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MADRUGADA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Madrugada biography
This italian band from Bergamo was formed around 1970 and lasted until 1978. Their name means "dawn", in spanish.
Their eponimous debut, only released in 1974 by Philips, is not a true progressive album.
It contains seven tracks, some of which were arranged and signed by ROBERTO VECCHIONI (a singer-songwriter that's still very popular nowadays).
The first side shows some influences by a West Coast styled sound, with multivocal parts well executed but not particularly original. Second side contains the long Mandrax, led by Gianfranco Pinto's keyboards, that's probably the best album track.
Except for a limited use of acoustic guitar on Uomo blu the band didn't use guitars and their sound was strongly based on keyboards and richly arranged vocal parts.

With only second album "Incastro" (1977) the band moved to the progressive realm and this time the trio was helped by some guest musicians like LUCIO FABBRI on violin (PIAZZA DELLE ERBE and later PFM), the jazz saxophonist Gianluigi Trovesi, and Luciano Ninzatti (from EUGENIO FINARDI'S band CRISALIDE) on guitar.
With a much better production and sound, this is generally considered their best work, with long tracks like the opening Romanzen or Aragon. Another nice song was » triste il vento, that had previously been played by another group from Bergamo that had a close connection with Madrugada, PERDIO.
Like in the first album there are some odd different-styled tracks, but "Incastro" can be surely appreciated by progressive music fans, epsecially by lovers of RPI, jazz-rock and avantguard music.

In concert, Madrugada played on tour with AREA, CLAUDIO ROCCHI and BIGLIETTO PER L'INFERNO, and with KEVIN AYERS (in Switzerland).

Pinto and Zanelli collaborated with Mauro Paoluzzi in his shortlived PANGEA project, which produced a promotional album in 1976.
Keyboardist Pinto has collaborated with many italian and international artists (Patty Pravo, Roberto Vecchioni, Adriano Pappalardo, Riccardo Fogli, Gianna Nannini, Brian Auger), and in the late 90's with the reformed progressive group PERDIO.




Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
In the vast contest of italian progressive bands and artists originated from the seventies, Madrugada appears as the most unique and eclectic, altermating typical RPI sound within jazz-rock and also experimental avatguard excursions.



Discography:
Madrugada, studio album (1974)
Inca...
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Live at TralfamadoreLive at Tralfamadore
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EMI Music Norway 2010
Audio CD$73.99
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MADRUGADA discography


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

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

3.01 | 17 ratings
Madrugada
1974
2.89 | 20 ratings
Incastro
1977

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

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0.00 | 0 ratings
Katmandu
1976

MADRUGADA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Incastro by MADRUGADA album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.89 | 20 ratings

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Incastro
Madrugada Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Mid-70's found Madrugada at their most prolific period.The trio had a great live activity, playing alongside Area, Claudio Rocchi and Biglietto per l'Inferno among others, and even abroad like with Kevin Ayers in Switzerland.Additionaly Pinto and Zanelli were involved in the great one-shot project Pangea and their very good 1976 ''Invasori'' album.In 1977 it was time for the band's sophomore effort and ''Incastro'' sees the light again on Phillips, featuring some guest musicians, among them future-P.F.M. violin player Lucio Fabbri.

''Incastro'' shows Madrugada at their most proggy phase and the long opening ''Romanzen'' is a good proof.Dreamy Soft Progressive Rock with Folk references, where synths and flutes lead the way along with ethereal vocals, still the ending section is trully experimental, featuring groovy percussion along with a dissonant piano improvisation in a very Avant-Garde BATTIATO-like style.''E'Triste il Vento'' was originally a composition of the already disbanded Perdio, which had strong links with Madrugada (members of both bands played with Terza Classe in early-70's).This is very romantic organ/violin-driven Italian Prog with a smooth atmosphere and excellent vocals.The all instrumental ''Aragon'' opens as a good Heavy Rocker, but soon becomes a Prog/Fusion type of composition with spacey keyboards and violin solos till' the very end, trully energetic but a bit repetitive stuff.The title of ''Katmandu'' suggests an Eastern vibe and the truth is close, being a psychedelic instrumental with sitar, percussion, which gives its place to a totally dull rocker with an awful chorus, definitely heading as the album's single for promotional reasons.''Noter de Berghem'' is an a cappella attempt by the band with choir-type of singing and ''Hobbit'' will close the album in a very strange way.Avant-Garde experiments with flutes, sax and keyboards improvisation until the middle, when a groovy part appears in a Fusion-type, led by the rhythm section, saxes and synths.

