. The electric guitar enters and begins to play notes in unison to the piano with occasional rhythm hits for emphasis. There is a short rock section leading back to the opening piano runs and then to the rocking parts again. "Echo" begins with angelic choirs against grand organ, really dramatic. This gives way to piano and violin of a somber mood. Drums and lead guitar usher in a more hopeful vibe with the choirs returning. Then the song shifts to a jazzier feel with some playful jamming on guitar and keys. Soon we return to the "hopeful" section with the sunny choirs and back again to the jamming part. Basso's piano fittingly closes the album with cello behind him. A short bonus track called "Mignon" is tacked on unfortunately, the sound quality so bad it adds nothing of value to such an outstanding album.

There is no doubt in my mind that "Voci" is a solid 4 star album that would make a great addition to any prog collection, whether you like Italian prog or not. It may well be a masterpiece for which 4 stars is conservative. I hold back because I do prefer a bit more of the "edge" that other Italian groups would use to zest up material like this, an example being something like the second QVL album. But I can take nothing else away from Voci: this is an outstanding, classy album that will knock most of you flat on your arse. If you love a classical influence, violins and piano, with solid instrumental rock backing you cannot go wrong here. The Vinyl Magic mini is a nice gatefold reproduction although the booklet is surprisingly meager compared to their usual release.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hailing from Venetia, keyboard maestro Luciano Basso delivered one of the most beautiful prog albums from Italy ever- "Voci". This is, naturally, an album centered on his arsenal of grand piano, organ, harpsichord, mellotron and electric piano, although there is also room for important violin flourishes and guitar leads, as well as relevant manifestations of the rhythm duo's power. Basso's musical offering manages to be overwhelmingly Italian due to the abundant doses of Baroque, Manierism and Neoclassical textures that flow on and on in the basic melodies and their subsequent arranged developments. His style is related to those of the keyboardsmen from Le Orme, BMS and Latte e Miele: in turn, this cleverly affects the ensemble's sound as similar to the former ("Uomo di Pezza"-era) and latter aforesaid bands. The album's first half is based on a whole three-part opus, consisting of a prelude and two promenades. The 'Prelude' has a 7 ½ minute span, starting with stylish piano arpeggios and violin lines resting elegantly on mellotron layers. This serves as a scheme of a further exploration that takes place when the guitar, bass and drum kit join in. The second motif states a dynamic conclusion that I wish were a bit longer, but it's quite effective in its evolving ambience. 'Promenade I' finds Basso and friends displaying the early Le Orme similarities in full range, exploring the dynamics of the previous track's final minute with enthusiasm and richness: Basso's organ progressions lead the way for the whole band as a well-oiled symphonic machinery. The Baroque- infected harpsichord interlude is very much BMS, in my opinion. 'Promenade II' sort of combines the ceremonious majesty of 'Prelude' and the full frontal colorfulness of the first 'Promenade': as a result, the track's mood turns out to be serious and gray, yet with a playful twist that serves equally as a counterpart and a complement to the reflective trend of the serious passages. The inclusion of some occasional jazzy undertones helps the track to achieve interesting variations. The album's second half starts with the namesake track. 'Voci' is the longest track in the album. It heavily features the grand piano, which is basically elaborating a constant prologue that remains solidly stable on a floating atmosphere. The alternations between the extroverted and introverted passages are fluid, and that is largely due to the fact that the contrasts are not too pronounced. It is as if the voices mentioned in the title were perceived as waves and breezes by Basso, in this way determining the composition's overall statement. 'Echo' brings a much more elaborated dynamics, especially regarding the development of the main motifs and the sort of magnificent delivery that the band assumes as a guide: the motifs are distinct within the whole picture, with this same whole picture serving as the perfect scheme for the melodic variations. This one and the two Promenades reveal the most ambitious side of Basso as a composer: it is really convenient that 'Echo' should close down "Voci", so it could state a remarkable climax to the whole concept. All in all, "Voci" is an amazingly, captivatingly beautiful prog album that should not be missed by any real Italian prog lover or any symphonic prog fan at all.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Many consider this album to be one of the finest examples of RPI, especially in terms of the relative paucity of instrumental albums (Italians love to sing!) , where more orthodox input is of the highest order, veering very close to outright classical music when piano, cello and violin decide to dominate. The opener "Preludio" does just that, the violin cattily fiddling with the main theme until the electric guitar enters halfway through, introducing the prog-rock element, followed closely by the archetypal praetorian guard of bass and drums. The theme develops nicely without too much constraint, giving fretman Michele Zorzi the platform to entwine some flighty solos into the pattern. On "Promenade Pt1" virtuoso keyboardist Luciano Basso gets to initially wander over his organ with devilish abandon, later teasingly adding some delicate harpsichord embellishments that supply a most welcome slight romantic. The second part does have some urgent Curved Air hints, especially on grand piano where Basso does a stupendous Jobson imitation, a rather enjoyable main theme adorned with rumbling bass "accompagnement" and straightforward drumming. It becomes glaringly obvious that these are talented instrumentalists that can create slow-blooming magic. The title track is an extended 10 minute affair that is the highlight here, with riveting piano dueling with the orchestrations within a serene mood setting evoking melancholic nostalgia and hopeful abandon. As the drums, bass and guitar pierce the symphonic mist, the piece dives into typical prog soundscapes closer to Dutch master trio Trace than anything else! The sheer breadth of the arrangement gives lieu to some first-rated ivory tinkling, a dreamy meander into uncharted solos, as if an improvisation on a theme. Zorzi yet again keeps pace eloquently, adding sustained tones to the keyboard frills, patiently waiting to explode into six-string frenzy. There is a sense of timeless grandeur, becoming even clearer with repeated audition, as the magnificent theme is repeated and enhanced, the harpsichord ("Clavicembalo" in Italian) making another splendid appearance. Finally, the best is served up last, the swirling choir-infested "Echo" is a slice of genius, a brooding at times sullen and erratic juxtaposition of sounds and textures, infusing baroque classicisms with psychedelic flights (Zorzi's early Floydian slide guitar) , all drenched in a cascade of female vocals that invite raging organ flurries, zigging and zagging with unabashed glee. The growling guitar solo is a supplementary indulgence and all in all, puts a sympathetic end to this brief but explosive jewel, a singularly fascinating complement to any praiseworthy prog collection. As I further mature musically, the more I deeply enjoy the piano , what an amazing instrument! 4 low voices.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Luciano Basso is an ultra-talented pianist, composer and teacher from Italy and this was his first album released in 1976. He purposely tried to distance his music from the Symphonic Rock cliches as he calls them and do something different and innovative. In the process he succeeded in creating an RPI classic. The usual Rock instruments of drums, guitar and bass are here as Luciano adds a variety of keyboards including organ, electric piano, harpichord, mellotron and piano.We also get a fair amount of cello and violin filling out the sound.

