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Jumbo DNA album cover
3.90 | 150 ratings | 16 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Suite Per Il Sig. K (20:46) :
- Sta Accadendo Qualcosa Dentro Me
- Ed Ora Corri
- Dio E'
2. Miss Rand (5:05)
3. E' Brutto Sentirsi Vecchi (6:34)
4. Hai Visto... (7:20)

Total Time 39:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Alvaro "Jumbo" Fella / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Daniele "Pupo" Bianchini / acoustic & electric guitars
- Sergio "Samuel" Conte / organ, piano, electric piano
- Dario Guidotti / flute, Jew's harp, acoustic guitar
- Aldo Gargano / bass
- Vito "Juarak" Balzano / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Gianni Ronco & Luciano Tallarini

LP Philips ‎- 6323 017 L (1972, Italy)
LP Vinyl Magic ‎- VM LP 082 (2007, Italy)

CD Philips ‎- 512 118-2 (1992, Italy)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JUMBO DNA ratings distribution

(150 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

JUMBO DNA reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
4 stars I give this album a four star rating, because side one, in my book is a full five star rating, and side two is three and a half stars. Actually I own the Japanese CD reissue. For quite a bit longer, I've been familiar with, and very much treasure "Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni?" which was the third and final album (until later reunions) by this Italian prog outfit lead by vocalist Alvaro Fella. Now I got a hold of "DNA", which was their previous album, released a year before (1972).

The band consisted of vocalist and acoustic guitarist Alvaro Fella, drummer Vito Balzano, keyboardist Sergio Conte, guitartist Daniele Bianchini, flautist, harmonica player, and acoustic guitarist Dario Guidotti, and bassist Aldo Gargano. JUMBO was originally given the nickname to Alvaro Fella, but quickly became the name of the band starting with "DNA". Given I am familiar with "Vietato Ai Minori" much longer than "DNA", it should be no surprise that I'd be comparing both albums. "DNA" tends to be more rock-oriented, doesn't lean so much on the avant-garde, and there are no guests like Franco Battiato guesting here. The Mellotron and synthesizeres aren't present, making the Hammond organ and piano the dominant keyboards. There's a stronger blues/folk/JETHRO TULL-like feel to the album. One thing isn't different is Alvaro Fella's singing, which is still harsh, which is an acquired taste (PFM-like vocals you won't find here).

Side one (that is, if you own the LP) consists of the side-length, three piece suite, "Suite Per il Sig. K". Five stars all the way, without a doubt one of the finest pieces JUMBO ever done. I am pretty convinced why some Italian prog fans think "DNA" is their best album is because of this suite. The music goes through many different changes from rocking passages to bluesy passages to jazzy passages. I understand that the "Dio " passage was a re-recording of a song from their self- entitled debut. Buy this album just for this side-length suite, it's totally amazing!

Unfortunately most of the rest of the album don't quite live up to the glory of "Suite Per il Sig. K". "Miss Rand" features some nice prog passages, but there's some cheery passages that sounds quite American (althought the vocals are in Italian). "E' Brutto Sentirsi Vechhi" is a rather moody and down-beat acoustic ballad that I felt could have been better. But the album rebounds big time with "Hai Visto". The first half is rather jazzy, until the vocals kick in, then the music starts sounding more like something off "Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni?" (specifically "Vangelo?"). This is without a doubt the second finest cut outside of "Suite Per il Sig. K". In my opinion "Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni?" is the better album, because it's a more consistent album, so start there first, but "DNA" is still worth having, especially the side-length suite.

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Horrible cover, beautiful music! The Italian band Jumbo made three albums in the Seventies, this is their first. The focus is on the raw and expressive voice from singer Alvaro Fella, from whispering to screaming, he colours the music from Jumbo. Signori Fella also plays acoustic guitar and is the main composer. This album starts with the long composition "Suite per il sign. K" (at about 20 minutes), it contains many shifting moods, breaks and soli and the use of a wide range of instruments, from piano, flute and mouth organ to heavy floods of organ and heavy electric guitar. Then the track "Miss Rand" that starts with bombastic organ work and then a swinging rhythm with catch piano play. The next song is "E. Butto sentirsi vecchi", it sounds dreamy featuring twanging acoustic guitar and cheerful flute work. The final composition is "Hai visto", a has a bit jazzy atmosphere and lots of soli on flute and organ. This is not a very elaborate or complex album, it simply sounds pleasant with lots of strong soli.
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "...something's happening inside me..."

