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NOVA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Italy


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Nova biography
Initially named UNO, the band was created in London in the mid-70's by ex-members of CERVELLO and OSANNA, namely guitarist Corrado Rustici, guitarist Danilo Rustici and sax & flute player Elio D'Anna. The roster of permanent and guest musicians spread over their four albums is impressive: Morris Pert, Phil Collins, Ric Parnell (IBIS, ATOMIC ROOSTER), Narrada Michael Walden (SANTANA) and Franco Lo Previte (CIRCUS 2000, DUELLO MADRE) f{ and that only covers the drums & percussion department. Other contributors include keyboard player Renato Rosset (NEW TROLLS ATOMIC SYSTEM), classical conga virtuoso Zakir Hussain and three bassists: Percy Jones, Barry Johnson (Lenny White's band TWENNYNINE) and Luciano Milanese. As you will have guessed by now, their sound a lot like BRAND X (note that NOVA are not totally instrumental but their vocals are kept to a minimum).

They released four albums between 1976 and 1978. ¡§Blink¡¨, being the first, is not as polished as the others but still offers lengthy jams with sumptuous guitar/sax dialogues. The more mature "Vimana", a Robert Lumley production, focuses on compositions rather than technical wizardry and is considered their best; among other goodies, it showcases bassist Percy Jones¡¦ pleasantly fluid fretless style as well as guitarist Danilo Rustici who truly shines throughout (echoes of John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, John Goodsall and Larry Coryell come to the mind). With "Wings of Love", the band seemed to take a new direction, what with the shorter track format and in particular bassist Barry Johnson¡¦s funky style, so different from Percy Jones¡¦. Their final release, "Sun City", features still shorter tracks and an even funkier edge, the overall feel approaching mainstream jazz rock. No matter which one you pick, however, all albums are packed with tension, rhythmic energy and technical brilliance. A treat for all fusion enthusiasts.

Highly recommended to fans of BRAND X, RETURN TO FOREVER, WEATHER REPORT and BILL BRUFORD.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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NOVA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

NOVA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 36 ratings
Blink
1976
3.38 | 31 ratings
Vimana
1976
3.59 | 23 ratings
Wings of Love
1977
3.67 | 9 ratings
Sun City
1978

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NOVA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blink by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.85 | 36 ratings

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Blink
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

5 stars Superb delivery - bursting with energy!

This Italian band are a rare find of very impressive and pleasing Jazz-Rock material. From beginning to end, they just keep pulsating - as if there was no tomorrow.

Comparisons with Nucleus, mid-term Soft Machine (Six) on steroids would not be misplaced here. To my ears though, it's perhaps closer to IF than anything else.

There are some funky rhythms present, but not in a commercial, African-American manner, rather groovy instead.

The presence of Morris Pert (of Brand X and else fame) is a pleasant surprise and - no doubt - adds to the band's credibility enormously.

My usual gripe is the vocals. Not really bad, only excess to requirement. They may not fragment the complete works, but wouldn't be missed. Still, one could get used to (or ignore) them. With that in mind, my 4.5 rating here is rounded up to 5. Great work!

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 Wings of Love  by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.59 | 23 ratings

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Wings of Love
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by gr8dane

4 stars This is indeed a jewel.I got it when it came out,but lost it around 1983.Then about 4 or 5 years ago I came across it,at a decent price as a Japanese print CD.(So there Tszirmay,it was out on CD and happy hunting).I was very pleased when it arrived at my door.

The music is indeed some Mahavishnu Orch,Return To Forever and maybe some Jean Luc Ponty without the violin but Woodwinds,sax instead.These guys made some very catchy music indeed and gives you a feel of you can walk without touching the ground.All musicians are excellent.I think the cheese factor people are talking about and I can see why,is with the singing and the lyrics.Lyrics are in the cosmic glossy eyed Sri Chimnoy vein.There are 3 instrumentals out of 8 songs here.If you like Narada Michael Walden's(producer of this album) first solo album,there's a good chance you'll like this one.

After the first high octane frantic Blink and the more mellowish and smooth Vimana,I think Nova here on Wings of Love found the right balance between the first 2 albums.

If they had smiley faces in 77,they should have been plastered all over the cover and inner sleeve.It is a really nice feel good album.Thankfully they had one more album up their sleeve with Sun City which is also a dandy.4 Super novas.

