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MAXOPHONE

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Maxophone biography
Although less popular than other mainstream Italian prog rock groups, MAXOPHONE achieved a late cult status among prog rock fan because of their well crafted music, solid musical expertise and precisely cut arrangements. A well coordinated six piece ensemble, MAXOPHONE sits in the prog rock arena covering the gap between the clattering edge of groups like KING CRIMSON, the folky roots of JETHRO TULL and the more elaborated Canterbury sound. MAXOPHONE had a twin-fold soul: half of the members had classic music background while the other half had a solid rock background. This weird combination appears clearly in some songs were very non-rock instruments, such as horn, clarinet, trumpet and vibraphone are used in very balanced way together with Fripp-esque guitars and electrical piano. After one year rehearsal work, in 1975, MAXOPHONE issued their only LP record, the homonymous MAXOPHONE, which aged pretty well, sounding fresh today as 30 year ago.

Although MAXOPHONE may sometime blink an eye to melodic rock, they never forget to surprise the listener, nicely standing repeated listening. Their music shows surfacing influences from Greg LAKE, Robert FRIPP, ELP, KING CRIMSON, GENTLE GIANT, NATIONAL HEALTH, PFM, BANCO and Yes among the others. Their most renown feature is to change the music mood from pastoral to rock to classical within the same song without losing listening momentum. After the publication of the homonymous LP, they recorded a pop pier single, whose side A and B songs are both included as bonus tracks in the CD version of MAXOPHONE.

A clear must for all Italian prog rock lovers.

: : : Ludovico Vecchione, ITALY : : :

Maxophone official website

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MaxophoneMaxophone
Import
Btf 2009
Audio CD$19.21
$17.77 (used)
Live in TokyoLive in Tokyo
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$15.18
$25.82 (used)
MaxophoneMaxophone
Import
Akarma Italy 2005
Audio CD$138.86 (used)
Official Bootleg LimitedOfficial Bootleg Limited
Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$64.50
From Cocoon to ButterflyFrom Cocoon to Butterfly
Box set · Import
Btf 2008
Audio CD$31.73
$78.05 (used)
Maxophone English VersionMaxophone English Version
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PID 2010
Audio CD$135.99 (used)
Maxophone (Italian Version) [Reissue Vinyl]Maxophone (Italian Version) [Reissue Vinyl]
Import
AMS
Vinyl$39.99
$49.99 (used)
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MAXOPHONE discography


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

4.23 | 291 ratings
Maxophone
1975
3.72 | 31 ratings
Maxophone (English Lyrics)
1975

MAXOPHONE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Tokyo
2014

MAXOPHONE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.08 | 14 ratings
From Cocoon To Butterfly
2005

MAXOPHONE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAXOPHONE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
C' un paese al mondo/ Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla
1975
3.50 | 4 ratings
Il Fischio Del Vapore/ Cono Di Gelato
1977

MAXOPHONE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Maxophone by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.23 | 291 ratings

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Maxophone
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mr. Mustard

4 stars If there was ever a one hit wonder, then Maxophone's only album certainly makes the mark. This isn't your standard PFM, Banco, or Le Orme styled album; there are bits of these band's sounds, but for the most part this is a very unique sound these guys achieve. A few of the members are classically trained, while the others have a rock background. This alone gives the album a unique blend of pure classic rock riffage and well-composed symphonic moments, in addition to plenty of jazzy moments to top it off.

Suffice it to say the album is quite diverse. The album can be folky, jazzy, symphonic, or heavy. It can be intense, dramatic, yet equally beautiful and melodic. All of this while retaining a sense of unity. Not adhering to any strict sound, style, or formula is what makes this album so appealing.

There are plenty of surprises in each song; the through composed nature of the album benefits this, as they often don't spend too much time on a single idea. Yet everything seems in its rightful place. The first song, for example, is based on a dramatic, repeating vocal melody, while the following 'Fase' has a much more aggressive and rough edge. The band even takes a more poppy approach in songs like 'Il Fischio Del Vapore' and the ballad-esque 'Cono Di Gelato,' both of which are more laid-back than the rest of the album.