With their second record, Jumbo established their own musical style based, mainly, on one of the most peculiar italian voice in prog. Francesco di Giacomo is usually remembered as the finest vocalist. Jumbo's vocalist and leader, Alvaro "Jumbo" Fella, is the strangest singer in all the italian classic prog scene. His rough, angry and nasal voice immidiately take the attention of the listener.

While in the third album "Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni?" he went to touch the apex of verbal excesses through hard and extreme stories, fragment of true deteriorated lives (alcohol, drugs, prostitution ...) or fragment of infinite sadness (the onanist in "Specchio" who knows he will not have a girfriend, a child, a family), in "DNA" he shows us more equilibrium. The music' structure is less complicated than the following album, somehow too repetitive in some passages. Never lacks in imagination and fascination.

That's the great evocative opener (about 20,40 mns long) "Suite per il Dig. K." (Suite for Mr. K.). Who is Mr. K.? When I've heard the lyrics: " something's happening inside me" I immidiately understood the reference to the famous writer Franz Kafka and his memorable tale "Metamorhosis" where a man surprisingly found himself changed to a big beetle. That's the thoughts loudly proclaimed by the singer: "once I had voice, now I cannot shout". The meaning has not to be searched in some existential and phylosophical explanation, but in that development of each person who starts with age to became cynic and social climber. The rythm is sometimes slow with a "drunking" bass' pattern. Piano and organ are often passed by a nervous electric guitar.

Very interesting the song "Miss Rand". A funny scheme, a joyful marching band with delicate flute when Alvaro Fella is telling how died teacher Miss Rand: she was burnt alive in his house...not exactly what the listener was waiting for...

In "E' Brutto Sentirsi Vecchi" (Is Bad to Feel Old) the lyrics describe man growing older with the disturbs, problems and moral degradations of whom looses the touch with reality. Not for criticize them but for pity and compassion.

In conclusion, if you want to listen to more complex musical things, this is not hte best to start with. Start with "Vietato...". Don't get me wrong. This is not less a classic. It does not rapresent their point of maturity. The long acoustic interludes, the strange and unique lyrics, the non-emersonian piano and organ are well worthy of inclusion in any good prog rock collection.

The correct evaluation should be between 3,5 and 4 stars.

P.S. If you like Osanna, this album will also please you!

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars Jumbo's second album was recorded very soon after their debut and its release happened the same year. Still on the Phillips label, but offering a rather controversial gatefold artwork (with as well as an equally debate-sparking title, musically speaking, there is a world of difference between their debut and DNA, almost a genetically modified change, if you will. With an unchanged line-up, this is a very impressive change showing how quickly they matured. Don't be driven off by Alvaro Fella's reputation of having a difficult voice, this is completely inaccurate as he is in the average of Italian prog singers, no more, no less!

The album opens on the startling three-part sidelong suite Per Il Sig K, which is meant to be Kafka and refers to his Metamorphosis book about changing of life form (thanks to Andrea Cortese for this hint) and its 21 minutes. Right from the opening piano lines and the superb chilling flute solo following it, your mind immediately perks up: you're about to witness something special. The wild fuzzed-out guitar finally lead you in the first movement (8-min+) proper, which is rather hard-rocking even if the guitar solo suddenly takes a bluesy-jazz twist before almost losing itself, but the band comes in timely to rescue and revive the song, this time with a harmonica instead of the flute. Starting on another flute solo (not as successful as the first) and segueing into a duo with a guitar Ed Ora Corri (roughly 9-min) is the better of the three movement, often reminding of Tull's more eccentric moods, but plunging into a superb (again) bluesy solo session (guitar-harmonica-flute-guitar-manic laughs-organ & much more) which proves to be the centerpiece section of this suite. As this lengthy instrumental passage fades out, Dio E (a rework from their first album) ends this album on a more classical note. No doubt this Sig K suite is one of their best works, certainly equaling anything they've done for the next Vietato album.

