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PICCHIO DAL POZZO

Canterbury Scene • Italy


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Picchio Dal Pozzo picture
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

PICCHIO DAL POZZO Videos (YouTube and more)


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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)

4.11 | 319 ratings
Picchio Dal Pozzo
1976
4.01 | 153 ratings
Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi
1980
4.06 | 104 ratings
Camere Zimmer Rooms
2001
3.47 | 41 ratings
Pic_nic'@'Valdapozzo
2004

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

3.74 | 24 ratings
A Live
2010
3.92 | 5 ratings
In Camporella
2023

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

3.93 | 6 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
 In Camporella by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Live, 2023
3.92 | 5 ratings

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In Camporella
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars This is the first time I have come across Italian Canterbury-inspired band Picchio Dal Pozzo who released two albums in the Seventies before disbanding in 1980. They reformed and released two albums in the early 2000's, but since then there has been nothing. Then in 2020, just before the lockdown, guitarist and founder Paolo Griguolo received a CD labelled 'Valdapozzo 05/30/2004', from an unknown sender. He remembered they had played a fully improvised gig at the location where they had earlier recorded their last album, which at the time he thought had gone really well but when he played the CD, he was not so happy. But perhaps it could be cleaned up?

The result is the first new album from Picchio Dal Pozzo ('Woodpecker from the Well' according to Google, what a great name) since 2004. It features founders Paolo and Aldo De Scalzi (keyboards, sampler, programming) along with long-time drummer Aldo Di Marco and saxophonist Claudio Lugo who joined the band when they reformed and appeared on the two later releases. Paulo says it may not be a masterpiece but was worked together, with the rules for the night being that everything was total improvisation based on the audio samples of Demetrio Stratos' voice and some sequences of the album. There are indeed times when it feels improvised and people are waiting for the right moment to take over or working out how to best support, but there are others when it certainly feels as if it has been rehearsed. As well as a normal guitar, Paolo is using a synth guitar while the others all use samplers so there is a lot going on. De Scalzi has the most wonderful touch on piano, creating ripples of sounds, and providing wonderful backdrops for the others to work against while Di Marco shows how to keep percussion tight but also alive, always working and looking for the opportunity in a manner not dissimilar to Bruford.

Having heard this I now wonder what the other albums are like, and if there is any possibility of something new? Fans of the Canterbury scene may be surprised to hear there is an Italian band performing this style of music, I certainly was, and it is well worth investigating.

 Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.01 | 153 ratings

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Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A 'Canterbury Scene' masterpiece? I think not. This album is obviously derivative of bands like Henry Cow, National Health (some of the horn charts were literally lifted from OF QUEUES AND CURES) and of UNCLE MEAT era Zappa, but there are no memorable tunes, and most of the music fails to pack a punch because the rhythm section is so weak. Furthermore, Aldo de Scalzi's "Sprechgesang" vocals are terribly irritating. You may find him amusing if your Italian is more fluent than mine, but I seriously doubt you will - the lyrics look like pure nonsense. Admittedly there are a few moments of beauty (when Paolo Griguolo gets going his Phil Miller-style solos do catch your ear, and 'Uccellin del Bosco', the brief bonus track, sounds fairly pleasant) but on the whole ABBIAMO... is hard to love.
 Picchio Dal Pozzo by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 319 ratings

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Picchio Dal Pozzo
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Lickin' and Pickin' in that Canterbury Style

Fairly confident that Picchio didn't actually pass me by before now, but it must have been only recently that this album in particular was digitally available to me. Saying Spotify is my main form of listening is, at this point, a great understatement.

"Merta" starts us out with one of many proper Prog builds. Ominous and spacy, and where repetition is key. I love the sound of the synths used here. Sorta replicates between sax and bagpipes, which then, as the track passes into the next, "Cocomelastico", actually gives way to real-life horns (Huzzah?!). And on this track, we do in fact get that Canterbury Sound. Rolling and tumbling rhythm with guitar and sax(?) interplay. I love it! Sounds perhaps like HATFIELD or (early) GONG or (earlier) SOFT MACHINE. Easy goin', but real tasty lickin'. It was rather humorous to me to see all the different bands that other reviewers were referencing here. But I get it now. Picchio Dal Pozzo was not made in a vacuum, yet glad to hear their own (I would say clearly) Italian take on the style of Jazz-Prog that we know (and many love) as "Canterbury Scene".

