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TITO JR. SCHIPA

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Tito Jr. Schipa biography
TITO SCHIPA JR. is the son of the famous tenor of the same name. After a childhood spent between Los Angeles and Paris, he settled in Rome, where he pursued his musical studies. His career as a musician started in 1967 with a show based on a selection of 18 Bob Dylan songs, rearranged and put together to form a sort of rock opera ("L'Opera Beat") - a format that would become a constant of his artistic output.

Though SCHIPA's recording debut came in 1972 with the single "Sono passati i giorni", he had been working since 1969 on a rock opera called "Orfeo 9", based on the Greek myth of Orpheus, which was first performed at the prestigious Teatro Sistina in Rome in January 1970. However, the actual double album was released only in 1973, while the TV movie based on the rock opera was first shown in 1975, because of problems with censorship.

"Orfeo 9" saw the first appearance on record by two Italian artists who would soon become very popular, Renato Zero and Loredana Bertè, who were also featured in the original theatrical version. Many other important musicians are listed in the cast, including BRAINTICKET leader Joel Vandroogenbroeck, and drummer Tullio De Piscopo (who would later join NEW TROLLS ATOMIC SYSTEM). The album is an interesting, early example of the rock opera style, with complex vocal parts and orchestral arrangements.

TITO SCHIPA JR's second album, "Io ed io solo", released in 1974 and written mainly in a singer-songwriter style, was much less successful than its predecessor. He used the pop opera format again in 1978, for a reworking of Donizetti's "Don Pasquale"; re-titled "Er Dompasquale", it was released as a 3-LP box set, and performed all over the world until the end of the 80's. Another interesting album by SCHIPA. was released in 1987. "Dylaniato" is a collection of eight Bob Dylan songs translated into Italian by the artist himself, also featuring the contribution of former APOTEOSI member Massimo Idà.

Raffaella Berry (Raff)





Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
TITO SCHIPA JR is responsible for one of the first attempts at a rock opera. "Orfeo 9" was first performed on stage one year before The Who's "Tommy".



Discography:
Orfeo 9 (1973 - studio album)
Io e io solo (1974 - studio album)
Er Dompasquale (1978 - studio album)
Concerto per un primo amore (1982 - studio album)
Dylaniato (1987 - studio album)

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Orfeo 9Orfeo 9
Light in the Attic 2014
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TITO JR. SCHIPA discography


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TITO JR. SCHIPA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.26 | 9 ratings
Orfeo 9
1973
3.09 | 4 ratings
Io Ed Io Solo
1974

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TITO JR. SCHIPA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Io Ed Io Solo by SCHIPA, TITO JR. album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.09 | 4 ratings

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Io Ed Io Solo
Tito Jr. Schipa Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars 1974 and Tito Schipa Jr. releases his second album, again on Fonit Cetra, under the title ''Io ed io solo''.Only Mario Fales appears from the line-up of his ambitious debut, but the help Schipa receives in this work comes from significant members of the Italian Prog scene: Drummers Ruggero Stefani from L' Uovo di Colombo and Samadhi and Walter Martino from Reale Accademia di Musica, Goblin and Libra, guitarist Roberto Gardin, who had spent a short time with Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno and bassist Claudio Barbera also from Libra.A few more guests help him also on keyboards, guitars, sax and bass, while Schipa himself handles the piano and sings.

This was a different fruit compared to the grandiose ''Orfeo 9'', neither close to a Rock Opera style or a real Progressive Rock album, despite the presence of an otherwise all-star prog line-up.''Io ed io solo'' contains long, slightly melancholic and quite artistic songs, maybe close to MAURO PELOSI's early stuff, having an extremely poetical atmosphere due to the lyrical voice of Schipa.Most of them are based on orchestral strings and acoustic guitars, occasionally flavored by piano interludes, light keyboards, melodic saxes and sporadic electric moments.However the musicianship ranges mainly from Orchestral Pop to Folk Rock with minor proggy touches, the result being also comparable with ANGELO BRANDUARDI's works or NICOLA RANDONE's first album.The title track though is a nice soft Prog Rock cut close to CELESTE, STEFANO TESTA or ERRATA CORRIGE with good organ parts and smooth interplays contained.Notice that the whole B-side is captured by the 22-min. ''Alberto, un millennio se ne va'', which is actually a very good example of Theatrical Progressive/Art Rock, swirling among jazzy interludes, light symphonic vibes and a typical Italian Singer/Songwriter style.Excellent vocal arrangements, lots of electric guitars, relaxed solos and rural inspirations result a long opus, that maybe not outstanding, but definitely has its moments, especially on the good instrumental moves, that lack a bit of energy but are full of emotional melodies.Even the mood has a nice range, from darker and melancholic moments to more optimistic and pleasant orientations.

Schipa continued to release albums for a while, like the 3-LP ''Er DomPasquale'', based on a reworking of Donizetti's Don Pasquale, or ''Concerto per un primo amore'', released in 1982, where Schipa was supported by the excellent Prog group Horus, but both of them were far from his prog past.In 1988 he released ''Dylaniato'', based on the work of Bob Dylan, and since the 90's he has been working as a soundtrack composer and film director.

