Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Ezra Winston

Symphonic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ezra Winston Ancient Afternoons album cover
3.43 | 64 ratings | 9 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Painter and The King (10:05) :
- i. The Arrival of The Painter
- ii. Nightmare
- iii. The Sentence
- iv. Execution
- v. Over the Candle-light
2. Verge of Suicide (9:04):
- i. The Bus Stop
- ii. Indifference
- iii. Watchman of The Glass Managerie
- iv. The Choice
3. Night Storm (6:07)
4. Ancient Afternoon of an Unknown Town (26:05) :
- i. Prelude
- ii. Magician's Words
- iii. Interlude (on the March)
- iv. Glares
- v. Mountains of Munis
- vi. The Ambush and The Battle
- vii. Interlude (Night on Munis)
- viii. The Dragon and the Ruby of Kos
- ix. Postlude

Total Time: 51:21

Bonus track 2000 Rock Symphony Remaster:
5. Shades of Grey (4:15) *

* Previously unreleased (recorded at the 3Fates Studio-Roma during Feb-April 1996)

Total Time: 55:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Mauro Di Donato / lead & backing vocals, synths, samplers, electric piano, bass, fretless bass, double bass, acoustic (4,5) & classical guitars (4), effects, co-producer
- Fabio Palmieri / electric, acoustic, classical and 12-string guitars, effects, co-producer
- Paolo Lucini / flute, piccolo, tenor and soprano saxes, effects, MIDI winds synth (5)
- Daniele Iacono / acoustic and electronic drums, percussion, vibes, effects

- Steve Pontani / electric guitars and loops (5)
- Aldo Tagliapietra / 5-string bass, lead vocals (3)
- Gianni Colaiacomo / bass (5)
- Francesco Berluti / trumpet
- Tony Saltz / trumpet
- Giancarlo Berluti / horn
- Giovanni Giuliano / horn
- Domenico Sebastiani / horn
- Salvatore Sanseli / trombone
- Francesco Scalone / trombone
- Augusto Mentuccia / tuba
- Tommaso Guidi / oboe
- Cristina Santoni / backing vocals ("dark siren's choirs") (5)

Releases information

Artwork: Daniela Fiorino

CD Angel Records - MF005 (1990, Italy)
CD Rock Symphony - RSLN 053 (2001, Brazil) Remastered by Paolo Lucini w/ 1 bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy EZRA WINSTON Ancient Afternoons Music