This meant to be the last contribution of Madrugada in the prog world, as the punk attack prevented the trio to record any further.Gianfranco Pinto continued his career as a session musician next to various well-known pop singers and in late-90's he was also part of the Perdio reformation.Zanelli and Rapelli seem to have left the music industry for good.

While ''Madrugada'' was just an introduction of the band to prog arrangements, ''Incastro'' shows a huge development in terms of composition, often bordering with experimental forms of music, not always conveincing, but definitely interesting.Go for the BTF CD reissue, which also contains three additional live cuts by the group.

 Madrugada by MADRUGADA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.01 | 17 ratings

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Madrugada
Madrugada Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars MADRUGADA were a seventies Italian band (trio) who played a softer brand of Progressive music. I do like the music here but what i'm not a big fan of is the multi-vocals that are sung like backing harmonies would be.That really gives the music a sweet almost wimpy flavour.

"Madrugada" opens with the wind blowing as the piano plays these melodies throughout. "Camminar" is mellow as those multi-vocals come in. Drums after 1 1/2 minutes as the organ comes and goes. It settles back around 4 minutes but it's brief. "Vieni Nella Strada" opens with light vocals and piano as a beat joins in as it gets fuller. Multi-vocals before 3 minutes with a sample of someone speaking with passion in the background.

"Uomo Blu" sounds great until the vocals arrive but the instrumental sections throughout this song are very good. "D.M.T." really sounds like early CAMEL instrumentally at times.There are vocal melodies though.

"Mandrax" is my favourite.Sparse sounds come and go early on then it kicks in after 2 minutes. A spacey calm takes over before 4 minutes. It builds with synths then we get another calm before 7 1/2 minutes. "Mandrugadu II" is the short closing track.

A good album if you don't mind the vocal style.

 Madrugada by MADRUGADA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.01 | 17 ratings

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Madrugada
Madrugada Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Another soft prog Italian act,MADRUGADA were found in 1970 in Bergamo by keyboardist Gianfranco Pinto,drummer Pietro Rapelli and bassist Billy Zanelli,the later being a member of the beat group I Condor.Additionally Zanelli and Pinto were part of Mauro Paoluzzi's project PANGEA,which released an album in 1976.Actually some of the tracks of ''Madrugada'' were written by Paoluzzi.the rest of them written by famous songwriter Roberto Vecchioni.The debut of the band was originally pressed by Phillips,re-issued on CD in 2006 by BTF with four bonus tracks.

STYLE: Regarding the original LP,side A contains four tracks very fram from the classic Italian prog sound,mainly executed on keyboards.More specifically,after the 3 min. dreamy instrumental intro arranged for classic piano,the other three tracks are driven by Fender Rhodes piano/synth grooves,relaxed bass lines and drums and accesible polyphonic sections,while the compositions present a light rural edge.Side B opens with ''DMT'',where gears lift a bit up with some nice interplays,great moog and organ work and a touch of fusion overall.''Mandrax'' hails as the epic of the album (10 min. long''),where the band delivers smooth symph/fusion prog,characterized by the dreamy piano parts,the haunting organ and its hypnotic atmosphere.Borrowing the dreamy soundscape of the opening track,''Madrugada II'' closes the album in a nice and very lyrical way.

INFLUENCES/SOUNDS LIKE: The two sides differ so much,the first one obviously being in a West-coast style,while on the second one the band seems to draw influences from THE TRIP or soft PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONI.

PLUS: The second side belongs among the most dreamy of Italian prog's soft sounds of the 70's.Beautiful keys throughout with some excellent organ and piano passages and a good collaboration between the members.The lyrical moments hold also some of the album's ethereal atmosphere.

MINUS: The first side is decent as well,but it's far out of the site's scope.Mainly accesible piano-driven tracks with multi-vocal parts often tending to the beat/psych past of the band's members.

WILL APPEAL TO:...mainly to lovers of the dreamy side of Italian prog and even keyboard-freaks (but with no bombastic moments).

CONCLUSION/RATING: ''Madrugada'' is nothing less or more than a decent release of 70's Italian prog.If only the whole album would sound like its B side...One of the most solid 3 stars efforts.Nice,but not even close to great.

 Incastro by MADRUGADA album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.89 | 20 ratings

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Incastro
Madrugada Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This second album opens on a long piece of music which is quite difficult to apprehend: it is a combination of beautiful melody, symphonic music, experimental parts.

Some sort of combination between early PFM, Trespass and Moonchild. Evenly distributed. As far as I'm concerned, they could have focused more into the sweet and quiet melodic part and just forget the one. Or maybe expand the former a little more. It even turns into an ethnic piece with some African drumming which are rather unexpected. The last five minutes are quite hard to digest, at least for me. Dull is what best describes my feeling.