While not equal in terms of music value with ''Orfeo 9'', ''Io ed io solo'' is a nice example of twisting, theatrical and lyrical Italian Art Rock, perfect item for anyone searching for some atmospheric content and delicate melodies in his music.Warmly recommended.

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 Orfeo 9 by SCHIPA, TITO JR. album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.26 | 9 ratings

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Orfeo 9
Tito Jr. Schipa Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I think, like so many others, that italian prog from the 70's holds their own. Often the music is clearly italian, not just by way of the language but above all through the music itself. Often symphonic it is in flavor so connected to this country of Italy. Schipa's masterpiece is also evidently italian in sound. And it is a really competent piece of work. There is nothing bad I can say about the album, onlythat it's not all that memorable. It flows steadily and I dig, man. I dig the music. But when it's all over I see there's not much sticking to my brain. What was that I just heard?

Overall, Orfeo 9, is a competent and pleasant piece of music. It's not bad at all, just not that great either. It's worth the occasional listen but it's likely not to be picked when it comes to RPI. There's so many greater bands. Still, pleasant.

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 Orfeo 9 by SCHIPA, TITO JR. album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.26 | 9 ratings

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Orfeo 9
Tito Jr. Schipa Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The Italian "Hair?"

"Orfeo9" is a famous Italian "rock opera" that straight from the gate reminded me of the clips I'd seen of "Hair" or "Jesus Christ Superstar." It was first presented in January of 1970 making it the earliest example of the rock-opera from Italy to my knowledge. Composed by Tito Schipa Jr., son of the famous tenor of the same name, Orfeo9 is a truly joyful celebration of singing and a very enjoyable experience. It brings to mind the Dalton/Paciana Story of a few years later, mixed with some Moody Blues, Beatles, and Opus AVantra. The album, which came well after the stage performance, was recorded between fall 1971 and summer 1972, putting it on the early side of the classic RPI period. While not a completely progressive album by any means you can certainly hear the influence in the arrangements, manic style shifts, and lyrical themes. It is accurately described in the liner notes as a "complex avant-garde rock opera with symphonic and jazz ingredients, dramatic performances, and meloncholic melodies." Schipa is using the character of Orfeo as a means to study the human condition, life, and happiness. Another reviewer has stated you need to be able to understand the Italian language to enjoy the album. While I acknowledge there is a complex story here that I miss out on an English-speaking listener, I reject the claim that it is necessary. I enjoyed this very much for the music and the wondrous singing--if I need to follow a story I have a whole wall of books and English CDs for that fix. Foreign language prog, even the rock-opera, is but another experience for those with open minds.

What really knocks me on my can here are not amazing proggy guitar leads or interstellar spacey keyboard fireworks, but a most human connection. This journey is a string of one dynamite vocal after another: each one unique, each packing stark, real, and touching feelings from one person to another, artists to listener. The vocal and music styles are different and engaging, and come at your relentlessly. Male vocals, female vocals, feisty choruses, opera, spoken word, and folksy singalongs. The music is wide ranging itself venturing from enthusiastic orchestration to rock to blues, soul, folk, and jazz. Spirited organ runs, acid guitar leads, lovely piano, gentle acoustic guitar interludes, and spoken word narration fill in the crevices between our singing storytellers. Some Caribbean rhythms even find their way into the generous soup of variety. "Seguici" ("Follow Us") offers gypsy-like male/female vocals over sitar and tablas. There is a repeating and very catchy melody that comes and goes often throughout the long two discs giving it a sense of continuity. Tito performs on VCS-3 While Oscar winner Bill Conti plays piano and Moog througout and handles the orchestrations. As mentioned this is not an album to buy for prog shredding but all of the musicians handle their parts with great care and competence. It's a near flawlessly executed project from start to finish.

Another BTF classic reissue here deserving of accolades. Orfeo is presented in its original glory with a 2-CD, gatefold mini-lp sleeve edition. It features very good sound (for the period) along with handsome discs embossed with the "eyes" art on the cover, plus a huge booklet with the complete script in Italian and Bio in both languages. It would have been nice to have the script translated to English but I'm sure the costs were prohibitive. Orfeo is at the same time both dated and yet fresh--of the period, yet timeless in the human connection of voice. And as I said above, if you don't speak Italian just relax and enjoy the emotion. Learn to hear music in a new way.

