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PICCHIO DAL POZZO

Canterbury Scene • Italy


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Picchio Dal Pozzo biography
Formed in Genoa, Italy in 1976 - Disbanded in 1980 - Reformed in 2002

PICCHIO DAL POZZO are considered to be one of the very few "Canterbury" inspired bands that emerged from Italy's fertile 1970's progressive rock musical scene. The sextet known as "Picchio dal Pozzo" surges forth via romantically melodic overtones, swiftly implemented time signatures and jazzy interplay in concert with the proverbial peaks, valleys, knotty twists and circuitous turns. "Camere Zimmer Rooms" is a must for all those enamoured of both Italian prog as well as the Canterbury music scene. Essential for their fans, as well as fans of groups like CARAVAN, HATFIELD & The NORTH, HENRY COW, SOFT MACHINE & FRANK ZAPPA.

See also:
- WiKi
- Italian Prog

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Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi ProblemiAbbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi
Rer 2016
$18.88
$116.99 (used)
Picchio Dal PozzoPicchio Dal Pozzo
Goodfellas 2011
$21.37
$16.12 (used)
Camere Zimmer RoomsCamere Zimmer Rooms
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$11.01
$13.97 (used)
Pic Nic ValdapozzoPic Nic Valdapozzo
Imports 2004
$34.32
$24.99 (used)
Camere Zimmer Rooms by Picchio Dal Pozzo (2001-09-17)Camere Zimmer Rooms by Picchio Dal Pozzo (2001-09-17)
Cuneiform
$42.98
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PICCHIO DAL POZZO discography


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PICCHIO DAL POZZO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.12 | 254 ratings
Picchio Dal Pozzo
1976
4.15 | 106 ratings
Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi
1980
4.07 | 81 ratings
Camere Zimmer Rooms
2001
3.55 | 29 ratings
Pic_nic'@'Valdapozzo
2004

PICCHIO DAL POZZO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.76 | 19 ratings
A Live
2010

PICCHIO DAL POZZO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.02 | 5 ratings
Live
2013

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

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

PICCHIO DAL POZZO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.15 | 106 ratings

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Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars PICCHIO DAL POZZO (whimsically translated as "woodpecker from the well") is famous for having been Italy's only answer to England's Canterbury jazz Scene that developed from that warm and fuzzy complexity generated by the pioneers Soft Machine and Caravan. They emerged in Genova all the way back in 1973 but only sparsely released albums with their self-titled debut not emerging until 1976. While many progressive bands were starting to cave to the pressures of crafting more catchy accessible commercial music, a few staunchly stubborn bands carried the torch of the progressive rock heyday of the early 70s. While finding little success commercially speaking, PICCHIO DAL POZZO dazzled the critics with their unique amalgamation of Canterbury jazz, psychedelic space rock, Zappa-esque quirkiness and symphonic Italian prog on their debut and has become somewhat of an underground classic for those in certain circles.

While it took four years for the band to release their followup album ABBIAMO TUTTI I SUOI PROBLEMI (roughly "we have all your troubles"), much had changed in the music scene since their debut. During this brief four year timespan, punk had completely dethroned prog from its perch, disco, new wave and other catchy groove oriented styles of music had become the norm and the prog bands that hadn't disbanded completely adapted to the new musical trends with bands like Genesis, Yes and Gentle Giant jumping on the pop hook bandwagon. PICCHIO DAL POZZO on the other hand, went completely in the opposite direction. Not only did they buck the trend of 1980, but delivered an even more complex delivery of brutal prog than the debut that jettisoned most of the hypnotic space rock and symphonic prog sensibilities of their homeland and went for the avant-prog jugular. They did however retain ample doses of Canterbury jazz woven into their intricately angular compositions.