A unique album, yet undeniably Italian in style, I would say this is a must have for Italian Proggers at the very least, and earns a nice spot amongst the best of the genre.

8/10

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 Maxophone by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.23 | 291 ratings

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Maxophone
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Moogtron III

5 stars Excellent RPI album, one of the best that I know of.

What makes it so good is the excellent compositions, which are as good as any of the 'big Italian bands', like PFM, Banco and Le Orme. Actually, there is not one weak song on the album. All the compositions have something to offer. This is a very mature band, even when this is their debut album. Each song has different bits and pieces that gel all well together: nothing sounds artificial, everything sounds 'in place'.

Except for the compositions, I'd say that the imaginative use of keyboards add to the great quality of the album. The vocals are quite nice too, even if not very special. Soundwise, the band is quite good too.

Strongly recommended for anyone who likes classic Italian 1970's prog!

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 From Cocoon To Butterfly by MAXOPHONE album cover DVD/Video, 2005
4.08 | 14 ratings

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From Cocoon To Butterfly
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars ''Maxophone'' was also released in an English-sung version, but the album failed to bring the band a wider recognition.In 1976 recordings for a second album started, however Maxophone disbanded the following year after a last single with Leonardo Schiavone spending some time with Stormy Six at the end of the decade.About 30 years later a posthumous work was released on Vinyl Magic, entitled ''From cocoon to butterfly'', containing both a CD and a DVD.

The CD contains five unreleased tracks along with demo versions of Maxophone's already published compositions.In fact the opening ''Kaleidophonia'', clocking at 10 minutes, was to be included in Maxophone's second album and considering its quality this could have been another great album by the band.Smooth and professional instrumental Prog with extended keyboard passages, led by Hammond organ, great sax and clarinet solos, lovely interplays and delicate melodies in the best Italian tradition.This is superb Italian-flavored Symphonic Rock with minor jazzy moves.''L'isola'' is a demo quality leftover from the band's debut and comes as a proposal of romantic Symphonic Rock with emotional guitar solos and vocals along with cinematic trumpets and a great keyboard-based ending theme.''Fischio del vapore'' is another track of demo quality, recorded in 1976 and intended to be the single of Maxophone's second album.The folky flavor is now more dominant due to the archaic use of flutes and acoustic guitars, while wordless voices and marching horns result a really elegant and melancholic atmosphere.''Il lago delle ninfee'' is another leftover from Maxophone's sole release, a short track with light P.F.M. and BLOCCO MENTALE influences, led by mellow vocals, piano and harsichord, while the long ''Dadaida'' was destined to remain in a hidden tape for almost 30 years, again as part of the band's never released second album.Another proof of Maxophone's composing level, another lost and unreleased treasure of Italian Prog, somewhere between Canterbury Fusion, Jazz and Symphonic Rock with great interplays, notable work on clarinet and electric piano and furious breaks.

Five tracks, as aforementioned, are demo versions from the pieces presented in the band's monumental debut, while the DVD contains interviews along with a fantastic footage for a RAI Television programme in 1976.The quality of the video is pretty great, the performance of this masterful act is even better.Another video of an instrumental version of "Mercanti di pazzie" was caught in 2005 at Radio Popolare Studios in Milano, when Maxophone reunited briefly for some concerts.

One of the top 5 acts in the long history of 70's Italian Prog.This archival work is highly recommended even for Prog fans, who own Maxophone's splendid debut, especially for guys with a visual preferance.The unreleased tracks are absolutely great and the video contained is a great document of Maxophone's performances and talent.Do yourself a favor and grab this work.