And once you get into this album with track 3, "Seppia", we are rollin'! Super intense, super dark, with the steady cadence of the synth and the whole rhythm section (including creepy xylophone). Hard-hitting drums on this one. This is definitely a mix of HATFIELD and GONG to my ears. Spacy, ominous, a bit odd, but overall, intense as hell. This rolling creep continues on, unfettered, for six and a half minutes. And it's just consistently pleasing to my ears (saying a lot for this set-in-his-ways maximalist). This second section to the track (and yes, I'm still talking about "Seppia") rolls to a different cadence: soft arpeggiations from guitar with light vocals (I'll take more Northette energy, please). This follows naturally in a "Hatfield style" (see what I did there? see "Big Jobs, No. 2") into the less-than-a-minute interlude "Bofonchia". A nice reprieve, not that we even needed one (a compliment, if you're not picking that up).

This interlude is followed, again naturally, by "Napier". Squeaky, and slippery(?), this track meanders like some other Canterbury idioms, resolving in the latter half into beauty and melody--male vocals are most prominently featured for the first time, and we get some tasty horns and cymbal-play. I'm really quite happy with everything I've been hearing. The ratings don't lie, folks. If you're into the Kentish thing at all, get on this. Very well balanced, from calm and beautiful to raucous and interesting. My interest is retained--I am always "interest-hungry". At this point in the album, I must say, I just hope that more of their material will get released to Spotify (and elsewhere?).

The end of the album, in tracks "La Bolla" and "Off", is quieter and more reflective balladry(?). Canterbury really is one of those styles that generates scenery and set; it's better at this than most.

To conclude, very satisfying Canterbury-esque Jazz-Prog. We've got beauty, quirk, charm and a whole helluva lot of talent on this album--I haven't even mentioned the keys this whole time. The keyboards here really are largely the centerpiece--similar to how the excellent Dave STEWART holds his position as anchor, in the very least, in numerous bands, from Hatfield to EGG to KHAN. Also, compositional knack, with most every track tied together with a pretty little bow. The Hatfield concept is in full effect. It can not be stressed enough. And it tickles my fancy (it is at this present time that their first, their self-titled, is my phone wallpaper, for God's sake). Check it out.

Personal Highlight Tracks: T2, T3, T5

Full disclosure: for once I'm rounding up from a True Rate of ~3.5/5.0.

 Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.01 | 153 ratings

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Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by Prog duck

5 stars Such great Italian prog. Heavy influence of jazz and a little Avant-garde style composition. The smooth time changes, tone change, mood change and the usual tendency of circling back to a light-hearted feeling composition are all great aspects of this album. This is one of my favorite Italian albums and I think it is a must hear. Although this album is loosely correlated with the Canterbury scene sub-genre, it greatly deviates from other Canterbury artists. Henry Cow's 'Western Culture' seems to play a part in their music, hence the 'Avant-garde style'. The use of saxophones, flute, recorders, etc. is also a great aspect of this album and the directions they took because of the use of these instruments are incredible. This album is just oozing with creativity and complexity. For the vinyl collectors out there, this one may be hard to find. Especially for those not in Italy and Europe. Such a shame that I can't get my hands on one! This album is, once again, so great and is worthy of 5 stars.
 Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.01 | 153 ratings

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Abbiamo Tutti I Suoi Problemi
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

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
4.11 | 319 ratings

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Picchio Dal Pozzo
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

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
3.47 | 41 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.