The flipside opens on the Miss Rand, which at first I wrongly thought was about the "fascist-leaning" writer Ayn Rand, and I will add "unfortunately not" as this character happens to burn in her house. While starting with a very proggy riff, the middle section develops into a clunky piano ragtime piece, before reprising the opening riff but slower and more dramatically. The following track depicts the damages of time on the human body and psych, and is generally calmer and more plaintive, pastoral where Fella's voice can either disturb or rejoice the listener, but will not leave him cold. Not an immediate pleaser, this track will slowly unravel its charms to you with repeated listenings. The closing Hai Visto starts a bit confusingly until an Emersonian organ takes over, plunges the group into a classical (almost modern) theme superposed on a jazzy rhythm (could be found on Tull's Time Was) before the song finally kicks in, Fella's verse being interrupted by short wailing guitar solos or wild organ/flute duos.

One of the big debates about Jumbo fans is whether DNA is better or not than their defining Vietato album, and there are many pros on both sides, that I prefer not to choose, both being absolutely fantastic. Easily the best Italian pair of album, even surpassing my other fave Quella Vieccha Locanda's pair.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. Good album but I much prefer the one to follow "Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni ?", it just seems more electric and dynamic to me.

Certainly the highlight is "Suite Per Il Sig.K" the side long suite at over 20 minutes. I like the way certain themes are repeated throughout. A piano intro is followed up a minute in by acoustic guitar and flute. A full sound begins 2 1/2 minutes in as organ, guitar, drums are joined by vocals 3 minutes in. Harmonica a minute later is followed by an excellent raw guitar solo. More vocals and harmonica 6 1/2 minutes in. A beautiful passage of flute and piano before 8 minutes followed by a nice heavy sound. A flute solo 9 minutes in. Another full sound comes in a little after that. More harmonica after 12 minutes and a beautiful electric guitar solo. Nice. A pastoral section follows 14 minutes in. Check out the organ 15 1/2 minutes in ! More vocals, guitar and piano to end it. A nice journey.

"Miss Rand" has an uptempo intro before it quickly calms down. Harmonica and vocals are joined by piano in this catchy passage. Flute 2 1/2 minutes in, followed by some scorching guitar 3 minutes in. It calms down again before an uptempo ending. "E'Brutto Sentirsi Vecchi" is a mellow song with reserved vocals. Piano comes in. Flute before 4 minutes. "Hai Visto..." features some nice organ early followed by piano. Vocals 4 1/2 minutes in. Flute 6 minutes in followed by a pastoral section to end it.

I can't in good conscience give this 4 stars. It is enjoyable, but it lacks that fire I love on their next record.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 stars actually...

A significant reference for Italian progressive rock,JUMBO were formed in 1969 in Milan,named after the nickname of their leader singer/keyboardist/guitarist Alvaro Fella.They debuted with two singles in 1970,while their first full-length release came out in 1972 with their self-titled debut on Phillips,often regarded as a solo release of Fella and based heavily on acoustic instrumentation with only traces of the band's later sound.''DNA'',their sophomore release,came out the same year, this time with a rockier and more aggresive sound and great musicianship.

Side A is exclusively covered by the 20-min. epic ''Suite per il Sig.K'', a track deeped into changing rhythms and tempos.Led by the harsh,raw yet expressive vocals of Fella,JUMBO offer improvisational flutes,bluesy passages,psychedelic guitars,sensitive piano parts,some harmonica here and there and dominating Hammond organ in a composition listed among the best long tracks created by an Italian band.Side B starts from where the first track stopped.''Miss Rand'' is a decent composition with fantastic guitar work,pleasant piano,nice flutes and a bluesy feeling overall.The following and quite mellow ''E bruto sentiri...'' is very close to ''Trespass''-era GENESIS with nice acoustic guitars and beautiful flutes wrapped unter a light symph mucisianship,while Fella sings in a more soft tempo.The album closes with ''Hai visto'',where JUMBO deliver a great middle-section with jazzy influences,based on the tight rhythm section and the groovy piano,but the track closes with the vocals of Fella on front,a heavy amount of organ,the appropriate flutes and some sensitive acoustic instrumentation.