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 Maxophone by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.23 | 291 ratings

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Maxophone
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Fenrispuppy

5 stars Ok...one should never start a review with the words "ok" or "so", but I do it anyway. Okay then...this is a tough one. Maxophone is one of those one-hit wonders of rock progressivo Italiano that nominally could be categorized with PFM, Banco or LeOrme...my holy trinity of that genre. Maxophone, had they persisted should have stood shoulder to shoulder with them, as well as with symphonic prog masters such as Genesis, Yes and ELP. In fact this album has been sought for many years by fans of rock progressivo italiano and for good reason.

Most of the songs on Maxophone's debut defy description mixing jazz, rock, blues, funk and, of course, classical. History tells us that Maxophone was the joining together of three rock musicians with three classical musicians, and if true, it explains a lot, particularly the eclectic nature of the band. Despite the fact that these songs defy description, I will do my best to describe some of the songs so the reader can decide if this album is worth investigating. I also may "name-drop" other bands to give the reader a sense of what the album sounds like. This is not to imply that Maxophone is derivative or ripping these bands off, because I do not believe that this is the case. Maxophone may incorporate many different styles but have a style all their own. Describing the music in the context of familiar bands should give the reader some idea if this recording will be pleasing to them.

Setting the tone for the album is one of the album's strongest tunes "C'e un paese al mondo" which kicks off the album in grand style...beginning with hauntingly beautiful piano before electric guitar, drums, bass and organ barge in with a time signature change at less than minute, signaling the first of several different movements and time changes within this six and a half minute song. At this point the band compares very favorably to PFM, Genesis or Yes in terms of complexity and talent, with a very strong vocal performance from their lead singer.

The next song "Fase" starts like a blues-rock-prog jam, sounding something like Edgar Winter had hijacked Yes, before sliding through symphonic mode into jazz. Before long, this is abandoned in exchange for some Tony Banks-style keyboards, then to vibraphone (or xylophone?) back to blues-prog, then to a flute solo and back again. Perhaps the reader is beginning to sympathize with this writer. It is not easy to describe these songs or do them the justice that they deserve.

"Al mancato compleanno una farfalle" is one of the more gentle songs on "Maxophone" and has some nice vocal harmonies before launching into hard rock mode about four minutes in. The faster section of the song has keyboard playing reminiscent of Keith Emerson, and my previous statements not withstanding, is probably the most derivative moment on the album. However, nowhere and no-when would I ever consider sounding like Keith Emerson to be a flaw.

The fourth track "Elzeviro", sounds a little bit like the inspired chaos that characterizes Area International Popular Group with Maxophone's vocalist nearly attaining the dramatic heights attained by Area's vocalist, the late lamented Demetrio Stratos, while avoiding the excesses of that band. By turns, the song is jazzy, funky and symphonic before transforming into something resembling early Genesis.

"Mercanti di Pazzio", like "Al mancato" begins gently, except in this case maintains a gentle tempo and tone, comparing favorably to mellower Genesis fare such as "Ripples". "Antichi conclusioni negre" closes the album with some funky, spacey keyboard playing and excellent drumming. This song also boasts some fine saxophone playing, memorable guitar work and Yes-style harmonizing. It definitely closes the album in grandiose style.

The final two songs appear to be bonus tracks that are not part of the album proper, but are part of the iTunes rerelease. "Il fischio del vapore" contains a strong, melodic and confident vocal performance even if the song is relatively simple. "Cono di gelato" could almost be described as a blue-eyed soul or pop ballad. Is it progressive? No. Is it alluring, soulful, beautiful and worth a listen? Absolutely.

The overall verdict is that this is a stunning debut album that unfortunately did not evolve into a lengthy career for Maxophone. I would love to know what happened and why this promising beginning did not amount to much beyond a cult oddity, all but forgotten except by hardcore prog fans like myself. "Maxophone" is such a great recording that I still feel like I cannot do it justice with mere words. I would love to hijack a radio station and just play it over and over again (even the pop-oriented bonus tracks) until everybody has heard it. I love this album that much. However this album does contain an annoying artifact of the time in which it was recorded..the fadeout. On "Fase" especially, the fadeout was disappointing because it was fading while some interesting music was still going on. Aside from that minor gripe this is a brilliant album, a masterpiece of progressive rock. Bravo!

