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LUCIANO BASSO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Luciano Basso biography
In the second half of the the '70s, the Venetian composer/keyboardist LUCIANO BASSO recorded a series of albums, which represent an interesting mix of progressive music with classical influences and avant-garde. Trained as a pianist and composer at the music academy (Conservatorio) of his birthplace, he is currently a music teacher in the city of Padova. He has also contributed soundtracks to several documentary films produced by RAI, the Italian broadcasting company.

"Voci", the first album from 1976, is usually considered his best release, so that it was cited by "The Billboard Guide to Progressive Music" as one of the best-ever examples of classically-influenced progressive rock, comparing it to the work of such renowned bands as Focus and Curved Air. "Voci" contains five long instrumental tracks, with keyboards to the fore, backed by traditional, electric rock instrumentation. Among the guest musicians on this album, NUVOLE DI PAGLIA's bass player, Mauro Periotto.

Basso's later work has increasingly gone in the direction of contemporary classical music. He is also quite active as a concert pianist, performing both in Italy and abroad.

All the albums by Luciano Basso were issued by Ariston and are now rare. There are no foreign reissues.

Raffaella Berry (Raff)




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Luciano Basso's 1976 album "Voci" is an excellent example of instrumental symphonic prog by a classically-trained, gifted keyboardist and composer.





Discography:
Voci (1976) - studio album
Cogli il giorno (1978) - studio album
Frammenti tonali (1979) - studio album
Arc-en-ciel (1980) - studio album
Improvvisi per pianoforte, fiati e percussioni (1986) - studio album
Fantasie - improvvisi (19990) - studio album
Azygos Quartet (1993) - studio album
Notturni (1997) - studio album
Fogli d'album (2002) - studio album

Luciano Basso official website

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VociVoci
Import
Btf 2008
Audio CD$18.51
$18.50 (used)
Fogli D'AlbumFogli D'Album
P.M.
Audio CD$24.29
Cogli Il GiornoCogli Il Giorno
Import
Btf 2008
Audio CD$18.43
$34.38 (used)
NotturniNotturni
P.M.
Audio CD$24.29
VociVoci
Ams 2014
Vinyl$32.13
$40.35 (used)
Free FlyFree Fly
Import
Btf 2008
Audio CD$22.69
$22.34 (used)
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LUCIANO BASSO discography


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

4.05 | 44 ratings
Voci
1976
3.22 | 12 ratings
Cogli il Giorno
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Frammenti Tonali
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Arc-En-Ciel
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Notturni
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fogli D'Album
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Free Fly
2007

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LUCIANO BASSO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cogli il Giorno by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.22 | 12 ratings

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Cogli il Giorno
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars In autumn 77' Basso started working on his second personal album, which was eventually finished in spring 78'.It was again released on the Ariston label under the title ''Cogli il giorno'' and features a different line-up than on Basso's debut release.Only Massimo Palma remained in his place and this sophomore effort features New Trolls's Giorgo Baiocco on flutes and Leonardo Dosso from Gruppo D'alternativa on bassoon among others.

Basso characterized this album as a work full of Classical experiments and that is more or less the truth about this release, which sees him somewhat moving away from his previous more progressive style.''Cogli il giorno'' is closer to Avant-Garde/Chamber/Classical music than Progressive Rock despite the important number of guest musicians and especially the long tracks are quite experimental with Basso's piano on the forefront and sporadic contributions from the other musicians.The more used instruments are definitely the string ones with Basso's workouts surrounded by depressive cellos and violins as well as some cosmic sitar strings.His playing is both romantic and dramatic depending on the track, but the evident lack of additional instruments make it a hard-to-follow experience.The overall atmosphere is haunting, outlandish and bizzare with no particular changes.Actually only the pair of short, opening tracks seem to be the best ones for a prog fan, offering melodic, pleasant and delicate symphonic music with some great work by Baiocco on flutes.

This was not an accidental step towards more Classical-inspired works by Basso, as with each work he moved even closer to contemporary Classical music, setting up arrangements for orchestras, most of which have been released on Ariston over the years.

Great work if you consider it more of an acedemic or experimental work, but with little lack to satisfy fans of Progressive Rock.