For fans of JETHRO TULL,this is definitely a masterpiece,I tell you!For the rest of the prog fans,I think it is a really very good album.Another great release coming out of Italy's best prog period.Recommended!

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Not to be missed, bluesy-prog fans

Strange. Usually when a band presents two sides of itself I will enjoy the more elaborate, the more "out there" work. This time it doesn't hold true. While Jumbo's final classic- era recording is rated slightly higher, it is their 2nd album, the gripping "DNA", which I find to be their masterpiece. Direct and raw with a nice balancing of contrasting sounds and cohesive themes. Nothing but pure human emotion, graced by melancholic acoustic beauty on one hand and charged with a raw bluesy power on the other. Atop these two dynamic legs you have the gut wrenching vocals of Mr. Jumbo himself. Sans the attempts at sophistication that the next album brought, there is only the pure magic here. Jumbo is one of RPI's first tier bands who actually managed to record more than one album and they are certainly one of the best in my opinion.

"DNA" was recorded in just one week, so typical of the time and place, and proof that the old Italian bands could use pressure to create more magic in days than today's stars can manage in months, with their budgets, tour riders, and computers. It is true that the second side of this album does not quite rise to the level of the side-long masterpiece suite of the first, but it is still good. Side one's "Suite per il Sig. K" is just phenomenal in its simplicity, passion, and connection to something inside. It combines bold and forceful piano with delicate and melodic flute play, backed by sprightly acoustic play and jamming electric rock guitar. The electric has a tortured fuzzed-up distortion that manages to rival Alvaro's grizzly bear roar. Throw in the occasional organ textures and you've got it made. As with "Thick as a Brick," to who's fans I highly recommend this baby brother of an album, the piece alternates between extremes and features a good composition. While perhaps not as fancy as "Thick" or polished as some of its more elegant Italian peers, Jumbo makes up by pushing harder. This album combines the raucous energy of Flea's "Topi o Uomini" with the stunning authenticity of the Grateful Dead's seminal "American Beauty." Different style than the latter of course, I'm talking about feelings and impressions here. Scented Gardens correctly notes DNA as combining "heavy progressive and blues-rock with classical references." There's no need for me to bring out the charts and graphs here, this album is the real damn deal. Just one more home run for 1972.

Get the BTF gatefold mini-lp sleeve CD edition for great sound and a nice booklet.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The debut album from the band was not really exciting as far as I'm concerned. Heavy and blues oriented music sung in Italian. Big deal?

The epic "Suite Per Il Sig" opens more promisingly, at least if ISP is your cup of tea, as it is mine. The introduction is sweet, full of sentimentalism thanks to a moving instrumental part.

It would be unfair not to mention the average and rough vocals from the lead man in charge: Alvaro Fella. I really don't like his timber of voice (it was already a comment of mine for their debut album). He sounds as if one would nail him to the cross while performing.

There are an awful lot of Tull related passages during this long song (almost twenty-one minutes). These are my fave even if not very original. There are also some heavier moments which are the occasion for the guitar to soar and for the organ to pump. This song is really great as long as it remains instrumental (which is mostly the case, fortunately) and is a definite four stars.

I can't be as laudatory about the remaining three tracks: vocals are still painful (believe me) and the song writing is quite thin. Neither the rock "Miss Rand" nor the acoustic and sentimental "E' Brutto?" which sounds not too bad, given the circumstances?

The jazzy "Hai Visto" features some fine and heavy organ for brief moments, and the flute work is quite melodic. But again, vocals are quite disturbing.

I belong to the one third of reviewers who believes that this album is a good one and not to the third that thinks it this is a masterpiece.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Jumbo are a very interesting Italian prog band who owe less to the classically inspired symphonic bands that were prevalent in that country and more to the blues laden sound of early Jethro Tull. They blend powerful and bombastic sections with much use of acoustic instrumentation creating an exciting dynamic sound.

