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FABIO ZUFFANTI

Crossover Prog • Italy


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Fabio Zuffanti biography
Italian multi-instrumentalist and composer FABIO ZUFFANTI is a well know name for those with a keen interest in Italian progressive rock. After starting out as a musician in 1994, he's worked with and been a member of a score of bands: Aries, Finisterre, H÷stsonaten, laZona, Maschera Di Cera, Quadraphonic, Rohmer and R.u.g.h.e.

In 2008 he also started working with Tommaso Labranca on a project where Zuffanti supplied music to spoken words, another side project besides his bands. But despite Zuffanti's rather busy schedule with bands an projects of various sorts, he's also found the time to venture out to create some solo projects.

The first of these may perhaps be regarded as another one of his side projects, but the release of the double CD "Merlin - The Rock Opera" in 2000 may also be regarded as his first solo venture. Victoria Heward wrote the lyrics and screenplay for this production, but Zuffanti supplied all the compositions used in this project, looking towards ventures such as "Jesus Christ Superstar" in terms of scope and ambition. Live performances in Italy and France followed the CD release, and catered to audiences with a taste for rock opera's of the bombastic variety - with symphonic progressive rock as the musical foundation.

It took a few more years before Zuffanti ventured out as a standalone solo artist though, but in 2007 he issued the EP "Pioggia e luce", a 5 track effort where he handled all aspects pf the album himself. In 2009 two full albums followed, at first the self-titled "Fabio Zuffanti", followed by the ambient effort "Ir", a venture containing two long suites, released on Danish label d'Oorhinge l'Orange Recordings as a CD-R.

2011 sees the release of his most fully-realized solo album, the delightful and personal homage to Italian pop "La Foce del Ladrone."

Fabio Zuffanti official website

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Fabio ZuffantiFabio Zuffanti
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Btf 2009
Audio CD$16.84
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Merlin the Rock OperaMerlin the Rock Opera
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Ams Italy 2012
Audio CD$41.10
$30.67 (used)
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FABIO ZUFFANTI discography


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

2.76 | 13 ratings
Merlin - The Rock Opera (with Victoria Heward)
2000
3.00 | 2 ratings
Ir
2009
2.29 | 7 ratings
Fabio Zuffanti
2009
3.33 | 6 ratings
Ghiaccio
2010
2.76 | 14 ratings
La foce del ladrone
2011
3.82 | 60 ratings
La Quarta Vittima
2014

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

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4.50 | 2 ratings
Pioggia e luce
2007

FABIO ZUFFANTI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 La Quarta Vittima by ZUFFANTI, FABIO album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.82 | 60 ratings

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La Quarta Vittima
Fabio Zuffanti Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

4 stars Fabio Zuffanti is one of the most prolific musicians of our time. In 2013 alone he released two albums with La Maschera Di Cera, one with Finisterre, one with H÷stsonaten and towards the end of the year he recorded this album here, La Quarta Vittima (2014).

Fabio could transform itself into a kind of Neal Morse or Dream Theater and release the same album year after year. But he doesn't and that's what makes him interesting, you never know what's going to be the next one!

Released in January 15 by the Italian label AMS La Quarta Vittima (2014) is a very interesting album by Fabio Zuffanti. Especially in the instrumental territory as we can see in the first track 'Non Posso Parlare Pi¨ Forte'. Resuming, all instrumental parts on La Quarta Vittima (2014) are strong and very interesting. My problem with La Quarta Vittima (2014) are the vocals. Most of the time on the background and kinda uninspired, I'm pretty sure it was on purpose, but for me they don't work and thats my one and only complain.

In general La Quarta Vittima (2014) is a hell of a modern prog album with touch of retro sounds. Go for it!

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 La Quarta Vittima by ZUFFANTI, FABIO album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.82 | 60 ratings

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La Quarta Vittima
Fabio Zuffanti Crossover Prog

Review by YoshiPK

4 stars This album is like a jewel box with various gems inside.From the intricate jazz topaz to baroque pearls, Fabio Zuffanti skillfully created a dark, gloomy, but sometimes iridescent necklace with these gems. The fourth track 'La Quarta Vittima' baldly demonstrated the future dimension of this Italian master composer. You hear the essence of Zuffanti's past production scattered elsewhere throughout this album. Still, the overall impression is refreshing and shows the new direction for all musicians participated. The variety of the guest musicians are worthy to note. His fellow musicians from Hostsonaten and La Maschera di Cera did their 'usual' master works; in addition global jazz musicians added a flair of 'gorgeous' jazzy mood. I recommend to listen to this album in sequence to appreciate the climax and the chilling down at the epilogue to find the 'answer' to the question of the opening track.

