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JUMBO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Jumbo biography
Founded in Milan, Italy in 1969 - Disbanded in 1976 - One-off reunions in 1983 and 1989

JUMBO were formed around singer-songwriter Alvaro "Jumbo" FELLA (his nickname then became the name of the group). The band delivered complex Bluesy prog in a very non-traditional Italian style. They have created its own sound ... an alternation of melody and hard rock, with strong themes (sex, drugs and prostitution. They were also influenced by Ian ANDERSON and JETHRO TULL.

First album arrived in 1972 conceived as an Alvaro FELLA solo album, but the result is not impressive and on a lesser level than their following works. The best one is DNA, (like JETHRO TULL), based on acoustic instruments (guitar, flute, piano) and a great vocals by FELLA. One of the best Italian prog albums for sure! Made with the help of Franco BATTIATO, "Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni?" contains strong lyrics and fragments of avant-garde inspired music. The latest album, "Passing By 1991-2001", is more new age oriented and mainly instrumental, but containing some very good moments.

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JUMBO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.90 | 41 ratings
Jumbo
1972
3.88 | 122 ratings
DNA
1972
4.11 | 147 ratings
Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni ?
1973
1.50 | 5 ratings
1983 - Violini D' Autunno
1992

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

3.08 | 7 ratings
Live A Paris
1990

JUMBO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.07 | 8 ratings
Anthology Live - Due salti nel passato
2007

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

3.50 | 2 ratings
Passing By (1991- 2001)
2001

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

JUMBO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Jumbo by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.90 | 41 ratings

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Jumbo
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

3 stars JUMBO was one of many Italian progressive rock bands that emerged at the beginning of the 70s, released a few albums and then disappeared as the style began to subside. Formed by Alvaro "JUMBO" Fella in 1969, this band began more as a solo project of Fella who released a couple singles ("In Estate (In The Summertime" and "Montego Bay") for the label Numero Uno. After scoring a contract with the Phillips label, Fella spent the entire year of 1971recording his first eponymously titled album which while presented as a group effort was in fact basically another solo effort with a lineup that included five other musicians on guitar, bass, keyboards, flute, drums, an occasional saxophone and even a mouth harp. While JUMBO is more famous for their third and more adventurous album "Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni?" which blended avant-garde experimentalism with Italian progressive rock, on this debut the music sounds more like Italy's version of Creedence Clearwater Revival than PFM, Banco or any of the romantic classically infused Italian progressive rock bands of the era.

The first album JUMBO of 1972 (followed a few months later by the second album "DNA") is basically a 60s sounding blues rock album that incorporates aspects of folk and prog without ever getting too complex and never diving into the adventurousness that Italy was experiencing at the time. Keyboards exude a rather 60s psychedelic pop groove, tribal percussion dots a rather ordinarily percussive backdrop while bluesy guitar riffs provide the accompaniment for Fella's grizzled John Fogerty type of vocal style only everything sounds better in Italian! Jethro Tull provides some influence in the flute department but nothing sounds even close to Ian Anderson's idiosyncratic style of beautiful melodies fluttering from his woodwind and there is also some sax instrumentation that is unfortunately uncredited but provides a jazzy counterpoint from time to time.

The first JUMBO album is a pleasant journey of catchy bluesy rock tracks only in a subdued and more folk oriented presentation however this album just sounds like it is five years too late but doesn't make it a horrible listen by any means. What this album lacks is an interesting variety of tracks. It seems very much a lyrics oriented album and if you don't happen to understand the Italian language then that aspect will escape you. JUMBO is generally regarded as Fella's weakest offering with which i completely concur. The second album "DNA" improves significantly the complexities of the compositions and finds the musicians maturing more as a band unit rather than a solo led effort. There is nothing on this debut that even comes close to the brilliance of the third album "Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni?" which i find to be one of the finest examples of early 70s Italian prog, however album number one is not a waste of time by any means. Fella passionate belts out ten subdued and rocking tracks that are all melodically pleasing despite sounding as if some late 60s tapes were dusted off and presented as contemporary material.

 1983 - Violini D' Autunno by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1992
1.50 | 5 ratings

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1983 - Violini D' Autunno
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Sagichim
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

1 stars Not how I would like to remember Jumbo.

I can't believe this is the same band who released DNA and Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni. What in god's name happened to Jumbo? and what were they thinking?? Ok, There are hundreds of bands especially in that time that were not interested in making prog anymore, that's fine, but releasing an album like this is simply embarrassing. I had to check out the lineup before I slay this album and surprisingly enough it's almost the same line up responsible for releasing one of my top favorite italian prog albums Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni. After splitting up a few years after its release, the band reunited in 1983 and recorded this album which was released in 1992 by Mellow records.