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 Blink by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.85 | 36 ratings

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Blink
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars NOVA should be a band I enjoy, because of their style of music and the gifted performers but...they do not click with me. It just seems like there's something on each album that turns me off. This their debut would be four stars if it was all-instrumental but it's not, and yes the vocals are a big negative for me. Why do Italian bands want to sing in English ? Well in this case it wouldn't matter I just don't like his vocal style.

"Tailor Made" opens with strummed guitar then it kicks in quickly with a full sound including sax then vocals. A guitar outburst 1 1/2 minutes in. I don't like this track at all mainly because of the vocals. "Something Inside Keeps You Down" opens with mournful sax until almost spoken vocals arrive before 2 minutes. Drums and bass a minute later.This is better. It's pretty intense 5 minutes in. Great sound ! "Nova" opens with guitar as drums, sax and a full sound join in.The guitar is back out front 2 minutes in.

"Used To Be Easy" is mellow with flute to start along with cymbals and guitar.Vocals before a minute followed by sax. It picks up 2 1/2 minutes in. I really like the drumming here but not the vocals. Big finish. "Toy" is my favourite.This is a funky number with sax blasting over top.The guitar replaces the sax before 3 minutes. An excellent instrumental. "Stroll On" kicks in before a minute. The drumming is killer. Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in.The guitar solo after 3 minutes is incredible.The man can play with speed if he wants to. Vocals are back 4 1/2 minutes in. Guitar is back 6 1/2 minutes in this time with a laid back solo. Sax ends it.

A good album no doubt about it but not worth 4 stars in my book thanks to the vocals.

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 Wings of Love  by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.59 | 23 ratings

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Wings of Love
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by guitarded

4 stars Yes, it's cheese-fusion, clearly ripped-off from Mahavishnu Orchestra 2 and especially 3, with a little Zappa and Return To Forever influence thrown in. MO's Inner Worlds came out in '76, Nova's WOL in '77. And what is the most popular Mahavishnu song ever? Planetary Citizen - pop-funk-fusion at it's finest. Mr. Rustici and company helped themselves to the ideas created by the always-changing McLaughlin for Inner Worlds. Indeed it's corny, but for the short time this style of jazz-rock was popular it ruled. It's expertly crafted complete with everything from catchy pop-hooks, burning guitar solos (You Are Light), and stellar musicianship. I love WOL. Extra cheese, please.

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 Wings of Love  by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.59 | 23 ratings

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Wings of Love
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by progLee

5 stars Wings of Love

What a wonderful record, i can listen to it over and over and never get bored. I have a copy from the original LP...wish there was a reissue...

This is an album filled with magic, wonderfully concieved and executed. Beatifully sang, extremly funky... i always feel like dancing when i listen to it! Sometimes i even feel like making love, haha! Wings of Love is one of my favourites of all time. 5stars without a doubt!

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 Vimana by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.38 | 31 ratings

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Vimana
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is fairly light Jazz with some aggressive guitar once and a while. This truly is an all-star cast with D'Anna (sax&flute) and Rustici (guitar) from OSSANA, as well as Rosset( piano) from NEW TROLLS ATOMIC SYSTEM as the core. Interesting that both Phil Collins (percussion) and Percy Jones (bass) would guest on this Italian offering as well. These two guys would also be part of BRAND X who would release "Unorthodox Behaviour" the same year as this was released. Michael Walden from MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA would play the drums on this record.

"Vimana" opens with acoustic guitar and drums before we get some flute melodies that come and go. An outburst of sound 1 1/2 minutes in quickly departs as a pastoral section comes in.These drastic tempo and mood changes continue. Jones and Walden are prominant 3 1/2 minutes in before a killer guitar solo from Rustici. Some smooth sax late. "Night Games" doesn't have much in the way of a melody for 2 minutes, until the sax and drums start to lead the way. The vocals before 4 minutes are pretty good. He kind of quivers at the end of his vocal lines, probably on purpose. I like the line "Killing the time before it kills you." The guitar is again fantastic after 7 minutes and check out the drumming before 9 minutes.

"Poesia (To A Brother Gone)" is made up of piano, guitar and flute throughout. "Thru The Silence" opens with guitar and drums as the vocals arrive.The instrumental interlude includes some screaming sax and crazy percussion work. "Driftw3ood" takes a while to get going just like "Night Games" did. Vocals after 3 1/2 minutes as liquid keys and sax come and go. More great guitar 6 1/2 minutes in, as well as acoustic guitar that can be heard throughout. "Princess And The Frog" features some catchy guitar melodies while the drumming is so crisp and upfront. The percussion joins in as the guitar starts to show off a little. A change 2 1/2 minutes in as keys come in and guitar and drums leave. The birds are chirping 5 1/2 minutes in as the melody has stopped. Keys and synthesized flute end the song and the album.