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 Cogli il Giorno by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.22 | 12 ratings

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Cogli il Giorno
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Lizzy

4 stars Masterstroke #2

Two years after crafting and polishing the paragon of recordings that shook the world of RPI in 1976, il maestro Luciano Basso appears to have accomplished an almost impossible task: producing an opus satisfactory enough to have a take on Voci. Hence, on Cogli Il Giorno, playing it safe was not an option. The thoroughly organised, almost mathematical structure present on every single Voci track seems to have vanished, leaving room for more experimental approaches. Basso thus, immerses into previously unexplored waters, even finding himself venturing in the realm of avant garde, which he so beautifully manages to transpose into his classical upbringing.

As the listeners embark on this acoustic journey, they are greeted by the ever so gracious piano thrills, which are slowly blending into the array of strings only to father a dazzling sunrise moment, because, after all, in order to seize the day, one has to commence early in the morning. Thus, with a linear transition Mattino upholds the joyous piano which is soon accompanied by Baiocco's flute. At first, the two do not interweave acoustically, but as the song develops, they almost become one and along with Dosso's bassoon tunes, they help paint the uplifting atmosphere that had been dominating the record up to this point. However, in a dramatic twist of events, the tempo suddenly drops, synthesisers replace the piano and soprano vocalises now dictate the direction in which the composition is heading. The overall uncanny ambience on Ruotare is sustained by the occasional rough sounding guitar and the return of Basso's grand piano notes which shift from allegro to an allegretto cascade like sensation, then it finds itself building and fluctuating recurrently augmenting the eeriness until towards the end when it finishes on a relaxed piano tone. The second part of the title track does not reiterate the heavenly mood created in the first one; instead, the intro is spine-chilling, almost Jacula-esque, with the grand piano and vibraphone creating organised chaos, which soon continues with a jazzy soprano sax solo accompanied yet again by the piano. The further dissonance and avant approach in the use of the soprano sax is at times reminiscent of Third Ear Band's oboe playing style. Surprisingly, out of all this sonic turmoil, a main theme emerges with the precise scope to elegantly glue the cluster together. Lastly, Aliante revolves around Basso's mellow, but forever building piano playing. The wind instruments follow the keys as guitars seem to pop up at times, making way for an unexpected sitar appearance, which goes along with the melody and succeeds in not sounding indo/raga. With all the countless tempo changes, the album ends in a rather eerie note, thus distancing itself from the symmetrical arrangements on Voci.

With the above in mind, Cogli il Giorno is a striking and absolutely spectacular record with practically inexistent dull moments, a breath of fresh air on the RPI scene and not only, even more than 30 years after its release. Sadly it is lacking a certain 'something' that prevents it from being a true masterpiece and condemns it to lead its existence in the shadows of Voci.

4 stars!

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 Voci by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.05 | 44 ratings

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Voci
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Luciano Basso was born in Venice and was classically trained on piano in his hometown's academy of music.

After a brief experience with the band IL MUCCHIO he went solo with this memorable instrumental album where he manages to mix different styles as classical music, symphonic prog, electronic and jazz. He plays a wide range of keys, from piano (both classic and electric), organ, mellotron and harpsichord, not far from Emerson's virtuoso style.

The main difference with ELP is that "Voci" is the result of a classic sextet of musicians (on contrabass Mauro Periotto of NUVOLE DI PAGLIA) where violin and cello often take the lion's share.

In some parts Basso sounds more cryptic, somehow nearer to the RPI scene of that time (FRANCO BATTIATO), in others the general mood turns more cosmic and atmospheric with guitar a la PINK FLOYD (as in the half of "Preludio") or with sad piano ballad as in the title track's intro, in still others he's capable of joyful instrumental enthusiasm and rush (as in "Promenade I").

This is really a wonderful record that everyone should own; certainly, one of the swan songs of italian classic prog.