The first noticeable aspect of ABBIAMO TUTTI I SUOI PROBLEMI is that the grandiose epic sound of the debut that featured a total of fourteen musicians strewn about the album had been trimmed to a mere quintet but the members effortlessly pick up the duties of playing a multitude of instruments present on the debut. While the Canterbury elements are always lurking in the shadows (and sometimes dominate), this sophomore album owes a lot more to the Rock In Opposition movement which found more inspiration from Henry Cow's "Unrest" and "Western Culture" in its bombastic time signature workouts that relentlessly unfold with seductively complex metrics and Gentle Giant inspired contrapuntal compositional form. Also retained is the Zappa-esque melodic and guitar work on tracks like "Moderno Ballabile." While the core of this collective is still Palo Griguolo, Aldo De Scalzi and Andrea Beccari, the vocal contributions of Beccari have been relegated to small appearances and thus De Scalzi's dominate, however the album is for the most part dedicated to complex instrumental passages. Vocals that do occur are beautifully performed in the Italian language.

Despite all the comparisons to certain aspects of PICCHIO DAL POZZO's sound, they truly delivered two classic albums that not only sounded completely different from one another but each album sounds unlike anything that had ever been recorded before or after. PDP effortlessly soars like a flock of birds in perfect unison where the guitar, bass, piano, sax, flute, clarinet and recorder can free flow along in perfect angular unison or they can create complex counterpoints that defy rational explanation. This is one of those complex for complexity's sake type of albums yet retains an underlying melodic warmth that allows the avant-prog tinged Canterbury jazz to release its beautifully designed magic. While the debut sort of mesmerizes and slowly ratchets you into the groove of the album and unleashes its complexities in incremental doses, ABBIAMO TUTTI I SUOI PROBLEMI immediately goes for the jugular and delivers with abundance. Overall this one delivers the timbres and tones of Hatfield & The North while executing the punishingly complex chamber orchestra sensationalisms of Henry Cow's later albums.

This album originally came out on the record label Orchestra which specialized in Italian groups that fit into avant-prog, Rock In Opposition, free improvisation and avant-garde jazz but the label would fold in 1983 and PICCHIO DAL POZZO would call it quits shortly after the release of ABBIAMO TUTTI I SUOI PROBLEMI. By all means check out the 2006 reissue on the RēR Label. It was remastered beautifully by Bob Drake (of Thinking Plague fame) and contains the excellent bonus track "Uccallin Del Bosco" which offers yet one more aspect of PICCHIO DAL POZZO's many moods. This one provides an insight as to what the band would've sounded like had they added more rock guitar to their avant-prog Canterbury sound. There are a few (brief) moments when the guitar sounds more like a Joe Walsh classic than a high art prog band well beyond the conceptual threshold of the masses. This one is highly recommended for the lovers of music as complex as it can be. A worthy 10 on the prog-o-meter. While it took me longer to warm up to this one than the debut, this one has emerged as their second masterpiece of the ages.

 Picchio Dal Pozzo by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.12 | 254 ratings

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Picchio Dal Pozzo
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars PICCHIO DAL POZZO (whimsically translates as "woodpecker from the well") is well known in prog circles as the rare example of England's Canterbury jazz scene finding roots in a far away continental setting well within mainland Europe. In this case Italy. This Genova based group was somewhat of a loose collective with Aldo De Scalzi, Paolo Grigulo and Andrea Beccari forming the central core with many collaborators over the decades. While the band has technically been active since their initial formation all the way back in 1973, over the coarse of time they have only managed to release four studio and two live albums. Despite progressive rock peaking around 1975 and slowly fizzling out only to give way to the punk explosion, the latter half of the 70s proved to be an interesting time for the uncompromising and ambitious groups of musicians determined to build upon the vast wealth of musical tradition established in the previous decade.