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 Maxophone by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.23 | 291 ratings

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Maxophone
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Maxophone - st (1975)

This Italian symphonic progressive rock record is often seen as one of the highlights of the scene. Fullblown multi-instrumental arrangements, influences from Genesis and ELP, yet still a sort of own way of doing things in an almost orchestral way. The band incorperates many influences in it's compositions and is garentued to raise a smile with a composition like 'Fase', in which they switch styles in high tempo.

I don't like hearing instruments recorded in differents pitches. Maybe it's because I'm a trained musician myself; I really really don't like it, it makes me crumble. This is the type of well intentioned record that is totally ruined by false sounding guitars and keyboards that are like a saw for my harmonic brain. During almost every moment of the record there's some pitch anomaly that bothers me quite a lot. I don't think every music-listener hears this, because almost no-one seems to even mention the fact that some of the arrangements are painfully out of pitch. I would really love to hear a remaster in which all instruments are re-pitched to the same amount of Herz. As it is now, I can only recommend this record to symphonic prog listeners who have never engaged any problem whatsoever with a record sounding out of pitch. They will find Maxophone a great treat I guess.

Two stars, I just can't listen to this.

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 Maxophone by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.23 | 291 ratings

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Maxophone
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars They came, they played, they conquered, and then they scarpered.

Maxophone released one album that is a triumph of prog with some of the greatest musical virtuoso skill one is likely to hear. With such a great album you might have expected Maxophone to at least release something else or get back to recording years later in a reunion, I mean it worked for Anglagard and Comus. So this enigmatic stands like a lone beacon showing the rest of the try hards how it is done. The innovation and creativity throughout is astonishing. Opening with grand jazz explosions and a flurry of guitar prowess over layers of keyboards on 'C' Un Paese Al Mondo' (There's a country in the world), the band stamp their authority as masters of their craft. The vocals of Alberto Ravasini are easy on the ears, and he is joined by swooping Clarinet and keyboards. The music goes beyond the norm as it is so intricately woven in the tapestry of very complex musical phrases and melodies.

The band are an incredible unit with some stunning musicians, consisting of Maurizio Bianchini on horn, trumpet, percussion, vibraphone, Roberto Giuliani on electric guitars, piano, Sergio Lattuada on keyboards, Sandro Lorenzetti on drums, Alberto Ravasini on lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, Leonardo Schiavone on clarinet, flute, alto & tenor saxophone, Tiziana Botticini on harp, Giovanna Correnti on cello, Paulo Rizzi on contrabass, Eleonora De Rossi on violin and Susanna Pedrazzini on violin. This album is their sole masterpiece but certainly proves that sometimes quality over quantity is the best thing. To follow up on an album like this would have been almost an impossible task, but we will never know as the band have long gone.

The Italian vocals are not a deterrent and of course there's an English version that does not detract from the brilliant musicianship which is the real drawcard. Listening to both versions of "Maxophone" is a must. The album boasts some of the best sax playing on such tracks as 'Fase', with powerful jazz embellishments. The vibraphone solo is wonderful, and the muscular guitar riff works along the spacey effects and layers of horns.

'Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla' (I Heard a Butterfly) has lovely Italian acoustic guitar vibrations, interwoven with beautiful flute augmented by gorgeous vocal harmonies. I love the heavy organ attack, some of the boldest playing on the album followed by descending melodies. There is an exquisite reverb guitar to end it.

'Elzeviro' (Six Against One on the English version) is one of the best tracks, very jazzy with nice vocals, and merging with symphonic textures; a real work of beauty. The electric guitar splashes out with some soaring arpeggios and string bends.

'Mercanti Di Pazzie' (Merchants of Madness) has beautiful vibrations of harp and flute that creates a soundscape of tranquillity. The synthesizer chimes in and the scape becomes ambient and dreamy. This is another complex arrangement with some more wonderful vocals to augment the atmosphere.

