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I Leoni biography
A little known group, I Leoni, from Tortona (Piemonte, north-west Italy), had a short career that has just left us two singles and an album, all produced between 1970 and 1971.
They were a trio, led by keyboardist/singer Carlo Riccardi, but all their compositions were by another Riccardi, Enrico, that was not a member of the group and was later an important producer (with popular italian artists like Patty Pravo and Loredana Bertè).

Despite being mostly in the melodic prog field, the ten-track album includes some good instrumental breaks, like in the hypnotic Lo Stregone (with organ, percussion and latin-sung vocals in a Jacula style) and interesting progressive arrangements like in Jena Ridens or the closing Il Tramonto.

After the release of the album and the second single, the group brought its line-up to a four-piece with guitarist Paolo Stella, until they broke up at the beginning of 1973.

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3.23 | 24 ratings
La Foresta

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I LEONI Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 La Foresta by LEONI, I album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.23 | 24 ratings

La Foresta
I Leoni Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars So in your RPI/Italian prog collection you've got your Banco's, your PFM's, your Osanna's, maybe you've even looked into your more obscure yet still highly regarded De De Lind's, your Cervello's and your Apoteosi's, but still you crave more? How about taking a walk down more unknown paths into literally...a forest! Led by keyboardist/vocalist Carlo Riccardi, Italian trio I Leoni were a little known act from Tortona who only delivered a scant few singles and this gentle little 1971 debut in their brief career, and like the first albums of many of the later legendary RPI acts that crossed the line between R&B, Sixties Beat-pop and psychedelic ditties, `La Foresta' favours melodic vocal tunes instead of lengthy soloing, but it still offers adventurous instrumental interludes here and there woven in.

Looking at some of the highlights, pin-drop piano tendrils, softly whirring synths and gently pattering drums hover behind opener `L'Alba's sighing melancholic lead vocal and stark spoken word climax. Ruminative flute, trickles of organ and delicate bass murmurings drift through the next dreamy ballad `Il Rinoceronte', and murkier interlude `Jena Ridens' (the first piece to really suggest a weightier, more intriguing album) lurks with stalking drum rattles and grotty organ drones, a snarling loopy vocal briefly taking the piece almost closer to a Syd Barrett/early Floyd feel.

The same careful daring continues into the exotic `Lo Stregone' where manic percussion rumbles, ethnic raga strains and tribal chanting weaves around possessed spoken word rantings reminding of both I Raminghi and even extreme RPI occultists Jacula! The first side then concludes with a beautifully sung glorious popper `L'Incendio' to lift the mood again. Flip-side instrumental `Le Scimmie' jangles with guitar funkiness over sprightly huffing flute and cool bass slitherings, `Le Giraffe' bristles with Beatles-esque pop grooves (and dig that very cool runaway jazzy instrumental race in the final minute!), the sauntering `Sesso' is mellow and a touch bluesy, and closing tasteful instrumental `Il Tramonto' blissfully lifts into comforting heavens.

Despite expanding with a guitarist after this release and diving into plenty of live concert activity, the group folded by '73, which makes this sole long-player from them all the more precious. Not an album to ever be confused with being a true RPI classic, but damned if `La Foresta' isn't pretty, warmly charming and deceptively daring in just the right moments. It's also an addictive LP that keeps bringing you back for more listens, and one that RPI listeners wanting to expand their collection with underappreciated and little known gems should keep an eye out for.

Three and a half stars.

 La Foresta by LEONI, I album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.23 | 24 ratings

La Foresta
I Leoni Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars Huh, somebody recommended me this music to review, so here I am, thanks Mawertyn. Important things has been said. Even I, who likes to exaggerate ratings cannot do so much here. Pop music as far as I can tell with a lot of symphonic influences and some experimental (weird) stuff, like Lo Stregone full of tribal drumming and Ancient Roman atmosphere. It all is dripped in early sound full of finding their own way, so from historical point of view it's quite good. OK, these so called pop influences aren't as big as presented. There is a lot of higher rated albums (in my collection) that are rated better (than planned 3 stars for this album). Except this weird "flick", it's very melodic, so when you want to raise morale, mood, both or something completely different (like flag), this album is great help.

4(-), to be honest, this album is like lite version of RPI classics. Not as much prog, but not so weak to drown it to low ratings. That's me, taking care of alleged underdogs.