This is not a prog rock album, not by any strech. This is mainly amateurish pop rock with some funk elements sprinkled on top. There are two main problems here making this album hard to digest. Poor material and horrible sound quality. The album's material ranges from bad to embarrassing to mediocare at best. All instruments were poorly recorded and poorly mixed especially guitars and drums, The album's sound is muddy and overall sounds bad which is quite surprising for 1983 and for a band with already a recording experience. Vocals by Alvaro Fella are in italian as usual except for the album's opener "JC" sung in heavy accented english. It's a tribute song for John Coltrane's A Love Supreme (hence its name), taking the main theme and interpreted to a rocky version, nice but also quite embarrassing too. The CD version offers the same song recorded live with even a worse sound quality (imagine that). "Willi" could be the best song here with some cool guitar playing by original guitar player Pupo Bianchini, far from anything essential though. There are no solos (except for one or two), no interludes or any interesting breaks that could remind us the old and fascinating Jumbo of the 70's. There are few nice parts here and there but the material overall is pretty bland and uninspired. The worst song here which could easily win the 1983 worst song competition is "Balla Ballerina", when they start to sing "balla balla.....balla ballerina" I just gotta hit that skip button....and fast.

I'm sorry to slay this album so much, I really do, I still hold a special place for Jumbo in my heart, but as you already understand by now this would appeal only to completionists (like me). Those very few mediocare parts doesn't manage to save this album from being a total disaster or doesn't even grant it with a second star. It is sad to see this is Jumbo's last attempt at making music but it is what it is. 1.5 stars.

 Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni ? by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.11 | 147 ratings

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Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni ?
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Jumbo were on fire in early-70's, belonging among the most popular live rock bands, and in 1973 a third album by the band followed.Entitled ''Vietato ai minori di 18 anni?'' and released again on Phillips, it shows the presence of new drummer Tullio Granatello in the place of Vito Balzano.

Stylistically Jumbo remained along the lines of ''DNA'', playing complex Heavy Progressive Rock with major Folk passages and occasional symphonic vibes.In fact the opening ''Specchio'' is among the most complete tracks of the italian scene, featuring the raw voice of Fella, excellent flute work, complicated guitar parts and a fair amount of Hammong organ waves.The rest of the album doesn't exactly reaches this high level of inspiration, but it is decent to say the least.It follows a weird mix of Classic Italian Prog mixed with extended acoustic parts and even Avant-Garde passages, like on the haunting and slow piece ''Gil'', containing percussion, obscure keyboard parts, acoustic mannerisms and Fella's frightening voice.While these moves are not along the lines of the average prog listener, there is still strong proggy doses to be left with nice guitar work, organs and flutes as the main components.

The last single of the band came in 1975 and the next appearance of Jumbo came in 1983 with the unsuccesful LP ''Violini d'autunno''.Daniele Bianchini was the main man behind Jumbo's couple of brief reunions and two more works saw the light in more recent years, the 1992 ''Live'' and the 2001 CD ''1991-2001 Passing By'', far from the band's early style.

''Vietato ai minori di 18 anni?'' was actually the last contribution of Jumbo in the Italian Prog scene.While not being that consistent as the ''DNA'' album, it contains some great pieces of prog music next to more experimental tracks of less interest.Overall, strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni ? by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.11 | 147 ratings

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Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni ?
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Jumbo - Vietato ai minori di 18 anni (1973)

Besides the big RPI groups (Banco, PFM, Orme) the Italian prog scene hosts a long list of smaller groups that produced a lot of often semi-professional symphonic/eclectic progressive rock records with an extrovert style. Jumbo made two acclaimed records, this is the second of them. The low & raw vocals of Alvara Fello are often seen as a letdown - but at least the man is motivated and honest.

Jumbo has an eclectic mix of styles, with most noteworthy heavy psych, folk, symphonic, space and world-music. The music sometimes evokes the fanatic feel for which a band like VdGG is remembered, whilst the music is way more fragmentary and unfocused. Jumbo has lots of great ideas and most work quite good, but lacks the extended song-writing skills to create a very meaningful experience (though knowing the Italian language might have helped here). Having that said there's quite a lot to enjoy here! Almost every moment of the album has some prove of an inventive mindset and the band thrives in its quieter experiments. During bombastic movements the recording isn't up to the challenge, an element of RPI music the real lovers must learn to live with. I sometimes find myself trying to listen to 'what could have been'.

Conclusion. Another strong, but semi-professional, eclectic Italian prog record that will be liked by most of its fans - though one shouldn't expect subtle vocals. Three and halve stars.

 Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni ? by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.11 | 147 ratings

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Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni ?
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Showing a significant improvement over the preceding DNA, on this album Jumbo bring the differing strands of their sound together and come up with a new and original approach which sets them apart from the RPI crowd. Long spacey and psychedelic passages demonstrate a wider range of influences than typical bands of the era, and the occasional part which approaches fusion demonstrates the band's technical virtuosity. The overall sound I'd describe as a heavy, spacey sort of symphonic prog, a mixture which proves to be really quite compelling. This is an album which has grown on me a lot as I've listened to it, and fully deserves to be Jumbo's highest-rated album.
 DNA by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.88 | 122 ratings

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DNA
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars An interesting RPI album with a bluesier, rockier, more Tull-influenced approach than most of its contemporaries (though the obligatory borrowing from Trespass-era Genesis is still a factor). The lead singer's voice is a big draw, as many other reviewers have noted, but at the same time I feel that this album just doesn't quite pull its musical ideas together enough to avoid being overshadowed by contemporary albums from Le Orme, Premiata Forneria Marconi, or Banco del Mutuo Soccorso. It's a fun ride if you want your RPI to rock out a little more than PFM typically do, but I wouldn't make it your first port of call if you were just beginning to explore Italian prog.
 DNA by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.88 | 122 ratings

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DNA
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by coasterzombie

4 stars Singer Alvaro Fella of Jumbo has a voice that can only be described as guttural, off-putting, and visceral. But these superficial qualities are made up for in spades with sheer emotion and passion in his vocal delivery. While Jumbo's debut album (released only a few months earlier) was essentially a solo album, Fella leads the group on DNA and they manage to create a near masterpiece of Italian Progressive Rock. These strides would only continue on the perfect Vietato Di Minori Di 18 Anni, but DNA is the more accessible of the two and a good starting point for this band.

The side-long "Suite Per Il Sig. K" may well be Jumbo's finest accomplishment. Though it is not a showy exercise or even progressive in the literal sense of the term, "Suite Per Il Sig. K" reveals a unique talent...one not afraid to tip a hat to their contemporaries, but forge a singular path as well. Jumbo's heavy, bluesy sound will delight fans of Led Zeppelin and The Doors as much as Genesis and Jethro Tull. This broad appeal enamors the listener to them, even if the vocals are a little distracting at first. By the end, a gentle stanza expressed wonderfully by Fella will reward those curious enough to stick around and see what Jumbo is all about. "Miss Rand" is more straightforward, and the piano so dominant in "Suite" is appended by organ. Fella again takes the driver's seat, and a ragtime free-for-all ensues. "E' Brutto Sentirsi Vecchi" is the strongest song on side 2, and will foreshadow the sound yet to appear on Jumbo's next album. A slow ballad gradually builds, then ends with a whimper - the finest moment on the album for sure.

"Hai Visto..." sees Fella get out of the way, allowing the group to explore some jazzier elements and just play without having to support a vocal. A repeat of the theme from "Suite Per Il Sig. K" bookends the album neatly, and creates an exit strategy. It also creates a sense of unfinished business, as the acoustic guitar stops abruptly without a feeling of closure. This open-ended nature of DNA makes me only want one thing...to play it again. Four stars.

 DNA by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.88 | 122 ratings

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DNA
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Jumbo were formed in Milan on the initiative of multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Alvaro Fella (vocals, guitar, sax, keyboards, percussion) who in 1971 gathered around him a line up featuring Daniele Bianchini (electric guitar), Sergio Conte (keyboards), Dario Guidotti (flute, harmonica, acoustic guitar, percussion), Vito Balzano (drums, percussion) and Aldo Gargano (bass, guitar). After a good but not impressive eponymous debut album, in 1972 they released the excellent "DNA", a concept album featuring strong criticism against society, where they managed to shape an original sound blending acoustic ballads with hard rock and progressive. Alvaro Fella's committed lyrics and his peculiar theatrical way of singing provided and additional touch of colour to their music and the result is amazing.

The opener "Suite per il sig. K" is a long and complex track in three parts. The first one, "Sta accadendo qualcosa dentro me" (Something is happening inside me) begins softly. Piano, acoustic guitar and flute set a quiet and dark atmosphere, then heavy electric guitar riffs announce an impending change, a turmoil that is going to shake the ordinary life of a common man... "I was given the voice and I can't scream / I was given the thought and I can't think anymore / I've got something inside me that is killing me day after day / It makes me sick as soon as I look around / Something is happening inside me... Someone taught me that a good man goes to paradise / But he was wrong / He taught me to keep on going forward as well, blowing with my elbows / But there are so many obstacles... Something is happening inside me!". Nothing matters but making money and struggling to climb up the social ladder... And one day you feel sick and fed up! After a distorted electric guitar passage rhythm calm down and acoustic guitar and harmonica lead to a bitter atmosphere of regret and to the second part, "Ed ora corri..." (And now you have to run). A whole life wasted away on duty, running after glory and power, no time to think to love or to suffering people... "You, who used to look always straight foreword / You didn't see them and they were so many / They used to stop to pray / You didn't see them, you were so busy / You didn't care of good and evil / You were too busy climbing the stairs...". Rhythm takes off, time is running out... "And now you have to run / You are freezing... You were blind and now you don't know / How to close your eyes, how to prey...". The final part "Dio ..." (God is) is a solemn crescendo leading to a new awareness... "I spent whole nights seeking for a reason / But finally I've understood... God is the love I feel for my woman / God is the love I feel for people / God is the love that you give to others without anything in exchange...".

