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BELLA BAND

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Italy


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Bella Band biography
A five-piece band from Florence that only released an album. Their drummer Mauro Sarti had previously played with CAMPO DI MARTE.

The LP, released by Cramps in 1978, included four long instrumental tracks in a typical jazz-rock style, with nice horn arrangements and good guitar, keyboards and sax solo parts. After a line-up change, and despite a good live activity, the band disappeared in the fertile florentine new wave scene of the late seventies. This one and only record by this band is an awesome gem within the Italian Fusion scene. Really a pity that these great musicians disappeared somewhere in the diaspora. There has been a Japanese CD release of the record later on.

INFO: ItalianProg

: : : Dieter Fischer, GERMANY : : :

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Cramps Records Imp 2006
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3.79 | 24 ratings
Bella Band
1978

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BELLA BAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bella Band by BELLA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.79 | 24 ratings

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Bella Band
Bella Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Kazuhiro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Material is not so abundant in Japan where I live this album announced from CRAMPS. The sensibility of Soft Machine and Alti E Mestieri might be able to be tasted a little as the taste though the taste of Jazz/Fusion is being consistently carried out by this band announced in 1978. It might be able to be said that this Bella Band is the one though a lot of bands touched off exist in the music of Jazz and Canterbury also as for Jazz/Prog Rock of Italy. The sound in which it feels it ..sweet sound.. has finished to the last minute consistently the Mediterranean sea that seems to be exactly Italy though the form of the Jazz combo is taken. The flow of "Promenade" ..flow exactly reminded of Alti E Mestieri.. has finished. Interplay on the way is indeed splendid. As for the sound that SAX player's Roberto Buoni began to spin, I felt the impression that an indeed soft impression was given and the sound like Wayne Shorter has mixed with Elton Dean only a little. "Porotopostrippa Sul Pero" that recalls AREA only a little because each member mixes the humour leads to easing the album. This band also feels that one property to which Italy gave birth and one treasure that splendidly digests the frame of Jazz and develops it. "Cipresso Violento" is a tune where Rhodes of the melody and Riccardo Cioni that Buoni is sweet sounds gently. It is ..tune with the anacatesthesia to feel Alti.. finished here. These Music will take off and I take off the hat the band in Italy that buries a lot. I also wish other people to enjoy these sounds.

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 Bella Band by BELLA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.79 | 24 ratings

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Bella Band
Bella Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Out of Florence, Tuscany, came out this quintet that produced one sole album, released in 78 on the Cramps label (Area, A+M, Venegoni and CdL), so you'll have guessed by now that they were into jazz-rock. Indeed they were into late 70's instrumental funky jazz-rock and the group, a classic prog quartet fronted by wind-blower Roberto Buoni was made upon mostly previously-unknown musicians with only the drummer Sarti having played in Campo Di Marte. The humorous artwork is depicting maybe what they would be for a band today in 09.

Just four "long" tracks over the vinyl, two aside, clocking between almost 6-mins and almost 11-mins, the group develops a JR/F that sounds a bit Nucleus and Soft Machine-like, but less so than Perigeo. At times they seem to sound more international like WR, MO or RTF, but it's clear that they're not up to that virtuoso level, and wisely choose not to over-extend themselves. My fave track is the longest Promenade, but the preceding Fadadiesis is also an excellent opening track. BTW, the flipside is very short, just clocking around 13 minutes and also a little inferior (IMHO), because it seems neither tracks can seem to find its interior fire. But this is not to say that the funk bass-driven Porotopostripa is not good, it shares itself between Buoni's sax, Cioni's Rhodes and Fiorentino's searing guitar lines. Only the slow-developing Cipresso is less interesting, because it seems that after one slow intro, it starts a second intro, albeit more energetic, but only to die out and restart in yat another would-be intro.

This album has received at least twice a Cd release, but while I like it a lot, I'm not sure it's worth tracking it down that much. It's not like it is essential or anything of the sort, but it's an enjoyable artefact for those that want to dig deep in Italian JR/F of the 70's. Quite good but not essential, yet for completionists only.

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 Bella Band by BELLA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.79 | 24 ratings

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Bella Band
Bella Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It was Finnforest who first brought this band to my attention, then Todd told me I had to check these guys out. I think that happened before only with ROCK'YS FILJ. Anyway as Jim says, if your into Jazz / Rock this is a sure thing. At first I thought the band on the cover was BELLA BAND and i'm thinking they look a little old. Haha. No it's not them. The music here is so good with amazing guitar work to go along with the fantastic keys and winds. Oh, and the drummer who previously played with CAMPO DI MARTE is very impressive. This is the kind of instrumental music I just get lost in, even if it's less than 32 minutes in length.

"Faidadiesis" opens with lone electric clarinet sounds before the whole band joins in.Fantastic ! It settles in at 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound as sax plays over top of the bass, drums and other sounds including piano. Nice bass before 3 minutes followed by some great guitar that goes on and on. A crazy keyboard solo follows. Excellent opener. "Promenade" is laid back and beautiful for 2 1/2 minutes then it kicks into a higher gear. Very intricate guitar and bass before 4 1/2 minutes then the horns kick back in. It settles after 6 minutes with piano and atmosphere. Horns are back before 7 minutes,piano follows as it settles again. Amazing ! It kicks back in with horns before 10 minutes.