Suite Per Il Sig. K opens the album and took up the first side in the good old days of vinyl. It's perhaps Jumbo's finest moment. A lone piano leads the way for acoustic guitar and flute and into a heavier section with stabbing organ and raw electric guitar. Equally raw is the emotive vocals of Alvaro Fella who may not be to everyone's taste. The piece moves through sections of powerful instrumental soloing, bluesy acoustic guitar, mouth organ, flute and piano dominated quieter moments to Jethro Tull inspired sections. The subtle build three quarters of the way in is fantastic as the organ solos away over the top. This really is excellent stuff and if the entire album was this good would easily warrant five stars. However the rest of the album doesn't quite live up to the set standard.

Miss Rand, though having its moments disappoints and after a promising start develops into a kind of ragtime/honky tonk style song. E' Brutto Sentirsi Vecchi, an acoustic track is better showing off Fella's expressive vocal delivery perfectly. Best of all on side 2 though is Hai Visto..., which returns to the standard set on Suite Per Il Sig. K. With a strong jazz flavour in parts.

Jumbo wont be to everyone's taste's but if you've already explored the more obvious RPI gems of Banco, PFM and Le Orme and are looking for something a bit different then they could be the band for you.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Jumbo took their name from the nickname of lead singer Alvaro Fella, a vocalist with a distinctive gravelly voice who sounds to me like an Italian Alex Harvey. Opinions seem to differ on whether this or their following album ''Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni'' is the better, but in truth they're both excellent. The first half of this album is taken up by the 20-minute ''Suite Per Il Sig K'', an absolutely storming blues-prog epic that overflows with energetic flute phrases and blues-harp licks. The remainder of the album is perhaps a bit of an anti-climax after this track, although there's never what you might call a dull moment. Dario Guidotti's superb harmonica and flute combo is well to the fore again on ''Miss Rand'', an apparently lighthearted tale about a teacher being burned alive in a housefire! The lyrics are in Italian of course, but I'll take a fellow reviewer's word for it that it's funny. ''E'Brutto Sentirsi Vecchi'' is a fairly downbeat acoustic piece that laments the effects of growing old (tell me about it!), while closing song ''Hai Visto'' sees the album out with some interesting psychedelic organ and jazz- spirited piano. DNA is one of the finest blues-based prog albums around, a bold mix of invention of passion with obvious similarities to the embryonic Jethro Tull. Great stuff indeed.
Review by andrea
5 stars Jumbo were formed in Milan on the initiative of multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Alvaro Fella (vocals, guitar, sax, keyboards, percussion) who in 1971 gathered around him a line up featuring Daniele Bianchini (electric guitar), Sergio Conte (keyboards), Dario Guidotti (flute, harmonica, acoustic guitar, percussion), Vito Balzano (drums, percussion) and Aldo Gargano (bass, guitar). After a good but not impressive eponymous debut album, in 1972 they released the excellent "DNA", a concept album featuring strong criticism against society, where they managed to shape an original sound blending acoustic ballads with hard rock and progressive. Alvaro Fella's committed lyrics and his peculiar theatrical way of singing provided and additional touch of colour to their music and the result is amazing.

The opener "Suite per il sig. K" is a long and complex track in three parts. The first one, "Sta accadendo qualcosa dentro me" (Something is happening inside me) begins softly. Piano, acoustic guitar and flute set a quiet and dark atmosphere, then heavy electric guitar riffs announce an impending change, a turmoil that is going to shake the ordinary life of a common man... "I was given the voice and I can't scream / I was given the thought and I can't think anymore / I've got something inside me that is killing me day after day / It makes me sick as soon as I look around / Something is happening inside me... Someone taught me that a good man goes to paradise / But he was wrong / He taught me to keep on going forward as well, blowing with my elbows / But there are so many obstacles... Something is happening inside me!". Nothing matters but making money and struggling to climb up the social ladder... And one day you feel sick and fed up! After a distorted electric guitar passage rhythm calm down and acoustic guitar and harmonica lead to a bitter atmosphere of regret and to the second part, "Ed ora corri..." (And now you have to run). A whole life wasted away on duty, running after glory and power, no time to think to love or to suffering people... "You, who used to look always straight foreword / You didn't see them and they were so many / They used to stop to pray / You didn't see them, you were so busy / You didn't care of good and evil / You were too busy climbing the stairs...". Rhythm takes off, time is running out... "And now you have to run / You are freezing... You were blind and now you don't know / How to close your eyes, how to prey...". The final part "Dio ..." (God is) is a solemn crescendo leading to a new awareness... "I spent whole nights seeking for a reason / But finally I've understood... God is the love I feel for my woman / God is the love I feel for people / God is the love that you give to others without anything in exchange...".