This album does have it's moments, just not enough of them. It was hard to get excited about this one after hearing it a few times. Still a good record to be sure.

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 Blink by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.85 | 36 ratings

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Blink
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars First album by an Osana-Cervello offshoot and a much more worthy affair than the horrible Uno experience, even if only the two Osana members will stay beyond this first album. And unlike what you'd expect, Nova developed a wild jazz-rock in this opus. Formed in London, under Pete Townsend (Who?) and recorded in his private studios (Eel Pie), Nova presented as a quintet (standard prog quartet plus Elio D'Ana on sax and flute) and gave us plenty of excellent mid-70's fusion in their debut, sung in English (quite well) with lyrics provided by an outside Sedgwick. With an average artwork evoking a slow motion blink (with a changing iris color in the third photo), the album is probably what comes best from Italy in this JR/F style, along with Perigeo and some Area.

Six tracks all divided into two parts all giving high-energy and enthralling jazz-rock, they can be associated with the future Brand X (many members will guest in the following three albums), but also with the second stable Nucleus era (the Sutton years) and even a bit of the first Colosseum (partly due to the vocals). Obviously well coached by the production team, the four sung tracks are in very good English (all things considered), but really, this is a minor aspect as all five musos are dishing out impressive 200 MPH fusion with impressive technical abilities. But I would not actually make you believe they reach Mahavishnu or RTF's technical and virtuosic level, but they match at least the first in feeling.

Easily their better albums (at least in proghead terms) of their four, the odd thing is that with further albums as Brand X and other all-star guests will appear on themù, they will become rockier with each new album. Excellent album, almost essential, but definitely earning its fourth star.

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 Vimana by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.38 | 31 ratings

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Vimana
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sam_loyd

3 stars The saxophone in some parts makes a "romantic" mood in this album, but the progressive music is present. We can find calm music, with long melodies, but we can find great jazz/fusion parts too. The bass, with all effects, has a great presence. Drums arranjements, with great "nuances" and "cracked" tempos, are notable. I liked all the tracks. I think this is a very different album, maybe not comparable with another one. The quantity of different instruments is some special in this album... Improvisation on piano with strings touch, per exemple, are beatiful in track 3 "Poesia". Some oriental inflence is notable too. My note is "3 star" due to the great mix of musical influences!

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 Vimana by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.38 | 31 ratings

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Vimana
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by The Owl
Prog Reviewer

2 stars PROS: Very cool almost 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired cover (the monolith thing), a kick- butt rhythm section of Percy Jones and Narada Michael Walden (before he went disco). Good musicians.

CONS: Rather bland, it's been done already feel to the whole thing. I can;t think of this as even remotely progressive, but rather safely staying in the confines of a self-imposed set of limitations.

Musically, it reminds me of a Santana meets Mahvishnu sort of thing but with FAR poppier tendencies, the compositions, while tightly executed I find profoundly lack ANY real originality at all. I have to say the one redeeming song "Princess and The Frog" sounded like they were having a good time laying down the funk witha Santana-esque melody on top. Corrado Rusticci definitely owes a debt to Carlos tone-wise, he can play fast but that tends to wear thin in short order. On the title cut, Percy and Narada have a field day with stuttering punctuations and such, but the song itself sounds like Textbook Exercise # 412.

Has its moments but I find little to nothing to get excited about.

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 Wings of Love  by NOVA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.59 | 23 ratings

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Wings of Love
Nova Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by The Owl
Prog Reviewer

1 stars I have to offer a dissenting opinion of this Nova disc. For me, it's just pure cheese-whiz fusion-lite dripping with dippy Sri-Chinmoy nonsense.

It's not that Nova aren't good musicians (they are VERY capable and competent players), but it's the material that just doesn't cut it. Like other reviewers have mentioned, it does have a kind of Santana-esque vibe with some faintly Mahavishnu-esque ornamentations, but nothing that really jumps out and grabs you by the throat. If anything, this leans far more towards pop with 9th chords than it does fusion, and I would dare say to even call it prog is a bit of a stretch, as it simply rehashes already war-worn cliches and doesn't dare to venture out of a comfortable little box. The instrumental "Marshall Dillon" is the only thing that even threatens to get interesting. Sorry folks, I just can;t get behind this rather bland affair.

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