Aragon opens on a pure jazz and disjointed section, moving into a fully Crimsonesque atmosphere (but the intro could have been performed by KC as well). The band is then again investigating (?) into some improvisation (avant-garde?) part which is really unnecessary. I don't like this track.

Then comes Katmandu. Difficult to explain, really: it is obviously influenced with some local sounds during the intro: so far so good. But then comes the body of this song. Totally dreadful and disgusting. Be quick to press next; it is really an unbearable track.

Actually this album is rather weak. I was not considering their debut as a masterpiece but this one holds very few good moments (the short Noter De Berghem just confirm the boredom).

Bonus live tracks are a nice add on (especially the long Pinto Suite), but the quality level on these recording is not top notch (to say the least).

If you are into jazz improvisations, experimental musical experiences, you might find this appealing. It is not my case. This album has a very, very thin link with the Italian symphonic style. It is somewhat misleading to have this band featured in this category. They only have released one great song which fits the genre (Mandrax) from their debut.

Two stars.

 Madrugada by MADRUGADA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.01 | 17 ratings

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Madrugada
Madrugada Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is yet another obscure Italian band of the mid seventies.

The music that you will discover has this definite Italian taste but I would say that there is something missing out there, but don't really know what. It is maybe therefore that they remained so discreet.

Both Madrugada are useless IMO (especially the church oriented closing), and I am not really passionate with the mellow Camminar nor with the straight-forward and simple Vieni Nella Strada which features poor vocals and a weak melody IMO.

There is finally some more texture in Uomo Blu: more variation in the music played as well. The instrumental part conveys some jazzy feeling (good bass play) which breaks the global atmosphere from this work which was too much on the tranquil side. The soft jazz feeling can be listened to as well during D.M.T which prepares for the best song featured on the album.

Because there is one formidable song featured on this album. By far the longest piece of music Mandrax is a perfect representative of the great Italian prog music we are all expecting from this sort of bands. Intricate, melodic, beautifully symphonic and moving. I only miss some great vocals but hey: nobody's perfect! Instead, we'll get a sublime guitar break.

Thanks to this song (which takes up a third of the album length), I rate this work with three stars.

 Madrugada by MADRUGADA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.01 | 17 ratings

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Madrugada
Madrugada Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars A keyboard-lead trio, Madrugada's (Dawn in Portuguese and Saanish) first album came out relatively late (74) in comparison with the band's birth (1970) and the previous 60's credentials (Le Bugie, Gruppo 3, Fuchs, I Condor & Mat 65) and their previous incarnation Terza Classe; and certainly even more in spite of the outside help of singers like Paoluzzi and Vecchioni. So these late bloomers produced their two albums in a short span, a sort of artistic boom, but even then most of the tracks on the first side of the present debut (graced with a normal artwork) are written by the pair, the rest being attributed to "piglet", which I assume is the trio together. But Madrugada is not your typical KB trio in the ELP style

Starting out a bit as if it was a Supertramp album with piano over wind noises, the eponymous track is a short intro leading into a 5-mins Camminar a folksy ballad, showing a poppy side of the group. Vieni Nella Strada is just as pop with a extended chorus and tape effects. Clearly the A-side's highlight Uomo Blue (Blue man) has a distinct electric piano sound and reaches calmly and subtly into Canterbury territory.

The flipside starts on the delightful DMT, and if it wasn't for this hugely neglected cymbals overpowering the whole sound, this track would be their best of the album. The cymbals/hi-hat sound was a problem a bit all over the album, but in this track, it really becomes atrocious. The 10-mins instrumental Mandrax is the album's highlight with its constantly changing soundscapes and Canterbury penchants, while the closing eponymous outro is sung, unlike its intro companion.

Four bonus tracks for this Mini-Lp reissue, two of them of great interest since they are correct live versions of the album's best tracks. Of lesser interest (but still) is an early longer version of Comminar, but we are again plagued by the cymbals problems, but the 06 reunion track (at least I think it is) Reborn is rather pleasant and proggy as well. Had this album not have its cymbals sounds problem, I'd not have such a hard time saying which of their two albums I prefer. Would this album have that problem corrected, the debut would clinch this, but I'll leave it as a draw.

 Incastro by MADRUGADA album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.89 | 20 ratings

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Incastro
Madrugada Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Second album from this trio, that gets lots of help from guest musicians, yet I'm not sure calling themselves (even in a subtitle) Electronic Avant-garde is a fitting word for them, no matter how superior this album is to the acoustic ballads of their self-titled debut. This second album is not much improvement on the debut but has such a wider spectrum that it has certainly a problem focusing on a musical direction and maintaining it. The album came out with a gatefold artwork representing fragments of dunes and the back cover had the full picture restored.

