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Agora AgorÓ 2 album cover
3.92 | 65 ratings | 7 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Punto Rosso (5:29)
2. Pyramid di Domani (6:06)
3. Tall El Zaatar (8:29)
4. La Bottega di Duilio (5:56)
5. Simbiosi (Vasi Comunicanti) (5:33)
6. Cavalcota Solare (8:42)

Total Time 40:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Roberto Bacchiocchi / keyboards, vocals
- Ovidio Urbani / saxophone
- Renato Gasparini / guitar, vocals
- Lucio Cesari / bass, percussion
- Mauro Mencaroni / drums, vocals
- Nino Russo / saxophone, percussion

Releases information

LP Atlantic (T 50324) 1976
CD BTF/VM2000 (VMCD 087) 2003

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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AGORA AgorÓ 2 ratings distribution

(65 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(63%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

AGORA AgorÓ 2 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars AGORA were a six piece Jazz band from Italy. This album was released in 1976 and I concur with what is stated on the "Gepr" site, that their music is "similar to PERIGEO's better stuff".

"Punto Rosso" opens with electric piano as a fuller sound comes in quickly. Impressive ! Reminds me of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. Some excellent drum work here before it settles again. Sax comes blasting in before 2 1/2 minutes. There's so much going on .The guitar a minute later is fantastic. "Piramid Di Domani" has some atmosphere to open as acoustic guitar comes in. We get a melody 2 1/2 minutes in. The rest of the song is such a pleasure to listen to. "Tall El Zaatar" features intricate drumming with sax and electric piano early. It settles right down 3 minutes in then starts to build a minute later. Love the drumming ! The guitar 6 minutes in is great, very intricate and tasteful.

"La Bottega Di Duilio" has these solemn sax melodies before it kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. Some nice guitar and drum work as sax plays over top. More impressive guitar 4 minutes in as the bass throbs. "Simbiosi (Vasi Comunicanti)" is a sad song with mellow piano and sax throughout. There is a brief outburst before 4 1/2 minutes. "Cavalcota Solare" is a great way to end this album. It's like everything is being held back here, lots of tension. A brief flurry 3 minutes in but it settles quikly. The next outburst is after 4 minutes as the guitar rips it up. And again after 6 1/2 minutes but it stays uptempo this time. I like everything about this track.

So 4 stars is a must for this extremely well played and arranged music.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If the post-74 years were not exactly kind to progressive rock, jazz-rock still thrived. Every country seemed to sprout multiple bands daring their hand at it, and while not reaching the ground-breaking levels of creativity and originality of the early 70's pioneers, many amazing albums continued to be released. Also this one from the Italian band Agora.

Agora only released two albums, this studio album and a short live document that preceded it. In every possible way, Agora 2 is a perfection of the potential they had shown on the preceding live album. Weather Report and Perigeo (another Italian fusion band) are the main sources for inspiration on this sax and keyboard dominated fusion album. There is a guitar player as well but his presence remains more subtle then the rock-out dominance of a John McLaughnin or Al DiMeola.

The album has a rich atmosphere, relaxed, melancholic and mysterious, just as on Weather Report's first two albums. The music is very harmonious, not as free-styled as Weather Report but not too melodic neither. To sum it up, it found a nice balance between musicianship, ambience, gracefully drifting compositions and accessibility. The interplay between the musicians is amazing, constantly changing lead sections as if in dialogue with one another.

Agora is hardly the most original band out there, but they sure crafted a brilliant and moving jazz-rock album. A recommended entry point into the more atmospheric realm of fusion.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars '2' - Agora (81/100)

Although Agora's 2 might imply a predecessor, this was actually their first studio output. Agora's first album was Live at Montreux; even if they hadn't released anything yet, Agora had earned respect enough to have played the prestigious jazz festival. That should hopefully say something about the band's quality as performers. Try to imagine what the Mahavishnu Orchestra may have sounded like if John McLaughlin had favoured the keys over the electric guitar, and you should have a pretty good idea what these Italian fusioneers sound like. Barring a compilation called Ichinen they released earlier this year, 2 is to date the only 'true' full-length Agora have ever put out. It's a real shame too, because this is one of the strongest 'surprise finds' I've found in fusion for quite some time.

Jazz fusion (and prog fusion in particular) has the tendency to go one of two ways. It's either stark and challenging in its intent or smooth and relaxing; artists that can find a strong balance between the two (IE: Miles Davis circa "In a Silent Way" or Mahavishnu Orchestra) tend to have the greatest effect on me as a listener. Agora never seems to stray needlessly, but the music often feels driven more by exploration than composition. The saxophone and Rhodes piano are given the most range here, with the thoughtfully melodic leads of the former generally paving the way on most of the songs here. Somewhat surprisingly, the band I may be most reminded of listening to Agora is Van der Graaf Generator; even if Van der Graaf Generator only ever flirted with the jazz world, there are plenty of similarities in the way Agora have given their music a dark tone in spite of the typically 'bright' instruments that have been used to portray it.