While lumped into Canterbury, PICCHIO DAL POZZO's eponymously titled debut album that emerged in 1976 was much more than a mere imitator of bands like Soft Machine and Caravan. While making that indefinable warm and fuzzy sound a core ingredient in much of their work, the band was clearly tuned into the avant-prog sensibilities of the Rock In Opposition movement with Henry Cow's angular chamber rock influences infused within the Canterbury jazz. Also on board was the playful and spastic jazz-rock eclecticism of Frank Zappa ranging from his quirky outbursts of stylish xylophone runs to his outlandish orchestral motifs. In fact, one could rightfully find many prog influences from the past. The debut album is completely dedicated to Robert Wyatt and the opening track "Merta" is based on Wyatt's track "Sea Song" from his epic classic "Rock Bottom," however the track itself sounds more like a Hawkwind inspired space rock track with a steady paced groove that hypnotizes that implements Jon Anderson inspired vocal utterances a la "Close To The Edge" before finally making the ole switcheroo to the brass and woodwind rich Canterbury jazz angulariites.

For all the labeling that has been heaped upon PICCHIO DAL POZZO's intriguingly masterful debut, this is really a group that found their own voice from the beginning. While hints of this and that are apparent at every turn, somehow the band mastered the subtle visionary techniques of mixing and melding things into a brand new beautiful concoction with apparent ease. Basically this album generates a flow of moods from beginning to end. The initial stages are more space rock oriented. Hypnotic and repetitive with irregular horns, xylophones and percussive drives bubbling up from the background. The middle part is much more centered in a more calm and contemplative jazz-rock mode where the Canterbury influences rule supremely. Despite being considered one of the Italian prog scene's most alienating in terms of how Italian prog bands sounded during the 70s, the Italian language vocals ensure that some of the symphonic prog moments of bands like PFM and Banco shine through on rare occasions. The end of the album becomes trippy again but in a mellower way. The last two tracks "La Bolla" and "Off" resonate with suave melodic piano runs accompanied by surreal backdrops of backmasking, horns and avant-prog guitar runs possibly blessed by Fred Frith himself.

For those lucky enough to own this album as the 2011 CD re-issue, there is a bonus track called "Seulement" which was derived from a live performance. For my money, this was a necessary addition to this album that seemed a tad lopsided as it started as an aggressive space rock album but ended in Canterbury mellowness that wouldn't sound out of place on a modern post-rock album. The final live bonus track adds a great deal of Canterbury upbeat jazz heft to the album as a prominent closer that initiates a more avant-rockin' feel that utilizes more guitar and bass action with substantial avant-prog horn workouts. It adds a sense of satisfying completion that i feel was left hanging from the original track order. This album really needed that extra oomf as a closing emotional outburst as the dreamy placidity of "Off" just seemed like the band went to sleep and was generating musical inspiration int he dreamworld. But that hardly means i wouldn't have loved this as originally released.

No matter how you slice it, PICCHIO DAL POZZO was one of the most original of the Italian prog bands to have come out of the 70s not to mention the only band from the nation to fully embrace England's Canterbury Scene as a major part of their overall sound. This is a band of impeccable talent that mastered not only the compositional fortitude of the greats that came before but displays careful and calculated displays of virtuosity and disparate juxtapositions of genre bending antics. This is a band that was so invested in developing their respective musical compositions that they had neither a band name nor an album cover (came spontaneously from a calendar on the wall) until the 11th hour when the first album was to be released. While this album failed miserably commercially speaking, PICCHIO DAL POZZO have become regarded as one of the greats of the progressive rock scene of the 70s and one of Italy's most enduring and respected music collectives. Also of interest is how different this first album sounds from the followup "Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi." This is the one moment where space rock, Canterbury jazz, avant-prog and Italian symphonic prog crossed roads for a brief moment in time and flourished. One of the Italian greats!

 Pic_nic'@'Valdapozzo by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.55 | 29 ratings

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Pic_nic'@'Valdapozzo
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Of PICCHIO DAL POZZO's four studio albums this one seems to get completely ignored by fans. This is the re-union album and so far their final studio release from 2004. When they got back together they decided to make an album dedicated to AREA's singer Demetrio Stratos. In part they did this because one of the band members found a tape of Demetrio singing live and solo from a 1979 concert. After cleaning the tape up and going digital with it they were able to use a lot of Demetrio's incredible vocal expressions on this album.