"Porotopostrippa Sul Pero" is uptempo but it settles quickly with prominant bass, keys and other sounds that come and go. Guitar comes in after 2 1/2 minutes. Horns start to dominate after 3 minutes. Love the bass and drumming though. Terrific guitar 6 1/2 minutes in as bass and drums continue. This is incredible ! "Cipresso Violento" opens with electric piano before drums, guitar and horns join in.The tempo and mood will continue to change on this one. A full sound 3 1/2 minutes in. An almost dead calm after 4 minutes before it kicks back in with some great electric piano.

Highly recommended to all you Jazz / Fusion fans out there.

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 Bella Band by BELLA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.79 | 24 ratings

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Bella Band
Bella Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Beautifully executed and full-flavored fusion

While the Italian symphonic scene of the '70s gets most of the attention it is becoming clearer to me how fertile the fusion/jazz-rock was as well. I'm beginning to discover the likes of Bella Band, Esagono, Etna, Kaleidon, Duello Madre, Rocky's Filj, etc, in addition to the obvious bands like Arti Mestieri. The short-lived Bella Band were from Florence and released but one album on the Cramps label in 1978 before they disappeared. Their drummer Mauro Sarti used to be in the popular RPI gem Campo di Marte and most of the members would continue on with music after the break-up of Bella Band. It's a shame they split so quickly because this album is very good and it is reported that they had plenty of live activity as well.

Musically, Bella Band really snuck up on me in a hurry. Generally speaking I'm not the biggest fan of dryer fusion-I like a bit of colorful influx from other genres to spice it up a bit. Bella Band at first seemed pretty dry and doesn't deviate all that much from the task at hand (no big operatic vocals or backwards cello loops busting through the door) but within short order the pure joy of the obvious musical mastery was grabbing me. Bella Band features only 4 extended pieces over this short album but they cover a wide range of colors, with monster musicianship all around. With my thus-far fairly limited jazz knowledge I might say they are close to Duello Madre in pacing and energy, but with a bit of the added color of Esagono in the flute and clarinet, and occasionally some of the funkiness of Nucleus in the sax and bass playing. The use of horns is excellent and well integrated, alternatively classy or funky depending on the section. Guitarist Luigi Fiorentini is a jaw-dropping player and deserves to be on the list of great fusion guitarists. Yes he possesses the ability for rapid-fire notes but also there is a wonderful sense of control and melody that is never lost in a speed-fest. "Promenade" has sections that slow and blend a bit of a Carpe Diem style "refined spaciness" into the jazz, never getting too weird but allowing the listener to breath a bit from the constant intensity that can make some fusion albums a blur. It is almost a place for reflection that reloads the listener for the next frenzy. Very nice touch. Other than that excursion they remain mostly in the realm of clear jazz-rock, their badge being simply how beautifully they execute. It's just such an enjoyable listen from start to finish and that is not something to take lightly.

Bella Band is the definition of "lost, underappreciated gem" of the 1970s. How this band has not received more love by prog-fusion fans is beyond my comprehension. It is imaginative, musical as the day is long, and beautifully paced and constructed. While perhaps not groundbreaking the Bella Band will be worth the time of any jazz-rock fan-a sure thing if there ever was.

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 Bella Band by BELLA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.79 | 24 ratings

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Bella Band
Bella Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Rainer Rein

4 stars Bella Band (questionable name - isn't it?) was good one-record jazzrock outfit from Firenze (Florence), Italy. On this only item we can hear four longish tracks with dignified arrangements. Can't prefer anything of these compositions but... correct and dense music here - with colourful soundspectrum (they used clavinet, el. piano, synths, flute, sax, clarinet + guitar, bass, drums). Pleasurable listening!

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 Bella Band by BELLA BAND album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.79 | 24 ratings

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Bella Band
Bella Band Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Edited 09/26/05!

This Italian guys were playing a really awesome jazz fusion on their one and only album. Excellent musicianship with lots of brass and a fantastic guitar playing. All tracks on this unfortunately rather short album (well it has still been in the vinyl era!) are just brilliant. There is not any weak one present.

The album opens with Fairadiesis which is a quite up-tempo and bit funky song with awesome soprano sax, clarinet, keyboards and guitar playing. Really hard for me to recall any band that sounded like this. Regarding musicianship it's absolutely on par with bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra or National Health although they don't sound like any of them. Promenade is a more quiet and the longest one of the four tracks. It starts with very soft and smooth keyboards and brass and one could almost think this one is a bit boring one, but wait a moment until it's developing into a magnificent and interesting song. After about three minutes there is a section with awesome guitar and bass play combined with brass and in its further course the song is filled with tempo and mood shifts before it finally returns to the initial theme. Really a fantastic and versatile track and anything else than boring. Porotopostrippa Sul Pero sounds completely different from the previous two and I've got the impression that here they are showing their full talents. It's a rather weird one but still very well accessible and pleasant to listen, starting with fantastic a bit spacy keys, then guitar and brass at their very best, an awesome sax solo and a great almost Hendrix-alike guitar solo. After 8 minutes one thinks there is a sudden ending, but the music still continues after. This one is the absolute highlight of the album. Last track of the original vinyl release Cipresso Violento is actually not weaker than the previous ones. Starting rather quietly like smooth Jazz it develops soon to a very vivid fusion one as well, again with great performance of all musicians. On the CD re-issue (unfortunately only on expensive Japanese label) there is one extra track called Mattutina which is as well a very nice one.

SUMMARY

This completely unknown Italian band with a name, from that you wouldn't expect anything interesting created with their only album a really excellent one I'd like to recommend to anyone liking jazz and intricate but accessible jazz-fusion with an awesome musicianship! This little lost gem is absolutely worth 4,5 stars!

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