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 Notturni by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Notturni
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars The story of the night told by piano

Luciano Basso is an acclaimed Italian composer and musician who began playing as a young child in Venice. Like others in the 1970s he was caught up in the desire to merge the classical music he loved with the experimental and rock components of the musical scene around him. The results were pretty spectacular, with his debut "Voci" being one of the most beloved RPI titles on the site, while its follow-up "Cogli il Giorno" was perhaps even better (though less known.) In later years Basso moved on to composing, teaching, and classical piano performance and released several albums along the way. As a lover of the piano as an instrument, I wanted to hear Basso's most purely piano-driven work which according to some reading was "Notturni." I should warn the reader that my knowledge of classical music is very limited, and I can only judge the music at face value, without benefit of being able to compare it to other musicians or composers of the genre.

"Notturni" is split into two compositions, "Notturno" (nocturnal, of the night), each with four parts and separated by a short interlude called "il mattino" (the morning). Recorded in the fall of 1997, the album is the complete product of a Steinway grand piano with zero additional band instrumentation. In his notes Basso talks about always trying to keep emotion central during his approach to composition and I believe you can hear this in "Notturni." This is classical music that strikes me as less stuffy and more reflective than other things I've heard.

It also is successful at evoking the mood of the central theme, the night. Of the two pieces the second side is my favorite. The playing is sparse and subtle rather than overbearing or frenetic. It is not burdened by excessive notes or flashy keyboard runs. Mostly the pieces move slowly and thoughtfully, allowing you to evoke imagery of the night sky, the middle of the night, a certain loneliness. One can imagine this as the soundtrack of a lonely soul out walking after dark as most of the world around him sleeps, lost in his thoughts and problems, seeking solace from the relative quiet and the resting pavement. Describing the songs meaningfully is challenging as it is all about mood and color, soft, dark blue, and to my ears mostly melancholic and longing. I was often captivated by the sad, lovely music and the ability of Basso to move me with this minimalist work.

The two moodier pieces of night-themed music are separated by a short interlude, the morning, which is more light-hearted and perfectly captures the feelings of sunrise, whose notes evoke the presence of sunshine and birdsong, the start of a fresh day. Some might bemoan the lack of a carefully placed vocal or an orchestral addition behind the piano, and certainly these things could be nice, but there are other albums for that. The beauty of this is the singular focus on those gorgeous notes and listening for the subtle variation, the emphasis of his volume, the melodic turns he takes. I like the lack of other musicians and the unique experience of having such an eloquent pianist paint a vision of "the night" for us. From the listener it requires patience and attentiveness to appreciate the full effect.

I doubt this review is of much help to the reader but it is very difficult for me to describe such an album, especially without much background on the form. I know that I loved the music and look forward to exploring more of Basso's "post-prog rock" works. If you love the piano and you enjoy classical music, you will undoubtedly enjoy the recital of "Notturni" and the process of subtle storytelling. Very good though probably not for everyone.

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 Voci by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.05 | 44 ratings

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Voci
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Luciano Basso is an ultra-talented pianist, composer and teacher from Italy and this was his first album released in 1976. He purposely tried to distance his music from the Symphonic Rock cliches as he calls them and do something different and innovative. In the process he succeeded in creating an RPI classic. The usual Rock instruments of drums, guitar and bass are here as Luciano adds a variety of keyboards including organ, electric piano, harpichord, mellotron and piano.We also get a fair amount of cello and violin filling out the sound.

"Preludio" opens with piano as strings join in. A change before 2 1/2 minutes as it settles some and gets emotional. Guitar before 4 minutes followed by drums. How good is this ! Another change 6 minutes in with a good rhythm. "Promenade I" is uptempo as drums and strings lead. Organ joins in quickly. Nice. A harpischord solo takes over after a minute and continues until after 3 minutes then the previous soundscape returns. Great sound. "Promenade II" opens with a beautiful piano melody as bass helps out. It changes before 1 1/2 minutes as the organ and mellotron take over. Piano and bass are back as contrasts continue.

"Voci" is led by piano and strings as the organ comes floating in. Drums and a fuller sound 2 minutes in. Killer stuff ! The drumming is so impressive on this track. Piano only 4 minutes in then the drums and strings join in after 5 1/2 minutes. Guitar 6 1/2 minutes in as the sound gets louder. Nice bass here too. Piano and strings lead again after 7 1/2 minutes as the organ comes floating in again as themes are repeated. Fantastic song. "Echo" opens with some powerful organ and vocal melodies. Piano takes over a minute in. Strings join in too.Guitar,vocal melodies and a beat take over after 2 1/2 minutes, organ too.The keyboards and guitar sound excellent before 7 minutes as themes are repeated and contrasted.