This all sounds too good to be true but my biggest issue with this album is with how experimental it is. I mean this is an Avant album all the way and as such it can be difficult. I'm not surprised to see Laplace's excellent review with 4 stars knowing what a fan he is of Avant music. My enthusiasm for this isn't really there despite being a big Demetrio fan and also a huge PICHIO DAL POZZO fan. Kind of strange too that the final 16 minute suite is live while the rest of the record is considered studio. They composed and recorded this album in a week at a farm called Valdapozzo. At least I tried and here's what I heard.

"Adriatico" has these avant pulses of sax, keys and more before some dark piano lines take over. Drums follow. I really like this. Some dissonant sax too. Some vocal expressions then the tempo picks up after 2 minutes. A slow almost swinging melody takes over with off- kilter sax. It picks up again and we get some odd vocal sounds before 5 minutes. Percussion and keys as it calms down after 5 1/2 minutes. Smooth sax after 6 minutes as vocal expressions and keys continue.

"Fetakyma" opens with spacey vocal sounds that come and go as we get some samples and a dark atmosphere. Strange stuff. Some sparse piano then sax arrives before 4 1/2 minutes. Bass before 6 minutes then the song starts to brighten with a beat and sax. It turns chaotic and avant 8 minutes in. Suddenly this catchy beat takes over, distorted keys too then blasting sax. A calm with vocal expressions, samples and atmosphere follows.

"Pugni Chiusi" was actually a song Demetrios sang with in his first band called I RIBELLI. Dark atmosphere as sounds echo and sax comes and goes. Percussion as it all turns louder and more dissonant after 4 minutes. It settles down again then a change as it brightens with sax and a beat to end it.

"Boccasedrio" opens with what sounds like vibes as spoken words arrive. Other sampled voices too as it builds. It's kind of cool how they use Demetrio's vocals. An active rhythm kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes with vocal expressions coming and going. Sax after 2 1/2 minutes. Vocal expressions then more sax. Dissonant sax after 4 minutes. It winds down late with vibes like the intro. "Epitaffio" is the final short track before the live suite. Tribal-like drums and Native chanting along with nature sounds.

The Valdapozzo(Live) suite worth about 16 minutes is up next to end the album. "Laboratory" is the first section and we get atmosphere as drums and other sounds come and go. Guitar too along with keys join in. It's quite experimental here, no real melody before 3 minutes. Sounds like electronics late as it blends into "Kitchen" with the smooth sax arriving along with percussion. Melancholic sax late as it blends into "Upstairs Room" where deep bass sounds, a beat and sax take over. It turns intense around 2 minutes with frantic sax sounds, percussion and more. Dissonant sax before 3 1/2 minutes then slow pulsing sounds with active percussion. It brightens late and blends into "Entrance" where we get an energetic beat with plenty of other sounds. It's building 2 minutes in. This is good! An intense ending followed by applause.

Avant music fans should check this out along with AREA fans of course. I wish I liked it more.

 Live by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover DVD/Video, 2013
4.02 | 5 ratings

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Live
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The 1976 debut album of this long-living group from Genova, Italy, was dedicated to Robert Wyatt, and it's considered as the most outstanding Italian release of the Canterbury style. Their other studio albums date from 1980, 2001 and 2004. This concert from 2011 (filmed at the La Claque club in Genova) doesn't much sound like Canterbury to me, but perhaps HENRY COW and some experimental jazz releases from the Canterbury family tree can be thought of as kindred spirits. At times the music is rather experimental and angular, but most of the time it's relatively calm and nicely flowing with lots of reed instruments. Always very intellectual and contemplative, actually in my opinion sometimes approaching the state of being slightly tiresome. There's a completely new line-up on stage, occasionally accompanied by a sexy female saxophonist and two original members, both playing tenor saxophones.