"Miss Rand" is an ironic track about the need for help. "Someone shouts:- A house is burning! / She's been calling for half an hour but nobody comes... Miss Rand's house is burning... Miss Rand burned along with her house...". Perhaps it's not by chance that the name of the burning woman is Rand... Amy Rand (1905 ? 1982) was a novelist and philosopher who promoted a movement called "objectivism" claiming that every man must exist for his own sake and that the pursuit of his own rational self-interest and his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life...

"E' brutto sentirsi vecchi" (It's awful feeling old) is a bitter sweet acoustic ballad against "objectivism". The pace is slow and the mood is blue... "It's awful feeling old / When you are so young / Feeling the need to sit down, to lay on the ground doing nothing but sleeping... It's awful feeling the need to cry / When you are so young... You can't trust your better friend / You do not dare to think of your future... It's awful thinking only to food / When you are so young / Thinking to no one but yourself / Ignoring what there's around you... It's awful thinking to die / When you are so young...".

Last track "Ho visto..." (I've seen) features a long and complex intro featuring jazz touches and a swirling flute, then organ introduces to apocalyptic visions... Burning stars, a threatening sea, volcanic eruptions and snakes spitting venom... "You've seen the dogs tearing apart your children / You've seen the water carrying away your mother... You have seen the light shouting doom / You've seen... Then nothing".

Review by Warthur
3 stars An interesting RPI album with a bluesier, rockier, more Tull-influenced approach than most of its contemporaries (though the obligatory borrowing from Trespass-era Genesis is still a factor). The lead singer's voice is a big draw, as many other reviewers have noted, but at the same time I feel that this album just doesn't quite pull its musical ideas together enough to avoid being overshadowed by contemporary albums from Le Orme, Premiata Forneria Marconi, or Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. It's a fun ride if you want your RPI to rock out a little more than PFM typically do, but I wouldn't make it your first port of call if you were just beginning to explore Italian prog.
Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars The differences between the two albums released by Milan based JUMBO in 1972 are quite staggering. It seems to me that leader and vocalist Alvaro Fella was living in a 60s psych bubble and didn't keep up with the changing musical landscape around him as the eponymous debut release sounded like it easily could've been slipped into the 1968-69 timeline and no one would've thought anything was unusual, however somewhere between the debut release and the sophomore album which emerged only a few months later in the same year of 1972, Fella and his large ensemble of musicians got the word that progressive rock was en vogue and that a serious musical adjustment was in order to fit in with the times.

Of course since the world of progressive rock is all about complexities in the music, it meant that the solo project of Fella turned into a fully functioning band with all the members upping their game to create the more distinguished compositions required of more complex music. The result of this upgrade is the followup DNA which didn't exactly jettison the bluesy rock and folk textures of the debut album but merely augmented them until they sparkled of a more polished sophistication which makes this album much more interesting than the first. Therefore DNA didn't embrace classical music templates as its main compositional flow but rather retained the heavy psych and blues aspects of 1960s psychedelic rock making this album a somewhat rare example of progressive heavy blues rock.