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 La Quarta Vittima by ZUFFANTI, FABIO album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.82 | 60 ratings

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La Quarta Vittima
Fabio Zuffanti Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Math Rock Team

4 stars "Real life awaits us".

As the accent-laden voice fades in on Fabio Zuffanti's new album, "La Quarta Vittima" (The Fourth Victim), a sense of foreboding and reality are bestowed upon the listener. This album is somber, and maybe even a little scary on a mental level. And, see, I get all this even though the album is almost entirely sung in Italian.

Fabio Zuffanti is one of my favorite songwriters, and this new album showcases why that is. This album is delicate, with flutes and RPI keys. It's also terrifyingly powerful with trombones and excellent drumming. This album is almost bipolar in a way, and I mean that in the best manner possible. One moment will be quiet, surreal, and full of vertigo, and then the next moment will be soulful or possibly powerful and bombastic. All the while, Fabio's quiet, reserved vocal style marches on and on. It's a dark, jazzy sound, for sure. Lots of RPI influence, obviously, but also many pure jazz elements are present, too.

This album is dark for a good reason. It is based on the book "The Mirror in the Mirror" by Michael Ende. I've never read this book, but now I think I might need to do so. This story is bewildering, confusing, and full of loneliness and cycles of time and space. Most appropriately, then, Fabio has constructed a blackened, sorrowful album full of tarnished beauty, longing, and loss. It is incredible in the quiet, contemplative moments, and mesmerizing in the louder, excited passages.

I think my favorite track is certainly the opener, "Non Posso Parlare Pi¨ Forte" (I Cannot Speak More Strongly). Its vast array of flute passages and writhing keyboard torrents is just unmatched the rest of the album, but this album is certainly not weak at any point. From the dark saxophone lines to the surreal keys to the meaningful horns, this album is very diverse and arranged masterfully. In fact, I don't think I've heard such interesting song structures in a while.

"La Quarta Vittima" shows Fabio Zuffanti doing what he does best: crafting incredibly unique songs with a vast array of instruments and guests. His dark emphasis this time is a new thing for him, but it doesn't harm his grasp on beauty and melody even a little bit. While this isn't the best album Fabio has ever written, it certainly is up there with his best. 2014 is off to a strong start.

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 La foce del ladrone by ZUFFANTI, FABIO album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.76 | 14 ratings

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La foce del ladrone
Fabio Zuffanti Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A return to early inspirations

In a way Fabio Zuffanti is something of an Italian Steven Wilson, a major player on the Italian alternative music scene as an artist, producer, songwriter, and performer. He is probably in as many different band projects as Wilson, from prog to pop, electronic, folk, post-rock, trip-hop, jazz, chamber, pastoral, you name it, he's been there. Like Wilson he may sometimes spread himself a bit too thin in my opinion, both are virtual product machines in their dedication to the craft. While his work has never reached the commercial audience to the level of a Porcupine Tree, his fans are able to choose from so many different quality works as a result of his work ethic: Finisterre, Hostsonaten, La Maschera di Cera, Rohmer, Aries, Lazona to name some of them, not to mention an active and growing solo career. With the release of his third official solo album, 2011's "La foce del ladrone," Zuffanti had the goal of making his most fully realized Italian pop album as a way of revisiting early inspirations, people like Lucio Battisti and Franco Battiato.

"I felt it was time to create an album that is finally (almost) pure pop. The pop for me is a major point of arrival and also re-start.....I can join with many of the worlds of music that I feel I belong, compress them and return with eight original songs." [forgive me if this translation is imperfect!]

The music is pop or art-pop but like Battisti there is much here for the fans of Italian progressive rock (RPI) to enjoy. The lyrical inspirations are very personal and touch on memory, surreal moments in life, and dreams. The base tracks feature accessible and typical structures but there are adventurous and delectable dressings throughout. The sound choices made are not always predictable and not what you would consider "pop" by today's commercial standard, instead they are typical of the Italian school of pop which features such beautiful presentation. Zuffanti's rather average vocal prowess is often improved by lush harmonies. The main tracks will segue into dreamy territory where you may encounter voices laughing, sunny, twanged guitar chords ringing out over pulsing bass, creative percussion, and levitating synth atmospheres. One of the nicest touches is the collaboration with the Formus String Quartet who enrich several tracks with fantastic violin, viola, and cello. Fantastic! And of course when he brings in the traditional piano to compliment the modern edge the contrast is warm and splendid. Only the last tracks fails to engage me, lacking the spark of the others and unfortunately bringing English vocals to the party (which to me, on an RPI album, is the equivalent of a rude party guest....unwelcome, clumsy, spills his drink on your rug, etc.)