 Camere Zimmer Rooms by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.06 | 104 ratings

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Camere Zimmer Rooms
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars I get it: three languages to express the idea of boxed-off containers for human consciousness. What is more challenging for me to digest is the fact that the music on this 2001 release all come from the late 1970s. After listening to it, this makes more sense (despite the remarkable quality of sound). The band was evolving from it's easy-going, melody-infused "Canterbury style" debut to a more AREA-like jazz. Is this because Demetrio Stratos was demanding this type of evolution for bands in the 70s--because he was arguing, publicly, that music should be created for political and social change?

1. "Il Presidente" (9:37) surprisingly dense, jazzy, and discordant at times, there are still some strains of the old Canterbury style they began with--especially the humor--but the melodies are sometimes too fleeting or obscured by the rest of the music. I do like the Demetrio Stratos inference in the ninth minute. (17.5/20)

2. "Il Mare d'Irlanda" (6:20) murky (like the sea?) from heavily treated guitars and gentle 80s-sounding (flanged) rhythm section with echoed choral vocal leave an odd impression: as if the band was thinking about going the direction of smooth jazz or even techno-pop. The dreamy-ness of the song is more akin to their 1976 debut album but it's a very dated sound--and very simple, subdued instrumental performances. (8/10)

3. "La Cittá" (13:12) automobile horns, doorbells, dishes clanging around, vacuum cleaner, radio dialing, voice sampling, smooth Fender Rhodes play. That's the summary of the opening two minutes of this one. When Aldo begins singing it is with a force and that is quite reminiscent of that of Demetrio Stratos--like he's trying to express a political opinion or sociological criticism. The song's melodies, vocal and lyrical approach, and aggressive approach to jazz rock sound as if lifted right out of AREA's 1970s albums. The problem I have with hearing AREA-like music in the 21st Century is that Area did it already--and they did it incredibly well. Could Picchio Dal Pozzo have gone the direction of Area? Perhaps, but did we really need another band trying to take up their torch--could there possibly be anyone up to the task? I don't think so. Demetrio was unique, a one-of-a-kind phenomenon; any imitation is only that: imitation--and this does feel so imitative. Still, nice tight performances from all involved (especially drummer Aldo Di Marco) but a little too repetitive and, when no vocals are going on, too jazz-like. I miss the Canterbury. Here there is more Area jazz fusion and, despite my well-known adoration for Area, there was only one Area. The dreamy final 90 seconds is weird; maybe it would fit if I knew what the lyrics are trying to say. (21.75/25)

4. "Pinguini" (13:42) a more complex jazz like Dave Stewart was trying to do after his stints with Uriel/Khan and Hatfield and the North--like the more serious jazz tidings of National Health and Bruford, though far less concise and circumscribed. There is still humor but in a way that virtuosi might try it: with their instruments. The crazy sixth and seventh minutes are backed by some awesome keys and bass (and very Dave Stewart-feeling keyboard playing). Then, in the eighth and ninth minutes, we get into more quirky motifs (and instrumental sound choices) that preview the 2011 arrival of Palermo's Homunculus Res. At 10:00 there is a sudden and total shift to solo grand piano with Aldo's treated vocal singing an emotional, plaintive lyric. Then sound experimentation is the name of the game for the lead instruments over the next two minutes. Weird but I get it! Experimentation with new and alternative voices for musical expression. (26.5/30)

5. "Il Fantasma d'Irlanda" (0:40)

Total Time: 43:42

The Picchio Dal Pozzo releases after their debut all seem to degrade their initial Canterbury sound that came from their 1976 debut, and this one expresses this trend (1977-1980, right?). There are moments of melody, moments of humor, moments of genius, but overall there is too much experimentation here--the band trying on other band's "clothes"--for my tastes. Like most prog lovers, I am, however, appreciative of this long lost and very telling glimpse into the development and evolution of one of Italy's most talented bands.

B/four stars; an interesting and worthy addition to any prog lover's music collection.

 Live by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover DVD/Video, 2013
3.93 | 6 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. 3˝ stars.

 Picchio Dal Pozzo by PICCHIO DAL POZZO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.11 | 319 ratings

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Picchio Dal Pozzo
Picchio Dal Pozzo Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

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.

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

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