This is a classic and should be in every RPI fan's collecion.

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 Voci by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.05 | 44 ratings

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Voci
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Lizzy

5 stars With the patience and craftsmanship of a jeweller had il grande maestro, Luciano Basso, managed to create and then polish this peerless diamond that is his debut album. Cleverly entitled Voci, the record generates esoterical soundscape networks that connect the classical influences with early Italian progressive musical ranges along with Basso's imaginative input and thus creating an oeuvre worthy of the masterpiece status.

The album is divided into two main parts. The first one has a concerto-like structure with Preludio debuting with piano strains shortly accompanied by the violin with noticeable Vivaldi-esque embellishments at times, and developing a main theme, a custom that will spring in all the following album tracks. The musical extent evokes a lamenting sensation, in spite of the guitar which makes its presence felt, as it immediately mingles into the melody's establishment. However with the masterfully executed rhythm section, bass and drums, and the occasional inflictions of the composition, the living sounds that Basso tried to transpose into voices seem to timidly suggest that there still is hope. The proof of this does not linger, as Promenade I bursts into a very alert organ driven catchy tune supported by the bass and drums in the background. Highlighting the track on the other hand, is the entrancing play between the harpsichord and clavinet chasing each other to the point that one gets ahead until the main theme is resumed making way for Promenade II. Having a rather symmetrical composition, this third track graces our ears with a very fluid piano sound backed up by the ever so clean bass guitar and with what is now the obligatory catchy theme, all wrapped up in a barely perceptible jazzy attire.

The title track which marks the beginning of the second part embarks on a splendid display of virtuosity on the grand piano, which lures the listener into a dreamy setting for little over ten minutes, where tension and ease are conjured up alternately with guitar, piano and drums which occur in the foreground. Echo, possibly the most ambitious and elegant song on the album, teleports the listener form the Voci dimension to a preternatural level where a heavenly female choir is taken over by a dramatically building piano score which erupts into the guitar induced echo chorus. This alternates twice throughout the composition with an interesting jazzy segment, the two appearing to be connected musically, but not thematically. Last but not least, the bonus track and the odd one out, but only because of its very poor recording - Mignon - resumes the alert theme from Promenade I giving the album more cohesion.

In conclusion, although Voci is an album which does not explore the outskirts of its much standardised structure, this is exactly what makes it stand out and also a worthy candidate to challenge Il Tempo Della Gioia's crown as the ultimate RPI masterpiece.

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 Voci by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.05 | 44 ratings

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Voci
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Many consider this album to be one of the finest examples of RPI, especially in terms of the relative paucity of instrumental albums (Italians love to sing!) , where more orthodox input is of the highest order, veering very close to outright classical music when piano, cello and violin decide to dominate. The opener "Preludio" does just that, the violin cattily fiddling with the main theme until the electric guitar enters halfway through, introducing the prog-rock element, followed closely by the archetypal praetorian guard of bass and drums. The theme develops nicely without too much constraint, giving fretman Michele Zorzi the platform to entwine some flighty solos into the pattern. On "Promenade Pt1" virtuoso keyboardist Luciano Basso gets to initially wander over his organ with devilish abandon, later teasingly adding some delicate harpsichord embellishments that supply a most welcome slight romantic. The second part does have some urgent Curved Air hints, especially on grand piano where Basso does a stupendous Jobson imitation, a rather enjoyable main theme adorned with rumbling bass "accompagnement" and straightforward drumming. It becomes glaringly obvious that these are talented instrumentalists that can create slow-blooming magic. The title track is an extended 10 minute affair that is the highlight here, with riveting piano dueling with the orchestrations within a serene mood setting evoking melancholic nostalgia and hopeful abandon. As the drums, bass and guitar pierce the symphonic mist, the piece dives into typical prog soundscapes closer to Dutch master trio Trace than anything else! The sheer breadth of the arrangement gives lieu to some first-rated ivory tinkling, a dreamy meander into uncharted solos, as if an improvisation on a theme. Zorzi yet again keeps pace eloquently, adding sustained tones to the keyboard frills, patiently waiting to explode into six-string frenzy. There is a sense of timeless grandeur, becoming even clearer with repeated audition, as the magnificent theme is repeated and enhanced, the harpsichord ("Clavicembalo" in Italian) making another splendid appearance. Finally, the best is served up last, the swirling choir-infested "Echo" is a slice of genius, a brooding at times sullen and erratic juxtaposition of sounds and textures, infusing baroque classicisms with psychedelic flights (Zorzi's early Floydian slide guitar) , all drenched in a cascade of female vocals that invite raging organ flurries, zigging and zagging with unabashed glee. The growling guitar solo is a supplementary indulgence and all in all, puts a sympathetic end to this brief but explosive jewel, a singularly fascinating complement to any praiseworthy prog collection. As I further mature musically, the more I deeply enjoy the piano , what an amazing instrument! 4 low voices.