Indeed the 12-mins Romanzen starts out very much like an early PFM track with an outstanding flute from guest Bertocchi and the whole shebang, slownly dying into a bongo solo that signals a second movement. The bongos are quickly double tracked and joined by hard-to-define shrill sounds, but nothing electronics I figure. A solid Aftrican drum joins with bunches of percussions to make this an Voodoo-like dance until the piano slowly steps in and takes over as the percissions disappear. The piano soon becomes double tracked and dissonant, before dying out at the end of the track, leaving us puzzled as to what this "trip" meant. The cover Sad Wind picks up a bit where the first movement of the previous track had left, minus the flute, but a violin as bonus. But dying on an Elton Dean or Archie Shepp-like sax improv, having us wonder why again.

The flipside opens on a drone that gets up-ended by that same sax, but this time it's not improvising) and a very modern and technical jazz-rock; and once it calms down, the drone reappears but in a higher register and the whole group flies into a You-era Gong trip that's simply too close for comfort, but the group moves on and return to an easier jazz-rock than the one that had first opened this very Aragon track. Katmandu has the obvious sitar opening the track; but once the intro is gone, this becomes an atrocious and completely out-of-context pop song. Melting in the gospel-like Noter de Berghem, hesitating between Clegg and Afro-American church music. Both tracks are best skipped to keep a semblance of unity in musical direction. The closing Hobbit is again flirting with atonal and dissonant improvisations, until a steady drum installs an order that the bass soon transfers in a wild GG- like trance with keys and saxes reaching an impressive level of complexity. This is for me the most impressive track of the album, by far: everything sounds well though-out (if not written), unlike the much clumsier Romanzen and Aragon.

The three live bonus tracks are not of the same sound quality, but hardly devoid of quality, a show of the band's live performance. The first two are fairly different live renditions of Aragon and Hobbit, especially for the former. Most interesting is the 14-minjs+Pinto Suite, which could've been easily added to this album in place of some two shorter tracks. And should that track have been on the studio album, it would've been the highlight with hobbit. So the bonus tracks add some value to the album, but I deplore such a difference of sound between the album original and the live bonus track, especially the recording level. In spite of such heavy flaws I spoke out throughout my review, this album still has some very recommendable moments, but not enough to make this album a sure and clear nod. I think it's best you listen to this carefully before deciding on it.

 Incastro by MADRUGADA album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.89 | 20 ratings

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Madrugada Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Andrea Cortese
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Madrugada's second (and unfortunately, last) studio album is generally regarded as their most convincing work and their best contribution to the italian progressive scene. The trio was composed by keyboardist Gianfranco Pinto, bassist Alessandro "Billy" Zanelli and drummer percussionist Pietro Rapelli. Their sound is eclectic and varied going from more typical rock progressivo italiano patterns (as in E' Triste il Vento with a certain Lucio Fabbri on violin) through jazz-rock excursions, to more experimental avantguard territories and even to typical folk tunes from the Alps. This is clearly the main choice, here, to shock the listener with many changes fo tempo and atmosphere. Frank Zappa and Robert Wyatt wisely mixed within genuine italian flavour and invention with sparse tribal and dramatic overtones.

Two long tracks (almost intrumental) deserve special mention: the opener Romanzen (12:30) which goes absurd in the ending "panting" part with more than a reference also to Alan Sorrenti's Come un Vecchio Incensiere...'s epic.

Aragon (8:51) has a harder structure thanks to the guitar played by Luciano Ninzatti. A smooth bass guitar contribution from "Billy" Zanelli, atmospheric and quasi-cosmic keyboards in a very hypnotizing vortex.

With Katmandu (3:41) the band opens with interesting eastern/indian influences that suddenly fade into a strange "pop" song with funny lyrics about a lost love in India and the obviously sad return to the home village, Berghem, that's why of the unespected folk vocals based choir following (Noter de Berghem, 1:26).

The instrumental closer Hobbit (6:09) follows the example of Romanzen and Aragon with catching and strong bass lines, aggressive drums and percussions, non-sense colours and those cosmic keyboards' adventures.

E' Triste il Vento (5:28) features the important contribution of PFM's member Lucio Fabbri on violin and is the most typical RPI song with mellow vocals and slightly medieval- renaissance feel. Very good.

On the elegant BTF's papersleeve remastered reissue there are also three bonus live tracks: Aragon and Hobbit plus the previously unreleased Pinto Suite (14:15). Not the best sound's quality, ok, but a great document of the strong personality of the band.

3.5 stars

Thanks to Andrea Cortese for the artist addition.

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