The concert's visual look with old film samples and light aesthetics supports the music remotely the same as the more recent shows of Peter Gabriel, though naturally in a much smaller scale. In addition to the 82-minute concert the DVD includes a 44-minute documentary (with English subtitles), in which the original members talk about the beginnins - it all started in a kindergarten, they say -, amusing anecdotes, etc, always one man at the time, each against various surroundings such as a beach, a car, a field, a country house... This looks technically rather amateurish and would have notably improved with further editing, but the concert itself is a rare treat for anyone enjoying personal, arty jazz. 3½ stars.

 Picchio Dal Pozzo by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.12 | 254 ratings

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Picchio Dal Pozzo
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars In 1976, this debut album caught everyone by surprise for its unmistakable Canterbury feel and familiarity--and this from a group of Italians! I mean, Dutch, French, and even Belgian and German 'members' of the Canterbury Scene might be understandable. They are, after all, just across La Manche from County Kent and the great cathedral town of Canterbury. But Italy?!! And an amazingly excellent album did Picchio dal Pozzo come up with! 1. "Merta" (3:18) Whenever this song comes on my iPod playlist (which is quite often) I find myself thinking that this is a Robert WYATT song! The vocals, unusual weave of instruments, lack of drums, and Andrea BECCARI's odd horns sound just like something RW would have done in his SOFT MACHINE/MATCHING MOLE days. (10/10)

2. "Cocomelastico" (4:25) is another song that always tricks me into thinking I'm listening to SOFT MACHINE. I love the way the horns play off of each other, and I love the odd synth playing far in the background throughout. Even the odd vocal is not unlike some of the Spanish stuff Robert Wyatt has done. The laid back, jazzy feel placed within the bar/cantina setting is brilliant. Just like the Softs or Caravan! Awesome song that I could listen to forever! (10/10)

3. "Seppia" (10:17) opens with some TANGERINE DREAM-like repeating synthesizer arpeggio which is soon joined by some oddly treated tuned percussion. When the vuvuzela-sounding horns enter with the big bass notes and, eventually, a kind of hypnotic driving rhythm, it's as if the band is trying to either drive the listener crazy or display what a drug trip or psychotic breakdown might feel like! It's actually quite fun?and very much like the feel and effect of a GONG or even Robert WYATT song. The band must have had a lot of fun doing this one. Wild, cacophonous, and random. Then there is a flute-filled break in the music, with a visit to a barnyard, followed by a pretty foundational weave of arpeggios from two electric guitars while a woman recites something dramatic over the top. Horns and then electric piano and tuned percussion then join in before some "Wah-wah" vocals enter the weave with several woodwinds. Gorgeous! This song unfolds similar to, though the opposite of countrymates YUGEN. (9/10)

4. "Napier" (7:28) opens with multiple woodwinds creating sustained cords before relinquishing the reins to a circus band. The use of dissonance here is wonderful--very Robert FRIPP/KING CRIMSON-esque. Soon the circus band moves more toward a MIKE OLDFIELD medieval troubadour sound before everything drops out at the 3:00 mark for a little odd piano play. Organ-backed male vocal singing in Italian moves us into a new section?one that is much more Canterbury jazz with the awesome multiple horns all soloing and weaving with voices, cymbals, octave climbing bass notes and piano. Horns, cymbals and electric Rhodes piano take us through a full minute before the jazzy quintet plays out the final half minute (which is faded out rather suddenly?poor engineering). (9/10)

5. "La floriculture di Tschincinnata" (4:24) is a rapidly changing and diverse song that would be very fitting among the CARAVAN or SOFT MACHINE repertoire. Several really awesome melodies and chord progressions are explored here as well as some really fun crazed soloing--all at the same time?from the horn, Casio-sounding synthesizer, electric guitar, and drums--all while the bass keeps the steady time that provides the foundation for the song to rest upon. (9/10)

6. "La bolla" (4:31) repeats the Robert WYATT wordless vocal style that I heard in the album's opening song, "Merta"?creating over a melody line that is played over a repetitive JOHN COLTRANE-like piano chord progression?a melody line that will eventually become picked up by the horn and acoustic guitar before being woven in with the voice. (10/10)