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 Cogli il Giorno by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.22 | 12 ratings

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Cogli il Giorno
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Seize the Day! Basso's masterpiece

If you ask most progressive music fans about Luciano Basso they will talk about the album "Voci." Indeed one prominent rock writer called "Voci" one Italian album that was not a bunch of "vocal-heavy operatic twaddle," a phrase that cracks me up every time I think about it. (The full quote said Italian prog was "vocal-heavy operatic twaddle-dated, clichéd, badly produced organ dominated prog." To which my reply would be..well, maybe another time. Back to Basso. As I said, most fans, like that rock writer, will tell you "Voci" was the be-all, end-all of Luciano Basso. But if you ask Basso he will tell you his own personal favorite work was this one, his second album "Cogli il Giorno" ("Seize the Day.) And after hearing it I am inclined to agree. This is an amazing RPI beauty that provides concrete evidence the classic Italian progressive scene was still kicking as late as 1978 (though the acknowledged peak was earlier of course.)

Basso hails from Venice and began the study of music and piano from early childhood. In 1976 he released the critically acclaimed progressive title "Voci" which has become a beloved RPI gem for its combination of rock and smooth symphonic atmospheres punctuated by some soaring electric guitar solos. Later Basso would spend three decades in the music industry in Italy and abroad, releasing many albums, producing, and actively composing music. But "Cogli il Giorno" was his second album on the heels of the successful "Voci." It was composed between late 1977 and early 1978 and became a rarity, never released on CD until now. Written, arranged, and performed by Basso, the album features many guest musicians, including Leonardo Dosso from "Gruppo D'Alternativa".

"Cogli il Giorno" indeed picks up from where "Voci" left off and is not simply a retread. While both are deeply steeped in classical influence, Voci was a more rocking symphonic affair and a more melodic one. On Cogli, Basso retains the classical music but the rock has been largely removed. Instead the progressive part of the equation moves in the avant-garde direction, even sometimes ambient territories. But we're not talking about the far-out weird zone here, we are still in the realm of the emotional and the easy to enjoy. Cogli is a fantastic album that catches an artist on fire, in a creative and expressive zone that occur only occasionally during most lifetimes. It moves along like a rolling wave of piano, sometime plaintive but more often it is fiery, alive piano. Accents come to the music from various strings, flute, bassoon, sitar, and saxophone. Basso explains his affinity for the album like this: "my favourite album, both for the progressive-classical experiments it contains and or the particular way instruments were played on it: I created an ensemble of musical effects and counterpoints, trying to find a way to pronounce the word "modern" in music..expresses a strong synergy between images and music. The way I worked on pacing-an elusive component in every musical expression-is very important here, because it became a sort of operative kernel for a never-ending series of variations and modulations. Sounds and words derive from a long journey through my way of living and facing musical creation." [Luciano Basso, April 2008]

