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Napoli Centrale

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Napoli Centrale Napoli Centrale album cover
3.67 | 58 ratings | 5 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Campagna (7:56)
2. 'A gente 'e bucciano (8:42)
3. Pensione floridiana (3:32)
4. Viecchie, mugliere, muorte e criature (10:02)
5. Vico primo parisee n8 (7:37)
6. 'O lupo s'ha mangiato 'a pecurella (6:49)

Total Time: 44:38

Line-up / Musicians

- James Senese / sax, flute, vocals
- Mark Harris / keyboards
- Franco Del Prete / keyboards
- Toni Walmsley / bass

Releases information

LP-Ricordi-SMRL 6159-Ita-1975 / CD-BMG-74321 86015-2 & BMG-MPCD 32948-2-1995

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Geck0 for the last updates
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NAPOLI CENTRALE Napoli Centrale ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

NAPOLI CENTRALE Napoli Centrale reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
3 stars After playing in the Italian art pop band "Showmen 2", James Senese and Franco Del Prete formed what would become one of the most intriguing and unique bands of the early 70's. Centered around a fusion rock core, NAPOLI CENTRALE's debut album convincingly combined Jazz and progressive rock. Once again this album defies simple categorization, but the music is highly exploratory and very progressive in approach. Kind of a mix of NATIONAL HEALTH with GENTLE GIANT, Herbie Hancock and a good dose of WEATHER REPORT. Instrumentally these guys love to groove with lots of sax, fender electric piano, bass and drums. Vocals are not central but are well done and sung in native Italian... kind of a nice full soulful voice. I know that today their music back catalogue is in demand as folk are re-discovering this band's early creativity. I would highly recommend this album to any progressive rock fan who likes the Cantebury or jazz prog side of this genre.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars NAPOLI CENTRALE were born after a melodic soft prog/beat group named ''Showmen'' split with founder members James Senese (saxes,flutes,vocals) and Franco Del Prete (drums,percussion) carrying on to form this very good jazz/fusion act.Joined by American keyboardist Mark Harris and English bassist Tony Walmsley NAPOLI CENTRALE released firstly a single (''Campagna/Vico promo parise n.8'') and soon after their eponymous debut on Ricordi Label.

Not far from the sound established by RETURN TO FOREVER and WEATHER REPORT and followed by their compatriots NOVA,the band created a nice jazz rock album sung entirely by Senese in the neapolitan dialect with the typical elements met in good jazz musicians.A very complex rhythm section supports the alternating smooth/heavy playing of Senese mainly on saxes with a slight dose of flutes here and there.Mark Harris prooves to be excellent keyboard player with his Fender electric piano dominating the compositions with rich and well-arranged passages,often accompanied by Senese's saxes.There are also some AREA-related parts with very improvisational vocal performance and intense musicianship to close the band's trully strong profile.Dealing with social issues,a famous subject of discussion in mid-70's Italy,NAPOLI CENTRALE were both talented musicians and sceptic citizens and their debut is good introduction to their skillful sound. Recommended,especially for jazz/fusion lovers!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Drummer Franco Del Prete and sax player James Senese both from Napoli, Italy had played together in a band previous to this playing Pop music. They decided to go in a completely different direction (Jazz) in 1975 adding Americam keyboardist Mike Harris and British bass player Toni Walmsley. I think WEATHER REPORT would be the closest reference but there is a definite Italian flavour here. I have to thank Todd for the recommendation.This took longer to get into then I thought it would, but now i'm hooked big time. I can just imagine sitting in a bar in Napoli, Italy watching these guys play in the mid seventies with Todd, Jim and Thomas. The place would be hazy with smoke and the smell of spilled beer as NAPOLI CENTRALE offer up there own special blend of fun, experimental and mind blowing Jazz. It would have been too much fun.

"Campagna" was actually a minor hit for the band in their home country of Italy. It's led by electric piano and sax early (some flute too) while the drumming is very intricate and presice. Spoken words a minute in and then the tempo picks up. Vocals come in as piano, drums and sax stand out. We're grooving now, just jamming away. The instrumental work is fantastic ! "A Gente E Bucciano" opens with sax but settles quickly and i'm thinking WEATHER REPORT. Some atmosphere in this one. Vocals start to lead the way then piano, drums and bass support. Sax comes in when the vocals stop. Love the piano / drum section that follows. Sax is back ! This is great ! Vocals return late. Great tune. "Pensione Floridiana" is led by smooth sax, prominant bass and electric piano. The drums are light until about 2 minutes in when they dominate trading off with the sax.