"Miss Rand" is an ironic track about the need for help. "Someone shouts:- A house is burning! / She's been calling for half an hour but nobody comes... Miss Rand's house is burning... Miss Rand burned along with her house...". Perhaps it's not by chance that the name of the burning woman is Rand... Amy Rand (1905 ? 1982) was a novelist and philosopher who promoted a movement called "objectivism" claiming that every man must exist for his own sake and that the pursuit of his own rational self-interest and his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life...

"E' brutto sentirsi vecchi" (It's awful feeling old) is a bitter sweet acoustic ballad against "objectivism". The pace is slow and the mood is blue... "It's awful feeling old / When you are so young / Feeling the need to sit down, to lay on the ground doing nothing but sleeping... It's awful feeling the need to cry / When you are so young... You can't trust your better friend / You do not dare to think of your future... It's awful thinking only to food / When you are so young / Thinking to no one but yourself / Ignoring what there's around you... It's awful thinking to die / When you are so young...".

Last track "Ho visto..." (I've seen) features a long and complex intro featuring jazz touches and a swirling flute, then organ introduces to apocalyptic visions... Burning stars, a threatening sea, volcanic eruptions and snakes spitting venom... "You've seen the dogs tearing apart your children / You've seen the water carrying away your mother... You have seen the light shouting doom / You've seen... Then nothing".

 DNA by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.88 | 122 ratings

BUY
DNA
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by seventhsojourn
Special Collaborator RPI

4 stars Jumbo took their name from the nickname of lead singer Alvaro Fella, a vocalist with a distinctive gravelly voice who sounds to me like an Italian Alex Harvey. Opinions seem to differ on whether this or their following album ''Vietato ai Minori di 18 Anni'' is the better, but in truth they're both excellent. The first half of this album is taken up by the 20-minute ''Suite Per Il Sig K'', an absolutely storming blues-prog epic that overflows with energetic flute phrases and blues-harp licks. The remainder of the album is perhaps a bit of an anti-climax after this track, although there's never what you might call a dull moment. Dario Guidotti's superb harmonica and flute combo is well to the fore again on ''Miss Rand'', an apparently lighthearted tale about a teacher being burned alive in a housefire! The lyrics are in Italian of course, but I'll take a fellow reviewer's word for it that it's funny. ''E'Brutto Sentirsi Vecchi'' is a fairly downbeat acoustic piece that laments the effects of growing old (tell me about it!), while closing song ''Hai Visto'' sees the album out with some interesting psychedelic organ and jazz- spirited piano. DNA is one of the finest blues-based prog albums around, a bold mix of invention of passion with obvious similarities to the embryonic Jethro Tull. Great stuff indeed.
 DNA by JUMBO album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.88 | 122 ratings

BUY
DNA
Jumbo Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Jumbo are a very interesting Italian prog band who owe less to the classically inspired symphonic bands that were prevalent in that country and more to the blues laden sound of early Jethro Tull. They blend powerful and bombastic sections with much use of acoustic instrumentation creating an exciting dynamic sound.

Suite Per Il Sig. K opens the album and took up the first side in the good old days of vinyl. It's perhaps Jumbo's finest moment. A lone piano leads the way for acoustic guitar and flute and into a heavier section with stabbing organ and raw electric guitar. Equally raw is the emotive vocals of Alvaro Fella who may not be to everyone's taste. The piece moves through sections of powerful instrumental soloing, bluesy acoustic guitar, mouth organ, flute and piano dominated quieter moments to Jethro Tull inspired sections. The subtle build three quarters of the way in is fantastic as the organ solos away over the top. This really is excellent stuff and if the entire album was this good would easily warrant five stars. However the rest of the album doesn't quite live up to the set standard.

Miss Rand, though having its moments disappoints and after a promising start develops into a kind of ragtime/honky tonk style song. E' Brutto Sentirsi Vecchi, an acoustic track is better showing off Fella's expressive vocal delivery perfectly. Best of all on side 2 though is Hai Visto..., which returns to the standard set on Suite Per Il Sig. K. With a strong jazz flavour in parts.

Jumbo wont be to everyone's taste's but if you've already explored the more obvious RPI gems of Banco, PFM and Le Orme and are looking for something a bit different then they could be the band for you.

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

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