7. "Off" (4:48) opens like another JOHN COLTRANE tune with harp-like arpeggiated piano play covered by mellifluous flute play. Absolutely gorgeous! At 1:56 a male voice enters up front and center singing more wordless "wah-wah"s into the tapestry. Gentle, beautiful, pastoral song that would be fitting if performed out-of-doors. Definitely one of my favorite Canterbury songs. (10/10)

Over all this is an album of playful, fun, gorgeous melodies, and wild and at times complicated jazzy instrumental weaves very much in the Canterbury vein of musical approach. Due to the joyful emotional reaction I get when each and every song comes into my ear, Picchio dal Pozzo has supplanted KHAN's Space Shanty as my favorite Canterbury Scene album.

 Live by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover DVD/Video, 2013
4.02 | 5 ratings

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Live
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

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

5 stars Jazz-rockers Picchio dal Pozzo certainly stood out amongst other bands from their country in the vintage era of Seventies prog rock, the band favouring the Canterbury scene and Avant-garde styling of international artists such as Hatfield and the North, Henry Cow, Frank Zappa and the Soft Machine instead of the perhaps expected Italian progressive sound. Almost 40 years and four studio albums on from their beginnings, `Picchio dal Pozzo Live' offers an 83 minute performance captured at the La Claque Club in Genova on the 15th of January 2011, and is the kind of document that will not only please devoted fans of the band, but would also make for an exciting introduction to the group and their approach to complex jazz music that will only encourage new listeners to seek out their special past discography.

Comprised of a mix of original members and new additions, the band (sometimes with up to 9 members jammed onto the small stage at one time!) plays with a refreshing looseness, moving through acoustic-led movements, shimmering electronics and percussion experiments, with jazz/fusion workouts, big band moments and fully improvised passages. There's an unhurried, spiritual quality to this wonderful performance, and rarely has Canterbury-styled music sounded so ambient and truly hypnotic. The band here present a sumptuous collection of dreamy but sometimes noisy experimental jazz that is immaculately played, and the musicians display a precise execution of build and tightness, perfectly in synch with each-other to deliver a thrilling musical experience.

Borrowing heavily from their classic debut self-titled album from 1976 (but sadly omitting my personal favourite, the suffocating spacy insanity of `Seppia'!), as well as choice selections from their other studio works and even an unreleased piece, this performance is simply not a tired or stale recreation of the numbers from those albums. Instead the band plays with a nimble and deft improvisational skill that breathes new life into these fresh interpretations. `Merta' is transformed into a beautiful nine-minute outer-space drone more along the likes of Gong, with strangely effective musette (a type of bagpipe) and tenor recorder solos. The strolling and quirky jazz of `Coccomelastico' is also stretched to over eight minutes, a spiraling clarinet solo a highlight, as well as some delirious electric piano noodling and fluid bass. The breathtaking `Off' takes on a shimmering, somber Post-rock quality with it's lush atmospheres and low-key scat vocalizing.

The driving `Il Presidente' holds together through a range of wild tempo changes due to technical drumming precision, and the second half even has a kind of Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree-like beautiful melancholy. `Adriatico' mixes relentless extreme avant-garde vocalizing with dark churning R.I.O grooving, `La Bolla' an unsettling late-night downbeat murky sax, flute, piano and percussion improvised musing. `Napier' is quirky and devilish with grand Mellotron and searing electric guitar solo in the outro, and it's not unlike a track from fellow Italian R.I.O band Yugen, unsurprising as some members of that band have appeared in previous live line-ups of Picchio dal Pozzo. The previously unreleased `Lindberg' is a sinister creeping piece full of cascading vocals, haunting piano, scratchy Mellotron and extreme percussion experimentation. The show closer `Uccellin Del Bosco' is a dirty big-band stomper that welcomes some guest and original members to the stage for a fitting finale.

The restrained editing of the DVD captures the musicians and their performance perfectly. There's lots of gentle fades, slow panning and subtle zooms, the camera rarely jumping around in a distracting way, instead taking the time to capture and follow each musician in a softly unfolding manner. The use of carefully placed stills of the band members is quite unique and adds a very reflective and thoughtful quality that suitably represents this sort of music. The disc also comes with an English subtitled 44 minute documentary on the band that is frequently good-humoured (also very surreal and a little bent!) as well as a short music video.