'Live Together or Die' opens with odd time sigs and some excellent brass and emotive horns. Piano keeps a melody as a harmony of voices comes in with a lovely timbre. A glorious sax solo keeps things interesting along a swinging groove. It ends with a dirge of Italian choruses singing to a church organ.

The Italian version closes with 'Antiche Conclusioni Negre' (Ancient Negroe's Conclusions) that features some very interesting vocals and intricate musical arrangements. The bonus tracks to follow are 1977 singles, 'Il Fischio del Vapore' (Boat's Whistle) and 'Cono di Gelato' (Ice Cream Cone), that are not featured on the English version unfortunately as these would be great to hear with translated lyrics.

This album can be recommended to those who like their prog served up with complex musical arrangements and sprinkled over with those sweet Italian flavours. Maxophone will go down in history as being yet another RPI band that dished up one meal and then left the insatiable appetite of the prog world starving for more.

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 Maxophone by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.23 | 291 ratings

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Maxophone
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Raccoon

5 stars If you like prog and just discovered this whole world of prog from this website, Maxophone is perfect for you. A masterpiece is all that can be said about this album. The best 'one-hit-wonder' a band ever produced, in my opinion.

It's obvious once hearing the album that it's pure eclectic, and if you're a King Crimson fan, you're in for a big treat. This album combines nearly every possible prog sub-genre that you can think of. Hints of Space (for the most part in Antiche Conclusioni Negre), Electronic, Heavy (heavy guitar), Symphonic (plenty of that) and you can guess what else. Just look at the sub-genres!

Talking about each individual track would lessen the brilliance of every song, so I'll leave it at "every song sounds completely different from the next". Few albums contain this, and that's why this remains as one of my favorite albums of all time. There's multiple melodies throughout the song so you're never bored, but never lost in an array of random notes. It's complex, but not too complex to muddle the melody. There's a large set of instruments to captivate what you're listening to and transform that piece into an unheard-before beauty. The perfect balance.

I find it amazing that they could come up with such a variety of melodies, sounds, and vocals that set it apart from any other band. This here is a one of a kind; a true 'one-hit-wonder'. This is my opinion, but everyone should try this album out and judge for themselves. It took me about 20 listens to get around to this album, believe it or not. But each time I listened to the full album, I found it becoming better and better to my ears (which happens to many albums). This turned into an addiction, every week I had to listen. Once Antiche Conclusioni Negre you think 'aww, this has to be the last song?', luckily it's 9 minutes in length. But it's so entertaining, you completely forget about that thought and realize this has to be the one of the greatest end-songs of an album EVER. There's something totally unique and brilliant here, and everyone should try it. Easy 5 stars.

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 Maxophone by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.23 | 291 ratings

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Maxophone
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by raul_siberian

4 stars This album became one of my favorites from the first time I heard it. I love it and I recomend it

It opens with "C' e Un Paese al Mondo" (5.00 out of 5.00). A wonderful song which shows how eclectic the band can be. The best part of this song is when it takes a break into a more jazzy form, wich sounds funny and clownish with an almost umpredictable bass work. Then all became beautifully symphonic in a dense form with Italians choruses, I was about to cry.

"Fase" (3.50 out of 5.00) Is the instrumental song of the album. It starts very heavy, being highly influenced by Gentle Giant later. The song ends heavily again.

"Al Mancato Compleanno di Una Faffalla" (4.25 out of 5.00) This is the folk song in the album, with beautiful flutes that reminds me of Jethro Tull but in a more sophisticated form. The vocal lines are good with Italian words that fits perfectly. Then it became in a worthily progressive song. Very Good

"Elzeverio" (2.50 out of 5.00) is my least favorite, but that doesn`t mean it`s a bad song. Now is when I realize that the man who`s starts singin` reminds me of Derek Shulman (Gentle Giant).