"Preludio" opens with piano as strings join in. A change before 2 1/2 minutes as it settles some and gets emotional. Guitar before 4 minutes followed by drums. How good is this ! Another change 6 minutes in with a good rhythm. "Promenade I" is uptempo as drums and strings lead. Organ joins in quickly. Nice. A harpischord solo takes over after a minute and continues until after 3 minutes then the previous soundscape returns. Great sound. "Promenade II" opens with a beautiful piano melody as bass helps out. It changes before 1 1/2 minutes as the organ and mellotron take over. Piano and bass are back as contrasts continue.

"Voci" is led by piano and strings as the organ comes floating in. Drums and a fuller sound 2 minutes in. Killer stuff ! The drumming is so impressive on this track. Piano only 4 minutes in then the drums and strings join in after 5 1/2 minutes. Guitar 6 1/2 minutes in as the sound gets louder. Nice bass here too. Piano and strings lead again after 7 1/2 minutes as the organ comes floating in again as themes are repeated. Fantastic song. "Echo" opens with some powerful organ and vocal melodies. Piano takes over a minute in. Strings join in too.Guitar,vocal melodies and a beat take over after 2 1/2 minutes, organ too.The keyboards and guitar sound excellent before 7 minutes as themes are repeated and contrasted.

This is a classic and should be in every RPI fan's collecion.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Luciano Basso was born in Venice and was classically trained on piano in his hometown's academy of music.