Along with other vintage Italian jazz-rockers such as Arti e Mestieri, Perigeo and Dedalus, the work of Picchio dal Pozzo is revered and treasured for a good reason, and this live DVD document is a welcome addition to their small but defining body of work that fans will relish. Despite their age, this is hardly a depressing case of old men churning out tired and safe bland product, this is a band challenging themselves and their audience with exciting, daring and unpredictable new music. This humble digipack collection from Black Widow Records contains sheer musical perfection for lovers of the experimental jazz end of progressive music, the Canterbury and Rock in Opposition sounds, and it comes with the highest recommendation for fans and brave newcomers.

Five stars.

 Picchio Dal Pozzo by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.12 | 254 ratings

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Picchio Dal Pozzo
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I bought this one fooled by its name and by several praising e-mails I read on the ProgBrasil forum, that I pehaps should have read more carefully about the group“s style of music. I thought they would the average italian symphonic prog (and the acoustic introduction was quite misleading), but they are clearly not. It“s definitly Canterbury sound, with all that jazzy stuff, plus some avant guard leanings and "humor" elements, which are not my cup of tea. However, being italian, they still have some nice melodic passages here and there (Sepia is a good example). The production is far from perfect, but I guess it was adequate for that time.

Obviously the musicians are skillful and inventive, but again this is not the kind of music that moves me. I still think Italy did much more better with their "proper" classical influenced progressive scene. But if you like Canterbury bands, I strongely recommend you listen to this group. After all, all that praising by so many reviewers here prove that fans of Canterbury sound may find an interesting and different gem with Picchio Dal Pozzo. But only them. For followers of italian prog in general my advice is listen before buying this one.

Final rating: 2,5 stars. Good, but for fans only.

 Picchio Dal Pozzo by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.12 | 254 ratings

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Picchio Dal Pozzo
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It would take a lifetime of dedicated listening to sample and sort the vast array of music pigeonholed as Rock Progressivo Italiano, but even a casual visitor can see that this oddball ensemble was doing something unique: hence their relocation on this site to another subcategory altogether. In truth the style of music on their debut LP was more Zappa Jazz than Canterbury (despite the dedication to ROBERT WYATT), with an inventive Avant-Prog flavor not often heard in RPI circles.

This was an album that refused to sit still, blending equal measures of symphonic grandiosity, Rock in Opposition weirdness, Canterbury Fusion, RPI romanticism, and even a little interstellar Space Rock. But, unlike the efforts of too many '70s Prog Rockers with short stylistic attention spans, the album is never erratic, even at its most haphazard change in musical direction.

For example, there's the delicate acoustic guitar and multi-tracked flute interlude of "Bononchia", fighting some unlikely space-synth interference over its brief 0:51 length. Which leads directly (on compact disc, at any rate) to the demented big-top soundtrack of "Napier"...which in turn morphs into what sounds like a crazy modern ballet score...which (somehow) becomes an actual song, with a widescreen instrumental chorus of astonishing beauty and scale. All that in a single five-minute stretch of music, without a seam showing .

The album was apparently more a critical than a commercial success in 1976, hardly surprising with music so far ahead (actually, so far removed) from its time. One of the shorter numbers is actually the most distinctive: the hypnotic album opener "Merta", rolling forward on a groovy but precise (and molto Italiano) acoustic guitar melody. But hardly far enough for my tastes: it's too bad the track ends after only three minutes instead of thirty. The more polite Fusion of "Cosmelastico" is almost a letdown afterward, although the added mouthwash gargle was an inspired non-sequitur.

The last two cuts dial back the eclecticism for some blissful piano / voice experiments, completing a singular experience well worth investigating. But enough said: you get the point, and newcomers should be allowed the joy of discovery for themselves.