"Mercanti di Pazzie" (4.75 out of 5.00) Sounds influenced by both: Gentle Giant and Jethro Tull. Good Song and I want to emphasize that the last couple of minutes are absolutely brilliant, in fact, is the best part of this song and one of the best moments of the whole album.

As well as the album opens with a "5.00 out of 5.00" song, it closes with a song with the same rating IMO.

"Antiche Conclusioni Negre" (5.00 out of 5.00): Starts very festive with well played saxophones, but then, surprisingly, it all goes melancholic, when that horn starts to sounds I feel my eyes almost wet. Then, After an outstanding Italian vocal lines (that fits perfectly again) it starts to madurate again, just to reach the festivity which started with. A song that makes me feel Proud, I don`t know why.

There are good bass, guitars, organ, horns, flutes and saxophones. All well played But i`m not so sure about the vocals, although I have enjoyed.

Certainly, Maxophone were influenced by Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull and other acts by the time of the recording of this album, but I feel myself satisfied sayin`that at the same time they offered their own flavor.

4.00 Stars well received

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 Maxophone by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.23 | 291 ratings

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Maxophone
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Maxophone: Maxophone [1975]

Rating: 7/10

Italian prog is known for its "one-album wonders"; throughout the 70s, many RPI bands released a single album and called it quits soon afterward. I don't know why this was such a common trend, considering that progressive-rock was quite popular in Italy during the decade. Regardless, this pattern produced many gems. Maxophone's sole album is a superb and adventurous piece of work. Like many Italian groups, Maxophone approached their music in an eclectic manner, combining jazz-rock, symph-prog, hard-rock, and folk to create a consistently interesting melting pot of ideas. This strange melding of PFM and Zappa manages to sound completely natural, making for an exciting and memorable one-off effort.

"C'e Un Paese Al Mondo" begins with some fantastic jazzy piano, transitioning into heavy symphonic rock with light vocals. The track breaks down into unorthodox swing-jazz about halfway through, creating one of the most exciting pieces on the album. "Fase" is an absolutely phenomenal instrumental that blends various styles. The ripping vibraphone solo is especially awesome. "Al Moncato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla" is a light pastoral piece ala PFM. "Elzeviro" is one of the less interesting pieces here; the vocals sound a bit off. Still, there's plenty of exciting instrumentation to be found. "Mercanti Di Pazzie" is a slow-paced piece with pretty acoustic guitar and interesting reeds. "Antiche Conclusioni Negre" is a bombastic slice of Zappaesque big-band rock. This is another standout track. The largely acoustic "Il Fischio Del Vapore" features the best vocal work on the album. The Moog solo at the end is also worth noting. "Cono Di Gelato" is a soft closing piece that ends the album with beautiful vocals and guitar.

Maxophone's sole album is an excellent piece of work that successfully amalgamates various influences and styles into a cohesive whole. However, I don't consider this a masterpiece. Some of the tracks drag on slightly, and the best ideas are not carried through throughout the album's entire duration. Regardless, this is a fantastic album with incredible diverse musicianship and memorable composition. This certainly isn't the greatest thing to come out of Italy in the 70s, but any RPI fan will find much to enjoy here.

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 Maxophone by MAXOPHONE album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.23 | 291 ratings

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Maxophone
Maxophone Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One of the more original "one album wonder" bands from the RPI boom - that is to say, the Genesis sound from the Trespass era isn't their primary inspiration - Maxophone shift from dark King Crimson-ish realms to classical/operatic majesty to brief moments of pastoral beauty with an adeptness that is a joy to behold. Forget the two bonus tracks, which are from a rather more commercial and simplistic single the band released the year after putting this one out (I don't include such things in my ratings anyway), this album is a prog symphony from the opening notes of C' Un Paese Al Mondo to the majestic choral outro to Antiche Conclusioni Nerge. Those who are exploring the RPI scene should mark Maxophone out as a stop on their prog tour of Italy.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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