More places to buy EZRA WINSTON music online

EZRA WINSTON Ancient Afternoons ratings distribution

(64 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

EZRA WINSTON Ancient Afternoons reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
3 stars Excellent production from Italy, even though it's a bit overrated in comparison to their previous masterwork "The Myth Of The Chrysavides". Recently they have supported Le ORME and BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO in several important occasions. Besides in the last years, they have been carrying on their activity far from the stage for some months, except on their participation on a couple of Progressive Festivals in Italy. During these events their execution of "Ancient Afternoons" has been very successful, regarding the Italian progressive fans.
Review by NJprogfan
4 stars Hey, my first review! Have it in my car and let me tell you, it has the Genesis "Trespass" sound down pat. If Hackett played on the "Trespass" album with an Italian singing Peter Gabrielish and you added some low-key and beautiful horns and a load of flute, you have this album in a nutshell. It's autumnal, intricate and has that 70's style recording. Most songs are lengthy and just plain beautiful. So, if your cup of tea is 'Trespass' era Genesis with a smattering of horns to fill in the grey areas, go out and buy this album. You will not be disappointed! A solid four stars.
Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars This open-minded reviewer keeps on informing the visitors from this wonderful site about 40 years of exciting progrock (1966-2006), here is a beauty from the Nineties. The first track "The painter and the king" (5 parts) has a delicate classical inspired symphonic sound (flute, acoustic guitar) with strong hints from early Genesis (twanging guitars), the electric guitarwork is very flowing and sensitive. The next song "Verge of suicide" (4 parts) has echoes from PFM, due to the sparkling flute, acoustic guitar and warm vocals. The final part includes fanfare-like bombastic keyboards and drums. Then a shorter song entitled "Night storm", it has a compelling symphonic climate featuring howling electric guitar, accompanied by saxophone and flute. The fourth composition "Ancient afternoon of a unknown town" is the 'magnum opus' (9 parts, 26 minutes) and sounds very alternating, ranging from mellow with acoustic guitars, flute and soaring keyboards to bombastic with swirling flute and up-tempo with sumptuous synthesizers in the vein of the Japanese prog (Gerard, Deja Vu, Ars Nova). Surprising elements are the use of xylophone, brass and classical guitar. The final song "Shades of grey" is a short bonustrack that delivers twanging acoustic guitar, flute and Hackett-like guitar, strongly evoking early Genesis. IF YOU LIKE EARLY GENESIS AND CLASSICAL MUSIC, THIS CD IS WORTH A TRY!
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Dateline 1990: the Dictatorial Rule of the Corporate Music Industry has crushed the remaining stubborn prog dinosaurs into oblivion. Yet little did the corporate bigwigs know that within a year Metallica and Nirvana would conspire to "tear the playhouse down" again and bring in the grunge/alternative era of noisy guitar crap and wounded (or MIA) melodies (sorry Kurt). Prog was forced into the "maquis", becoming jungle guerillas, a few trembling survivors fighting on bravely and in silent lucidity(Queensryche-Empire, Ant Phillips-Slow Dance, Ozric Tentacles-Erpland, Oldfield's Amarok, After Crying-Overground Music and Fish-The Vigil ). Needless to say, times were tough in Progland during the blitz. Yet among the smoking ruins and strewn corpses of the once all mighty (Yes, Tull, Floyd, KC and the traitor Genesis), there was a fabulous little treasure that few knew about, away from the usual Brit-Yank commercial infested stage , in a country known more for food, drink, fashion and history but also once a pivotal school of prog-rock : Italy. Far removed from the maddening hypocrisy of the flavor of the month rock band philosophy was Ezra Winston and its mythical "Ancient Afternoons", a heady follow up to their equally resplendent 1988 debut" Myth of the Chrysalides". Composer and multi-instrumentalist Mauro di Donato put together another symphonic masterpiece with heavy Medieval/Renaissance influences (identified by some reviewers as Trespass-era Genesis) meshed with outright classical orchestrations leaning heavily on assorted wind and brass instruments. There are some strong similarities with Hackett's debut "Voyage of the Acolyte", with some typical PFM/LeOrme arrangements (the latter's Aldo Tagliapietra is a guest on bass and vocals) and plenty lush symphonics that will leave you speechless. There are no outright flashy solos but rather a team concept all focusing on the sum of the parts that make this slant towards a classical prog monument. The nearly hour long recording is an utter stroke of genius, a masterpiece of Italian symphonic prog that has few peers and deserves to be in any prog collection. Amazing for 1990, still stunning today. That means 5 pounds of marlboros.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars EZRA WINSTON is a highly thought of modern RPI band who released their first album in the late eighties.This is the followup called "Ancient Afternoons". There's no questioning the talent of this band but for my taste this was a long listen. Not a fan of the vocals although they certainly don't ruin it by any means. It's that Classical flavour that bothers me the most I suppose, although it's more than that.

"The Painter And The King" opens with the birds singing before flute and orchestral sounds take over. Man I don't like this at all. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot. Thankfully it gets better when the guitar comes in around 1 1/2 minutes. Vocals before 2 1//2 minutes and it's very pastoral. I like the atmosphere after 3 1/2 minutes then the drums start to build as the guitar then sax comes in. Not a bad track overall.

"Verge Of Suicide" is mellow to start with vocals and flute. There has to be fairies prancing around too. Marching style drums arrive before 7 minutes then it's pastoral again. "Night-Storm" has this tasteful guitar with a beat and vocals. I like the guitar late. "Ancient Afternoon Of An Unknown Town" is the 26 minute epic. For me this feels like it's patched together too much, although there is one section that I like from before 19 minutes to the 24 minute mark. It's led by drums and horns. "Shades Of Grey" is laid back with vocals. Flute after 1 1/2 minutes then it kicks in somewhat with drums and guitar.