"Viecchie, Mugliere, Muorte E Criaturi" has this cool intro that's a little dissonant then it becomes catchy with sax and vocals sharing the spotlight. This is my favourite track on here. Drums and piano lead 2 1/2 minutes in then the sax comes in ripping it up then the vocalist takes a turn.10 minutes of hypnotic bliss. Thomas rushes up to the bar for another round (he speaks Italian). "Vico Primo Parise N.8" has an excellent uptempo soundscape of sax, drums, bass and e-piano. So much going on with all these intricate sounds coming and going and intertwining. Some crazy sax and vocals late. "O Lupo S'ha Mangiato 'a Pecurella" is laid back with outbursts of sax and electric piano ealy. It turns a little melancholic as the sax takes a more prominant role. The last section sounds like a party with laughing and yelling. Or is that just Todd and Jim. No it's actually the band having too much fun. It does end with music though. I'm just sad it ends.

Review by andrea
5 stars Napoli Centrale were formed in Naples in 1974 on the initiative of James Senese (sax, vocals) and Franco Del Prete (drums) after their experience in another band called the Showmen 2. They joined forces with American keyboardist Mark Harris and British bassist Tony Walmsley and in 1975 released an eponymous debut album blending in an original way Mediterranean roots and jazz rock. James Senese's father was an American soldier who had been working in the base of Naples and his mother was a Neapolitan girl, perhaps that's why the fusion between Afro-American music and Neapolitan folklore sounds so natural and authentic in the band's output. Franco Del Prete committed lyrics in Neapolitan dialect add a touch of colour contributing to express what's an almost a tribal rage. They perfectly fit the music composed by James Senese where you can find influences ranging from Weather Report and Miles Davis to Osanna.

The opener "Campagna" (Countryside) begins softly with a short intro featuring shy flutes notes... Then the rhythm section starts pulsing while vocals describe in a caustic way how "beautiful" is the countryside. Lyrics depicts the miserable life of the farm labourers, exploited by their greedy employers... "Countryside / How beautiful is the country... But it is more beautiful for the landlord!". The rhythm is full of energy and James Senese's draws fiery sax passages under a midday sun. This track was released also as a single and was quite successful in Italy. An absolutely unexpected result for such kind of song!

"'A gente 'e Bucciano" (The people from Bucciano) is a long track featuring jazz and funky influences and obstinate drum patterns. Bucciano is a village in the province of Caserta and the song is about the workers that had to emigrate from the countryside of South Italy to the industrial cities of the North. "Hunger is stronger than the love for the countryside... And now the people of Bucciano live in the North and work in the factories / Where they throw away blood and health...Why? Why? Why?". Well, the answer is rather venomous and caustic... "Because the Pope is not the King!".

The instrumental "Pensione Floridiana" (Guest-house Floridiana) is the shortest track on the album. It's more relaxed, almost dreamy. It leads to evocative "Viecchie, mugliere, muorte e criaturi" (Old women, wives, dead and little children), another excellent long track dealing with the issue of emigration. Music and lyrics depicts a village where all the men are gone to work elsewhere, far away. What's left is a desolated place where you can't find no one but old women, wives, dead, little children, crippled men or skinny and hungry dogs. The atmosphere is dark and the rhythm almost hypnotic but the result is intense and dramatic. The instrumental "Vico Primo Parise n. 8" is lighter. It features a powerful jazz rock veined of funky where keyboards and sax perfectly interact with the rhythm section. Vocals here are used as an instrument adding touches of colour all along the way. According to some sources, the title is the address of the house where Napoli Centrale's leader James Senese was born, in the district of Miano in Naples .

The last track "'O lupo s'ha mangiato 'a pecurella" (The wolf has eaten the little sheep) features a strong folkloric flavour. It seems to have been conceived as the soundtrack of a film. It begins softly, you have to shut your eyes and try to guess what's going on... Narrow streets, shadows moving along the walls... Then you can hear someone who is laughing, some other sarcastically comments that the wolf has eaten the little sheep... Many voices of men and women, the sounds of a market... "Don't worry / Take it easy and sleep in peace...".

This album has been extremely influential on the music scene of Naples and should be considered as essential in an Italianprog collection. It is usually considered the cornerstone of a whole new music subgenre very popular during the eighties and called "Neapolitan Power", featuring artists like Pino Daniele, Tullio De Piscopo, Enzo Avitabile and others. A kind of world music mixing blues and Mediterranean roots...

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars There's some real ugly saxophone at the start of this one. Damn! - I hate saxophones almost as much as bagpipes - and I'm from Scotland!

Thankfully things turn out quite nicely on this non remarkable album from Italy, sounding like incidental music from 'Kojak' or 'Starsky and Hutch' from the mid Seventies.

Pretty much like a poor man's version of Weather Report from the same era. It's nice enough, but shows nothing new whatsoever in the grand scheme of things. There is however some very good keyboard playing by some guy called Franco Del Prete and those saxophones do seem to fit seamlessly into the album the more it progresses. Not bad at all, but nothing too adventurous. One for fans of 70's Cop shows I think.

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