Even during the album's most laid-back passages, Agora offer plenty to keep the attentive listener occupied. The approach to composition has clearly been designed with the intent of giving the instrumentation room to breathe and explore, but the way the music will always fall back on thick, band-oriented harmonies keeps the album feeling focused. Other reviews of 2 I've read tend to state that Agora have written something ambient or 'background-ish' here. In a way, most jazz music has a potential to be considered that way. As is the case with many creatively successful bands of their type, there's both atmosphere and detail on 2 to satisfy the ambient and attentive listeners alike. Although I suppose the point's invalidated with Ichinen to some extent, I'm really disappointed Agora never put out more records. It's not often a 'new' jazz band impresses me like this; if you're any bit into the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the jazzier end of Van der Graaf Generator or the classic sound of prog-fusion in general, check out this album and see what you think of it.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Upon returning from the performance in Montreux back to Italy, Agora would have a first line-up change with bassist Paolo Colafrancesco replaced by Lucio Cesari (who would also play some percussion), while Nino Russo was added as a second saxophonist.It was time for the band's studio debut, simply titled ''2'', captured at the CAP Studios in Milan during a two-week session in September 76' and released later in the year on Atlantic.

Agora always played on the more free side of Jazz Rock and electric Fusion and ''2'' marks another confident set of performances by the Italian group, including hot keyboard solos, reckless guitar moves and endless sax passages, some lovely and melodic solos to go along with more improvised parts can be found in the album, which contained only brand new compositions.Agora's music was based on soft rhythmic patterns surrounded by occasional solos by the instrumentalists, never escaping from the principles of RETURN TO FOREVER and the likes, so originality is not a matter of discussion here, even the acoustic moments are close to the sound of Chick Corea and his company.But the music is fairly interesting with great bass and drum work, naughty electric piano and full-blown saxes, as the guitars play a secondary role, too pitty, because Gasparini's are pretty excellent but very limited.They even execute some acquainted methods on tropical and sunny Fusion, filled with ethereal sax blows and dreamy piano, often complemented by dramatic breaks and more powerful executions.Music, that displays same rare dynamics in its own path through mellow and balanced Jazz Rock.

Another cool attempt by Agora on the Return to Forever stylings.Solid Jazz Fusion with a free spirit but also a certain sense of melodic sensibilty.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by andrea
4 stars Agora' 2 is the second album by Agora' and their first studio work. It was released in 1976 with a renewed line up featuring Roberto Bacchiocchi (keyboards), Ovidio Urbani (sax), Renato Gasparini (guitar), Mauro Mencaroni (drums), Nino Russo (sax, percussion) and Lucio Cesari (bass, percussion) and marks a step forward for the band that here is clearly focused on refining their jazz-rock sound showcasing a strong leaning for experimentalism and great musicianship. The wonderful artwork by Mario Convertino in some way captures this attitude with a nice black and white drawing...

The dreamy opener 'Punto Rosso' (Red Point) is a nice, accessible track with a great interaction between all the instruments that every now and again could recall The Mahavishnu Orchestra. The following 'Piramide di domani' (Pyramid of Tomorrow) starts calmly by hypnotic bass lines and a good acoustic guitar work, then the other instruments come in building a mysterious atmosphere sprinkled with exotic flavours.

The long, melancholic 'Tall El Zaatar' ends the first side of the original vinyl. Here the title refers to the tragic siege of Tel al-Zaatar, a fortified, UNRWA-administered refugee camp housing Palestinian refugees in north-eastern Beirut that was carried out by Phalangist forces in August 1976. It's a kind of committed jazz elegy in memory of the victims...

The second side of the album opens with 'La bottega di Duilio' (Duilio's workshop) that, according to an interview with Ovidio Urbani, was inspired by a man who owned a workshop near the rehearsal room of the band in Serra San Quirico, a very special character in the life of that little town. The piece starts by a percussive pattern that introduces you in his strange laboratory and ironmonger's shop...

'Simbiosi (Vasi comunicanti)' (Symbiosis ' Communicating vessels) was built up starting from a piano improvisations in the studio by Roberto Bacchiocchi and then elaborated with contribute of the other members of the band in a perfect symbiosis. In fact, the subtitle of this track refers to the name given to a set of containers containing a homogeneous fluid: when the liquid settles, it balances out to the same level in all of the containers regardless of the shape and volume of the containers. If additional liquid is added to one vessel, the liquid will again find a new equal level in all the connected vessels. Here this principle is applied to the music...

The long closer 'Cavalcata solare' (Solar ride) is a kind of psychedelic jazz ride through the space. It starts slowly, then the rhythm rises for a long journey into unknown territories and forgotten dreamlands. This track was also released as a single and ends an album that is really worth listening to.

Unfortunately, despite the good quality of their music, Agora' disbanded in 1978 on account of the difficulties to make a living in the troubled, asphyxial Italian music business of the years of lead'

Latest members reviews

4 stars I am still a novice in the jazz genre and is desperate fighting my urges to become an out and out jazz fan. There is something in jazz that appeals to me. In particular when it is done by Soft Machine and the Canterbury bands. Those bands who mixes jazz and British prog rock. Agora from Italy o ... (read more)

Report this review (#463306) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, June 17, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Agora studio performance, with a great fusion atmosphere. In Perigeo vein, this Italian band are one of the best made in this country, with a great guitar and drumer players. Great improvisations in some parts, and great melodious in another's, made this album a masterpieace in Europe Jazz Fus ... (read more)

Report this review (#219644) | Posted by JoŃo Paulo | Wednesday, June 3, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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