 La Foresta by LEONI, I album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.23 | 24 ratings

La Foresta
I Leoni Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator RPI / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Nice prog-inflected pop, early in the RPI timeline

"La Foresta" is a nice album from 1971, fairly early in the RPI evolution from beat bands to full-fledged progressive. When put into historical context, this album sounds even better. The artwork is very good and indicates some of the inclinations of the album?taking something familiar and putting an interesting spin on it.

As John (Sinkadotentree) indicates in his review, the album (ten songs, about 35 minutes) is about half composed of ballads, which are pleasant enough. There aren't any bad songs, but some are definitely more interesting and adventurous than others. My favorites are "Jena Ridens," "Le Scimmie," "Lo Stregone," and "Le Giraffe." "Jena Ridens" is darker and more sinister than the others. The drums are great, with some nice varied rhythms. Piano and organ excel on this song as well. "Le Scimmie" has a great groove with drums and bass (really strong rhythm section on this album) and also features wonderful flute playing. "Lo Stregone" is quite interesting, with some tribal drums underlying a church organ and plainchant type vocal. Over all of these are spoken words, which unfortunately I can't understand?I'm sure it would only add to the wonderful effect! "Le Giraffe" also features a great groove, almost funky?the bass line is especially interesting, which is a bit more angular than expected. Once the fuzzed electric piano comes in raining down jazzy dissonances, the effect is superb.

All in all this is a fine example of early RPI, recorded at a time when the music was transitioning from beat bands to the fully developed RPI we know and love. To put this album into context, this predates the releases by PFM and Banco and was released at about the same time as the debuts of Delirium, Osanna, and Il Rovescio della Medaglia. This album is also contemporary with Le Orme's "Collage," their first post-beat attempt and a nice precursor of things to come, but not fully developed. "La Foresta" is a nice album, with some great, lots of good, and just a few forgettable moments. Three stars for content, plus a half star added because of the release year (rounded down for the site).

 La Foresta by LEONI, I album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.23 | 24 ratings

La Foresta
I Leoni Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I LEONI were a trio from Northern Italy who left us with only one album (surprise) back in 1971. The cover art is pretty intersting, but even more interesting is the fact that Enrico Riccardi wrote all the lyrics and all the music yet he wasn't even a performing member of the band ! I'm assuming that it's his brother Carlo on keys and vocals while we also have a drummer and bassist.There is some guest female vocals as well. My biggest complaint is that half the songs are ballad-like, and I understand they did release a couple of singles which doesn't surprise me because some of these are definitely radio friendly. On the other hand there is some really good music here where they branch out (haha) and offer up some proggy ideas and passages.

"L'Alba" opens with slowly played piano as accordion and drums join in. Reserved vocals a minute in.The tempo picks up before 2 minutes with piano leading the way. "Il Rinoceronte" opens with piano that builds quickly then stops as flute takes over. Fragile vocals and piano follow. A fuller sound 1 1/2 minutes in with drums and bass although it's still ballad-like. Organ befroe 2 1/2 minutes. Themes are repeated. Female vocal melodies later with organ is a nice touch. "Jena Ridens" is darker and heavier with some sinister organ and pounding drums. I like it ! Vocals come in with passion this time, and I like the drumwork here as well. "Lo Stregone" is a cool song with lots of percussion and organ. Some spoken words 1 1/2 minutes in. "L'Incendio" is another ballad-like tune with piano and vocals. Organ later.

"Le Scimmie" opens with what sounds like a party going on as percussion and guitar come in. Flute and bass follow. Some distorted keys on this one 1 1/2 minutes in. Trippy stuff man. "La Rugiada" is another ballad-like tune although it's pretty good. "La Giraffe" is one of my favourites with that good rhythm and the vocals sound better. Some fuzz too. It turns into an uptempo jam before 3 1/2 minutes and then ends abruptly. "Sesse" has this catchy beat with vocals. This is a fun song as he sings the letters of the song title in the chorus. Check out the percussion, flute and drums late. "Il Tramonto" opens with slowly played piano before female vocal melodies come in. Drums arrive as the sound gets fuller. Bass 2 minutes in followed by accordion.

This is a good album, I just wished they tried to be more adventerous and taken out most of the ballads. Still I can see this album getting a lot of 4 star ratings because it's fun and very well done.

Thanks to micky for the artist addition.

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