 Picchio Dal Pozzo by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.12 | 254 ratings

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Picchio Dal Pozzo
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by LinusW
Special Collaborator Italian Prog Specialist

5 stars An irreverent little bundle of fun this one.

Approaching music in much the same way as the Canterbury-style bands of Britain, Picchio dal Pozzo forges a unique fusion of relatively free-form jazz-tinged progressive music with a healthy dollop of melody and motifs from the Italian tradition and a handful of psychedelic excursions. All in all it creates a loose, breezy and inviting atmosphere full of attention to minute details and first and foremost, a sense of creative joy.

A more general defining sound is hard to single out here, but I guess that the basis is best described as jazz-based somewhere underneath all that is going on, with familiar rhythms and motifs of that genre popping up here and there to varying degrees in different songs. But they rarely stay like that for long, serving more like anchors or links in the ever-shifting soundscape here. Just as often songs descend into near-symphonic or folk territory, with melodious and delicate flute, guitar and keys that feel pleasantly Italian. Another time perhaps into a darkly cerebral space-rock passage; rhythmically disciplined and oppressive and hazy with strange electronic effects and percussion. A playful avant sound collage via Area-like free-jazz improvisation, an atmospheric passage of understated, whirling synthesizer topped with the most delicate of percussion. Breezy lounge-jazz bit for balance. A bit of the more menacing and earnest sides of RPI. Leave to simmer for forty minutes. Et voilą!

It is a fairly eclectic album, as you might have guessed, which is always interesting and rewarding for the listener, but its main strength is how these disparate influences and styles seep into each other and how organically they all come together. It is a beautiful fusion, where contrasts and surfaces of friction serve to underline each other and enhance each other's qualities. Songs are rich, to say the least, and rather busy - because even though most of them move about in a rather leisurely pace they are brim-filled with detail; spindly guitar, nimble percussion (especially some beautiful xylophone work, which adds a delicate, crisp almost frail timbre of utter loveliness and sometimes even hints of Gentle Giant), savoury brass instruments and keys used in all sorts of manners (piano like falling rain, buzzing, jagged electronic noises, warm and wholesome organ - the list goes on).

Permeating all this instrumental prowess and stylistic fusion is a warm form of zaniness, a kind of chaotic lack of respect and a will not to approach the music so seriously. An embrace of cheerful insanity if you will, or downright flippant, and perhaps that is one of the likenesses to Gong some reviewers have pointed out. Although I think it is always there, the most apparent expression is found in the vocal department, where voice is used as just another instrument. Fitting that to some of the various atmospheres on these songs make for rather interesting and humorous end results.

With the exception of the darker sounds on the track Seppia and a willingness to dive into murkier experimental waters here and there, Picchio dal Pozzo's debut is a warm, sunny and surprisingly accessible affair. Charming, even a bit quaint, one might say, but never boring or trite. Quite the opposite. It is one of the finest musical experiences out there.

5 stars.

//LinusW

 Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.15 | 106 ratings

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Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Given the influence of Frank Zappa on the early Canterbury scene (he even jammed with Caravan once!), it's not surprising to find Picchio dal Pozzo incorporating more of the style of proto-fusion he experimented in with the original Mothers of Invention into their music. Likewise, it's no surprise to hear them incorporating more avantish influences from Henry Cow, considering that the Cow started out with a very Canterbury-influenced sound. But what's really impressive is how the band bring all of these influences together in a cohesive sound which makes their second album an impressive, RIO-tinged follow-up to their debut.

Though their sound is still centred on the Canterbury style, they focus very much on its more avant offerings, with Zappa-ish instrumental workouts and sung-chanted portions not dissimilar to those used by Henry Cow on their first three albums. The result is an album which is somewhat less immediately accessible than their debut (or Camere Zimmer Rooms, the recordings produced between that album and this), but rewards repeated, attentive listens wonderfully. In its more accessible moments, the album reminds me a lot of the Muffins' Manna/Mirage - tough I don't know whether that's a matter of direct influence or parallel evolution.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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