After a brief experience with the band IL MUCCHIO he went solo with this memorable instrumental album where he manages to mix different styles as classical music, symphonic prog, electronic and jazz. He plays a wide range of keys, from piano (both classic and electric), organ, mellotron and harpsichord, not far from Emerson's virtuoso style.

The main difference with ELP is that "Voci" is the result of a classic sextet of musicians (on contrabass Mauro Periotto of NUVOLE DI PAGLIA) where violin and cello often take the lion's share.

In some parts Basso sounds more cryptic, somehow nearer to the RPI scene of that time (FRANCO BATTIATO), in others the general mood turns more cosmic and atmospheric with guitar a la PINK FLOYD (as in the half of "Preludio") or with sad piano ballad as in the title track's intro, in still others he's capable of joyful instrumental enthusiasm and rush (as in "Promenade I").

This is really a wonderful record that everyone should own; certainly, one of the swan songs of italian classic prog.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An album in which keyboard artist Luciano Basso tries to shoulder his way to front of the crowd of prog keyboardists. He fails rather miserably.

1. "Preludio" (7:35) firm piano opening joined by violin and, later, Mellotron. At 2:10 the tempo slows and cello and bass join in. Not the most memorable melody nor very complex music. At the end of the fourth minute electric guitar joins the weave before drums enter and solidify the rock nature of this music at 4:25. Bombast that is over- the-top and, at the same time, not very impressive. As a matter of fact, no instrumentalist really wows or even impresses. The weave itself is even fairly mundane until the six minute mark when the bass and drums switch into an odd tempo (off and on). Nothing very special here. (10.5/15)

2. "Promenade I" (4:45) opens with a ELP sound, feel and tempo, add the violin and you have something a little different. In the first part of the second minute everything shifts to a little solo harpsichord section--over two minutes of this! Supreme cheese. At 3:21 the keyboardist switches to organ and the rest of the band joins in. Violin and electric guitar get a little foreplay before organ tries a Keith Emerson solo from beneath the full-band weave. And then it just stops. A tough song to rate. (7.75.10)

3. "Promenade II" (6:19) the Keith Emerson imitation is so blatant that it's almost sad. Luciano does a pretty good job here as a KE imitator but brings nothing new, innovative, or even very impressive to the table. (8/10)

4. "Voci" (10:52) what amounts to a rock-band embellished KEITH JARRETT- or GEORGE WINSTON-like solo piano piece (pretty!) turns awesome at 5:12 when electric guitars (2) and drums join in. Wow! was that unexpected, powerful, and beautiful! But then they kind of wear it out. Finally at 6:20 the full band kicks in, almost leaving the piano in its own room. It feels like the first time the band was allowed to be themselves. And it's so short-lived as its broken down into more of a string quartet support for this syrupy demonstration of classical piano skills. At 9:10 the band gets another chance to join in, but this time it falls flat--the piano is too insistent, to domineering to let anything else have its own voice. The music switches at 10:20 for 30 seconds of rock finale. Another song that is very difficult to rate as a whole because of some outstanding parts and some real flops. (17/20)

5. "Echo" (9:17) opens with organ and choir, sounding like a modern day New Age church service (e.g. The Polyphonic Spree). Piano and strings and Mellotron strings take over in the second minute. 'tron and lap slide electric guitar in the third minute are joined by drums, "ah" choir vocalise, and organ. At 3:47 the song shifts gears into a faster tempo simplistic jazz-rock piece. There is something rather refreshing (or Mike Oldfield-like) in the mixing of church organ, slide guitar, and choral voices with the rock backbeat. If only the song structure and solos weren't so simplistic, scripted, and reserved. (18/20)

Total Time: 38:08

Nice recording of what amounts to nothing more than a tribute to Keith Emerson--a fair, solid exposition but nothing special or innovative. This imitation of KE is fairly rudimentary and as if following a by-the-numbers script.

3.5 stars; a great representative of the lure that progressive rock had for Italian musicians of every ilk.

Latest members reviews

5 stars With the patience and craftsmanship of a jeweller had il grande maestro, Luciano Basso, managed to create and then polish this peerless diamond that is his debut album. Cleverly entitled Voci, the record generates esoterical soundscape networks that connect the classical influences with early Ita ... (read more)

Report this review (#453594) | Posted by Lizzy | Sunday, May 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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