I must admit it's hard to even offer up 3 stars for this one, but out of respect for the fans of this album especially tszirmay that is my rating.

Review by seventhsojourn
3 stars Named for a Latin American comic-book character whose sidekick had a fancy for travelling back in time, Ezra Winston (the band) seems to share that penchant for looking to the past. They are one of only a small handful of Italian bands classified as Symphonic Prog in the PA database and as other reviewers have already noted there is something of an inclination to 'Trespass' on this album. While it's not a mere doppelganger, it's not difficult to imagine Ezra Winston centring their attention on the talismanic Genesis album and they even included some 'White Mountain' fragments in the flute melody of 'Glares'.

For sure, this is an epic work and involves what seems like a retinue of thousands of musicians. The album is meticulously presented with a lavish booklet that includes all English language lyrics and explanations of the songs. The opening track 'The Painter And The King' is a fine example of telling a story through music, with brass fanfares for the painter's arrival at court and the death rattle of percussion during his execution. 'Verge Of Suicide' also manages to convey its different moods effectively although the singer's Gabriel imitation isn't, for me, a patch on the broad-chested vocals of so many of his countrymen.

'Ancient Afternoon Of An Unknown Town' is the album's magnum opus, the big cheese, the full bhuna, the big kahuna. It's an enormous, sprawling piece that concerns the further sombre myths of the Chrysavides. It begins with the lovely Baroque-inspired 'Prelude' and this clearly transmits a feeling of grandeur, but the shiny stuff quickly wears off and I'm less convinced by what's left. It's all too fragmented and it fails to really take shape. Rather than having the impression of reading an epic story, the feeling of going on a long and fitful journey spreads through me and I'm glad when I reach the end.

'Ancient Afternoons' is good without being particularly exciting; I don't condemn it to the stake but I can't exactly sing its praises either.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars Well, I understand all this praising for this album. After all, it is a journey back to the time of the great prog bands (and their love for Genesis Trespass and PFMīs Per Un Amico is more than evident). Usually I donīt mind derivative music, as long as it is well done. And this the biggest problem here: the songwriting department and the vocals. While it is clear that all band members are skilled musicians, the vocals are awful, which is really strange since they are from a land of great singers like Italy. Most of the time itīs like whispering voices, recorded too low in the mix (maybe intentionally, I donīt know, and I donīt care, since the results are the same). The songs tried to emulate a lot of those aforementioned bands and are well executed, but no melodies stuck even after repeated listenings. Itīs that typical case of terrific players in dire need of an equally great composer to match.

So itīs easy to understand why those guys never made it. And most of the praising comes from the fact that this band came in a time not too many progressive combos were not coming from Italy (a country that gave us so many outstanding and unique works they became a league of their own). Donīt get me wrong, there are indeed some nice passages here and there, but thatīs all. No real "songs" or epics as such, everything seems to have a lack of structure, like a good beginning or a climax to end. A real pity, for the inspiration is right, the intentions are good and the overall technique (minus the vocals) is flawless. But with no good tunes to go along with them, the results are at best interesting.

Definitly for collectors and fans only. Two stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This is a strange album. Got it on LP and today I was thought I was going to listen to it carefully and write a short review. The first song is like someone taped the band at 3 o clock in the middle of night and the band wasn't aware of it. Did they even try to write a song? Boring keyboards for ... (read more)

Report this review (#180640) | Posted by Andis | Saturday, August 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ancient Afternoons may have a place in my "top ten desert island..." in prog, and within the nineties, no doubt it figures very high. Yes, the pastoral side of early Genesis is preeminent, as the romanticism and folk influence of the 70's italian school. But all is so well integrated, the ... (read more)

Report this review (#115057) | Posted by bertolino | Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of EZRA WINSTON "Ancient Afternoons"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.