I've not always been Zuffanti's biggest fan but this is a solid and highly enjoyable work which easily takes its place in the rich tradition of intelligent Italian pop albums, while crossing over enough to please those who enjoy his more overtly progressive projects. I really prefer the simple beauty and personal nature of this album to the acclaimed Hostsonaten album I have. 3 1/2 stars. Recommended.

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 Merlin - The Rock Opera (with Victoria Heward) by ZUFFANTI, FABIO album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.76 | 13 ratings

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Merlin - The Rock Opera (with Victoria Heward)
Fabio Zuffanti Crossover Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Fabio Zuffanti can be compared to Roine Stolt from "The Flower Kings". He is leading an awful lot of projects at the same time and this will partially ruin this double CD set. I am just found of "La Maschera Di Cera" and "Hostsonaten" also pleases me a lot. And while "Finisterre" is only good to my ears, I was keen on listening to this "Merlin" rock opera stuff.

After having listened to the "Overture" of this "rock opera", I was just even more interested in discovering this work because it is really a good start. My high enthusiasm was just filled when I listened to the next song : "As It Was in the Beginning". A jewel of prog music with such great mellotron, subtle piano and beautiful melodies. Vocals are also very well performed here. This song has some definite "Renaissance" flavour and should please any prog lover.

But after these two very good songs, what a disappointment ! It sounds as if I was listening to a musical in Broadway or the London West End. These vocal duos just remind me this feeling. Of course, you might say that since it is a concept album about Merlin, Arthur and all that mythical story, it is almost normal. But I do not agree. There are ways to avoid falling into this trap.

The only great number after those two openings is "The Wedding March". Full of great keys and with some passionate vocals. It is also somewhat borderline to release a double CD which lenght lasts for ninety minutes (and not eightY one as mentioned). The band would have been inspired by cutting some of these short tracks which might maybe have some sort of signification in the whole history but in terms of musical interest they are just short and useless. By doing this, we would have gotten a one CD work which would have sound less boring.

Just for die-hard fans of Fabio's work (like me) who would like to discover another aspect of his personality.

Two stars.

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 Merlin - The Rock Opera (with Victoria Heward) by ZUFFANTI, FABIO album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.76 | 13 ratings

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Merlin - The Rock Opera (with Victoria Heward)
Fabio Zuffanti Crossover Prog

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a 2 CD concept album that tells the story about the adventures of Merlin the Wizard. The album is an Italian production but the lyrics are all in English, so there's no problem to follow the story. "Merlin The Rock Opera" have musical reminiscences to John Miner's rock opera "Heaven Cafe'". From time to times there's also some similarities to the musical "Chess". - There are eight characters in the rock opera, performed by eight singers. Alessandro Corvaglia who does the vocals of Merlin has a voice that's quite reminiscent to Denis Quilley who's doing Molokov in "Chess". The musicianship is very good. One of the highlights on this album are "Tricked / Must You Leave So Soon?" where I instantly get to think about a part in "Chess". - I guess that the live performance of this rock opera must have been really something to remember. Imagine 8 singers, 17 choir members, 11 musicians, 7 dancers and 5 additional performers on stage and very strong compositions. It must have been quite overwhelming. - If you were lucky enough to be in the audience on this rock opera, I guess that you've already bought the album, and if you weren't there, this album is perhaps the closest you'll ever get. Recommended!

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 Merlin - The Rock Opera (with Victoria Heward) by ZUFFANTI, FABIO album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.76 | 13 ratings

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Merlin - The Rock Opera (with Victoria Heward)
Fabio Zuffanti Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars Mr Zuffanti should let Mr Wakeman or Mr Lucassen worry about these grand and pompous projects that have brought ridicule to prog by just about everybody outside that precise progworld.Instead, Mr Zuffanti might want to do more Hostsonnaten, or better yet restart Finisterre or better still Marschera Di Cera but really he should concentrate on LaZona as this post-rock is one of the area of further groundbreaking for prog (listen to Tarentel , Tortoise or Godspeed You Black Emperor and its side-projects)

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