And these guys didn't waste any time announcing that they were progging out big time as the first side of this album is completely swallowed up by the near twenty-one minute "Suite Per II Sig. K" which includes three extended passages ("Sta Accadendo Qualcosa Dentro Me," "Ed Ora Corri," "Dio E") that added liberal senses of adventurism that the debut lacked. JUMBO definitely stood out in the crowded world of early 1970s progressive rock. While PFM, Banco and many other Italian bands were based in the realms of symphonic prog, JUMBO on DNA featured a busy flute section more akin to Jethro Tull however the musical scales implements sound more Italian than English. The hard rock heft of the guitar crunch also shows an Osanna influence. The year 1972 was when Italian bands really started to find their own personality and the next few years would inspire a tidal wave of creative music.

Also unique is Alvaro Fella's grizzled vocal style. While exuding a passion in the vein of classic Italian singers and very much in Italian, his raspy vocals sound very much in opposition to the more operatic approach of his contemporaries. The extensive use of organ also harkens back to the psychedelic 60s rather than the classical symphonic wizardry of other Italian bands but somehow all of these quirks are what give DNA its unique personality although JUMBO would completely reinvent itself for its third and final tour de force album that followed, "Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni." The opening near 21-minute "Suite Per II Sig. K" is perhaps the longest blues rock based magnum opus i've ever experienced. Somehow it deftly teases out the blues rock into a lengthy three suit sprawler with some nice time signature deviations and subtle contrapuntal nuances that keep it inspired throughout.

The rest of the album features three shorter tracks but all over five minutes. "Miss Rand" takes on a more direct progressive rock stance with choppy guitar riffing followed by church organs but then jumps into acoustic guitar and harmonica thus sounding a bit like an Italian Bob Dylan! The tempo picks up and some honky tonk piano rolls in. It's a rip roarin' good time! "E Brutto Sentirsi Vecchi" takes on a pastoral folk vibe not too far from what Genesis was doing on "Nursery Cryme" and "Foxtrot" with ample doses of dueling flute and molasses slow tempos. It's essentially the ballad of the album. The acoustic guitar performs some nice unusual chord progressions and fidgety time signatures. "Hai Visto" jumps back into heavy psych action with a beefy bass groove, guitar rock heft and hyperactive psychedelic organ runs and then shape shifts into jazzy piano rolls. It takes several minutes for the vocals to kick in but then it settles into mellow flute led folk. A bit of a fizzle to end an album but pleasant nonetheless.

While not nearly as captivating as JUMBO's grand finale, the energetic powerhouse "Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni," DNA provided a fascinating transition from non-prog blues rock to totally prog blues rock which opened the doors for the band to go gangbuster on the next album. This album features no bad tracks per se but the continuity is a bit amiss. It seems a bit aimless at times but never in a totally bad way. I would've hoped for a more energetic conclusion towards the end as the folky finale just sort of peters out with no climactic conclusion. Perhaps just a two minute delivery of some sort of uproar would've injected just a bit more of life into this oft sleepy creeper. Despite these minor quips, DNA is actually a really beautiful album that stands apart from virtually everything else of the day. While not as perfect as what came after and not nearly as accomplished as the giants of the contemporary RPI scene, DNA is nevertheless an excellent example of a band taking the more straight forward sounds of blues, rock and folk and decorating them like a Christmas tree with progressive ornamentation.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Singer Alvaro Fella of Jumbo has a voice that can only be described as guttural, off-putting, and visceral. But these superficial qualities are made up for in spades with sheer emotion and passion in his vocal delivery. While Jumbo's debut album (released only a few months earlier) was essentially ... (read more)

Report this review (#491526) | Posted by coasterzombie | Thursday, July 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars JUMBO DNA . What a great album it is! I think DNA is better than Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni? album. The rythum is good. and the gitar play is good. the vocal is also good enough. And I have seen DNA is quite high degree in Italian Prog site. yes I totally agree.Maybe top 5 has deserve in many ... (read more)

Report this review (#79474) | Posted by bspark0413 | Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars OK! This album is great, simply because there is nothing missing in it. Hearty (and heart-impacting) vocals from Alvaro Fella gives it a unique impact (and gives "some" special surrounding effects...), while instrumentation is fantastic, with passages ranging between rock & blues & jazz, " ... (read more)

Report this review (#40674) | Posted by NIC* | Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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