The music unfolds like the soundtrack to a story in your mind. Part one of "Seize the Day" and "Mattino" are the set-up. The piano playing is sublime as Luciano spins a melodic pattern that inspires like a new day, very peaceful and pleasant. Immediately I am captivated by the album's confidence, you can sense he knows exactly what he wants throughout. In "Mattino" (Morning) the flute comes to double with the piano and is played with a breathy forcefulness as the piece continues to build. It is during "Ruotare"(Rotating) where the standard expectations fall away and I realize I have something special on my hands. Basso adds heavy drama to the mix in the form of wordless operatic soprano vocal, conjuring emotion, meditative, other-worldly places for several minutes. Out of nowhere he suddenly drops an insane Bartoccetti-like electric lead over his furious piano, pushing for obvious contrast-it's a bit of a risk but I think it works considering the flow of the album which is after all experimental. These vocals put this track into the Opus Avantra realm but in the last two tracks, constituting side 2, the album takes its third and final shift. On side two the vocals are gone leaving the piano and various treats moving to almost ambient territory in effect, reminding me of Popol Vuh sometimes. The piano playing is again pretty animated and patterns seem to repeat, but there are subtle changes. The other instruments cloud your concentration on the linear as well. Another interesting factor is the *way* the instruments sound and this is near impossible to describe, but at times various instruments are altered somehow to sound just a tad different than you might normally expect. In the final track there is a bit of distant Mark Knopfler-like lead guitar over the piano sounding a bit "Love Over Gold" for a bit. There is also some sitar playing that again clouds up the air nicely.

I believe "Cogli il Giorno" is a more important work than "Voci" as it seems to be Basso really reaching for something. In my opinion it does succeed and this is what music is all about. It is presented in the usual outstanding gatefold mini-lp sleeve edition by BTF/AMS and includes a live bonus track from the period. Dramatic, mysterious, impossible to conveniently define it is one definition of a masterpiece. Basso's first two albums are rewarding RPI gems and the kind of prog that keeps me interested. 4 ½ stars.

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 Voci by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.05 | 44 ratings

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Voci
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Hailing from Venetia, keyboard maestro Luciano Basso delivered one of the most beautiful prog albums from Italy ever- "Voci". This is, naturally, an album centered on his arsenal of grand piano, organ, harpsichord, mellotron and electric piano, although there is also room for important violin flourishes and guitar leads, as well as relevant manifestations of the rhythm duo's power. Basso's musical offering manages to be overwhelmingly Italian due to the abundant doses of Baroque, Manierism and Neoclassical textures that flow on and on in the basic melodies and their subsequent arranged developments. His style is related to those of the keyboardsmen from Le Orme, BMS and Latte e Miele: in turn, this cleverly affects the ensemble's sound as similar to the former ("Uomo di Pezza"-era) and latter aforesaid bands. The album's first half is based on a whole three-part opus, consisting of a prelude and two promenades. The 'Prelude' has a 7 ½ minute span, starting with stylish piano arpeggios and violin lines resting elegantly on mellotron layers. This serves as a scheme of a further exploration that takes place when the guitar, bass and drum kit join in. The second motif states a dynamic conclusion that I wish were a bit longer, but it's quite effective in its evolving ambience. 'Promenade I' finds Basso and friends displaying the early Le Orme similarities in full range, exploring the dynamics of the previous track's final minute with enthusiasm and richness: Basso's organ progressions lead the way for the whole band as a well-oiled symphonic machinery. The Baroque- infected harpsichord interlude is very much BMS, in my opinion. 'Promenade II' sort of combines the ceremonious majesty of 'Prelude' and the full frontal colorfulness of the first 'Promenade': as a result, the track's mood turns out to be serious and gray, yet with a playful twist that serves equally as a counterpart and a complement to the reflective trend of the serious passages. The inclusion of some occasional jazzy undertones helps the track to achieve interesting variations. The album's second half starts with the namesake track. 'Voci' is the longest track in the album. It heavily features the grand piano, which is basically elaborating a constant prologue that remains solidly stable on a floating atmosphere. The alternations between the extroverted and introverted passages are fluid, and that is largely due to the fact that the contrasts are not too pronounced. It is as if the voices mentioned in the title were perceived as waves and breezes by Basso, in this way determining the composition's overall statement. 'Echo' brings a much more elaborated dynamics, especially regarding the development of the main motifs and the sort of magnificent delivery that the band assumes as a guide: the motifs are distinct within the whole picture, with this same whole picture serving as the perfect scheme for the melodic variations. This one and the two Promenades reveal the most ambitious side of Basso as a composer: it is really convenient that 'Echo' should close down "Voci", so it could state a remarkable climax to the whole concept. All in all, "Voci" is an amazingly, captivatingly beautiful prog album that should not be missed by any real Italian prog lover or any symphonic prog fan at all.