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 Orfeo 9 by SCHIPA, TITO JR. album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.26 | 9 ratings

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Orfeo 9
Tito Jr. Schipa Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by paolo.beenees

4 stars As you can read in the artist's biography, back in 1970 this was the first rock opera to be represented on stage. By 1973 Tito Schipa jr. was able to record it with the help of a prestigious cast of singers and musicians (Brainticket's Joel Van Droogenbroek, singers Renato Zero and Loredana Berté - who were to become Italian mainstream pop superstars, percussionist Tullio De Piscopo and Bill Conti, who some years later would write the Academy Award winning soundtrack to the first Rocky). This demanding and ambitious work (also matched with a filmed version) failed to obtain a full mainstream success then, but with the passing years it managed to raise a real cult status, so that today any lover of Italian rock (in general, not only progressive) cannot help considering it a real milestone - and besides some inevitable flaws, it really is! Tito Schipa jr., considering his famous father and his attending the operatic world, had a very clear and consistent idea of what an opera was, and conceived a very coherent work, with leitmotifs, reprises, themes, a strong overall structure and the capability to match the best features ot Italan progressive rock and the songwriter's style; his young age, on the other hand, together with a (sometimes) heavy dose of self-indulgence, brought to some drawbacks: the plot is not very clear, the hippy philosophy nowadays sounds a little stiff, some Beat-era remains are somewhat out of place (the country sounding Pane Pane, Senti Orfeo or Da Te, per Te), the introduction is beautiful, but way too long (it takes four tracks to be introduced to the main character), and - most of all - Schipa keeps for himself the protagonist role, despite his voice being at length annoying, if not irritating (for instance, when he repeats several times No in La Città Fatta Inferno). But the music here is so good and well performed that you simply forget these flaws, and finish up by enjoying a very deep and emotional musical experience, rich in a strong epical feel, which is better described by following the plot it narrates (even if it took me several listenings - and some internet research - to understand it). The story opens introducing a group of young people inhabiting a former church: the jazzy Tre Note and Invito (with beautiful vocal harmonies and fine arrangements) create the right setting for the whole narration, while the delicate L'alba, including a choral and emotional climax, and the rhytmical and rocking Vieni Sole complete the description of the environment where Orfeo (the main character) can move his first steps. He starts singing his difficulty to understand himself in Il Risveglio di Orfeo, a well crafted jazzy piece, where Schipa is involved in a dialogue with his own voice. Orfeo's meditations are interrupted by the arrival of the bread boy (Pane Pane), coming from a deserted city which he describes in La Città Sognata, a very interesting track, epic and not far from some contemporary Rice/Webber's achievements. He notices Orfeo's torment and understands that the hero needs a girlfriend (La Ragazza che non volta il viso). Orfeo manages to find the object of his love in Euridice; this moment is described in the (IMO) most moving piece of the opera, Eccotela Qui: the song starts with a loop of two simple guitar chords, overlayed by several voices of interviewed people describing their views about happiness; then Schipa/Orfeo starts singing in a painful mood, eventually flowing into Conti's compelling orchestral arrangements and a delicate coda. Senti Orfeo, at this point, describes the marriage of Orfeo and Euridice, a moment of happiness which is spoiled when the Happiness Merchant (overtly a pusher) breaks in imposing the bunch to be happier and happier by using his stuff: this is the theme of Il Venditore di Felicità, a very good tune with a very expressive and theatrical Renato Zero on a funky background. Euridice disappears, yielding the Happiness Merchant's proposals, and Orfeo set on a trip to find again his beloved one. Here begins disc 2, the weakest one, to be honest. Despite a good introduction with the funky and dynamic Ciao (another good performance by the narrators), Per la strada (where Orfeo meets a couple of hitchhikers), a cheesy example of parish rock, and the shy raga rock of Seguici risk to turn into the most boring pieces of the whole work. Luckily enough, the Happiness Merchant comes back and introduces Orfeo to a Clairvoyant who tries to distraught him from his search, and the good music comes back with the obscure and energetic La Chiromante and the acoustic Eccoti Alla Fine, a very heartly and delicate tune featuring astounding lyrics and ending by a reprise of the final part of Eccotela qui. Orfeo arrives to the city, a chaotic reality where everybody is afraid of a mysterious bomb, described in the jazz rock of La Bomba A. Here Orfeo declares his love for Euridice (Da Te Per Te, which sounds as if it were recorded by a beat group in 1967), and looks for her in the underground levels of this hurban environment: this passage is depicted in La Città Fatta Inferno, a heavy (almost doom) metal piece - maybe a bit too long, but intense and desperate. Left alone, Orfeo will be again teased by the Happiness merchant, but in the end will be obliged to admit that he has definitely lost Euridice. The end of this sad tale is left to the words first of a blues singer in the bluesy acoustic Una Vecchia Favola (with English lyrics) and then of the narrators, but only to let Orfeo close this opera by singing his regained self consciousness and hope in the future in the reprise of Eccoti alla fine, which develops the theme of the song by inserting a different verse and references from Da Te Per Te, with a hurried and clumsy result. Such a story would have deserved a (musically speaking) better ending but, overall, this album remains one of the best and most convincing operas in the history of rock music, standing comparison with works such as Jesus Christ Superstar and, on a conceptual point of view, The Lamb Lies Down.... In the end you'll find yourself perceiving Orfeo as a sort of brother, deserving all your simpathy and digging deep into your own heart - provided a good translation of the lyrics, of course!

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