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 Voci by BASSO, LUCIANO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.05 | 44 ratings

BUY
Voci
Luciano Basso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars ".I tried to set sound alive."

"When I composed Voci my main aim was to get rid of the symphonic rock sound clichés, and bring music to a total dimension. My academic training helped me to form and structure melody, harmony and rhythm in order to create a kind of sonic phase, far away from foreign influences able to reach the sun-rays of sonic universe in those days. In all tracks I tried to sound alive, highlighting expressive dynamics, looking for more innovation and a new approach to counterpoints. Voci is a record that still surprises me after more than 30 years although my composing work has taken a very different course nowadays." [Luciano Basso, July 2007]

Luciano Basso is a keyboard extraordinaire from Venice who started playing as a child of 10 years old. He had a deep musical education, is a composer and concert performer, and currently teaches music as well. He has recorded many albums that I have not heard, this first one I believe is the most "prog" while later material became more in the contemporary classical music style. Voci is a dynamic instrumental powerhouse with much life and vigor, and album guaranteed to delight fans of solid composition, virtuoso piano playing, and those who enjoy strings in their prog.

You know when you hear the first notes of piano wonderfully accompanied by the violin, that this album is going to be a special one. It is so alive.it breathes. The composition is elaborate and satisfying, dreamy and longing. Eventually the piece is bolstered by the soaring guitar of Michele Zorzi whose airborn leads appear in several places over this album. The song ends with a full band rock section including bass, drums, guitar, and mellotron. "Promenade 1" is an energetic swath of progressive rock which sounds like a mix of Italian and English influences. The clavinet is featured prominently in this one. In "Promenade 2" the piece begins with the interplay of Basso's piano and the outstanding bass of Mauro Periotto, soon with the added punch of the drums and the elegance of strings on top of everything. There are some quirky sections in this piece that are alternated with the sections of solo piano that sound like rain falling down, sprinkling beautifully over everything. Basso likes to develop about 3 easily recognizable themes in each piece and then he bounces back and forth from one to the other giving the album much continuity and flow. I think you could make the case that this both helps and hinders the album. On the one hand it makes "Voci" seem undeniably well-constructed and solid from a thematic standpoint. To play devil's advocate one could say that the album is a bit safe and lacks the crazy experimentation of the daring wing of the Italian school. Those who live for the wild ride of Semiramis or Ys might find Basso's debut to be a bit traditional, a bit of a "bourbon and cigars" side of prog.

On side 2 the title track "Voci" begins with heavenly piano runs over mellotron, really quite beautiful. Two minutes in Basso is joined by driving drums and bass, and also violin. That falls away back to solo piano. The electric guitar enters and begins to play notes in unison to the piano with occasional rhythm hits for emphasis. There is a short rock section leading back to the opening piano runs and then to the rocking parts again. "Echo" begins with angelic choirs against grand organ, really dramatic. This gives way to piano and violin of a somber mood. Drums and lead guitar usher in a more hopeful vibe with the choirs returning. Then the song shifts to a jazzier feel with some playful jamming on guitar and keys. Soon we return to the "hopeful" section with the sunny choirs and back again to the jamming part. Basso's piano fittingly closes the album with cello behind him. A short bonus track called "Mignon" is tacked on unfortunately, the sound quality so bad it adds nothing of value to such an outstanding album.

There is no doubt in my mind that "Voci" is a solid 4 star album that would make a great addition to any prog collection, whether you like Italian prog or not. It may well be a masterpiece for which 4 stars is conservative. I hold back because I do prefer a bit more of the "edge" that other Italian groups would use to zest up material like this, an example being something like the second QVL album. But I can take nothing else away from Voci: this is an outstanding, classy album that will knock most of you flat on your arse. If you love a classical influence, violins and piano, with solid instrumental rock backing you cannot go wrong here. The Vinyl Magic mini is a nice gatefold reproduction although the booklet is surprisingly meager compared to their usual release.

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