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Quanah Parker biography
Italian band QUANAH PARKER was formed back in 1981, and although the band back then didn't get as far as releasing any material before they broke up in 1985 they can sport a history going 30 years back in time. The current edition of the band took shape when main composer Riccardo Scivales decided to revive the band again in 2005, and in 2012 they released their official debut with "Quanah!" through Italian label Diplodisc. And included as a bonus track on the album a piece for those who fondly remember the original version of the band: A recording made by the initial line-up back in 1984.

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3.93 | 8 ratings
3.86 | 9 ratings
Suite degli Animali Fantastici

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 Suite degli Animali Fantastici by QUANAH PARKER album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 9 ratings

Suite degli Animali Fantastici
Quanah Parker Crossover Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the long awaited 2012 debut album Quanah!, the Venetian band Quanah Parker came back in 2015 with a second work and a renewed line up featuring Riccardo Scivales (keyboards), Elisabetta Montino (vocals), Giovanni Pirrotta (electric and acoustic guitars, bass), Paolo Ongaro (drums, percussion) and Alessandro Monti (bass, recorder, bells, tabla, claves, triangle). The new album was released on the independent label M.P. & Records and it's titled Suite degli animali fantastici. According to the liner notes, the main course of the album is a long suite sung in Italian that was inspired by a friend, Edward J. Shanaphy who came with the idea of writing an album about some fantastic beasts. The initial idea was then developed by the band's leader and composer Riccardo Scivales with the help of lyricist and multi-instrumentalist Alessandro "Unfolk" Monti who, identifying these "fantasy creatures" as projections of a human mind, imagined them setting off on a fascinating journey through space and time to finally come back to their creator. The whole band contributed to refine and complete the music and lyrics adding colours and emotions to make the dream come true. In my opinion, the result is amazing!

The hypnotic opener "From Distant Lands" is not part of the suite but perfectly fits the subject matter and represents a wonderful introduction to the album. It begins softly and you can feel an exotic magnetism in the air. Then you can hear the soaring song of a mermaid playing with her hair under the water and through the light. She's smiling...

Then comes the long, complex "Suite degli animali fantastici" (Suite of the fantastic beasts) that is divided into eight parts and starts with the dreamy "Risveglio Onirico" (Oneiric awakening) where the music and the narrative vocals conjure up gentle waves breaking on the shore of a fantastic island on a timeless sunny morning. Here, slowly a dream comes to life, sneaking its way through imagination and reality, coming out from the threshold of sleep... On the second part, "Danza di un mattino" (Morning dance), the rhythm rises and there's an electric atmosphere while Elisabetta Montino gives voice to the fruit of a sensory illusion that begins to move around in an ecstatic dance. "Interludio Notturno" (Nocturnal interlude) is a short, dreamy passage featuring male and female vocals evoking an invisible beast hiding in the shadows, under the moon, keeper of a mysterious secret... The following "D'j' Vu Fantastico" (Fantastic D'j' Vu) is brighter and the soaring vocals take you up in the air, across the sky and beyond the borders of myth, where echoes of past lives resound and you get lost among strange, ever-changing shapes. Two eyes are staring at you, shining like stones of light... "Luci dagli Abissi" (Lights from the abyss) is a calm instrumental passage the leads to the mysterious "Cantico Marino" (Sea song) where you can almost hear the breath and the voice of talking dolphins. You're getting lost in an illusion of eternal life, you can't stop sinking into another dimension... The music and lyrics of the following part "Animale Multiforme" (Multiform beast) depict a beast that can breath into the abyss of memory and that can generate a rainbow in the air just by a twist of its tail. It can fly beyond the clouds and through the galaxies and now it's running, leaving its tracks in the labyrinth of your mind... The last part, "Ritorno alla Mente" (Back to the mind) marks the end of this cathartic dream painting the awakening with soft, autumnal colours. The dream is gone but something remains: illusions, fantastic stories, tangled thoughts under the rain and a new awareness... What a wonderful suite! Perfectly at ease with her native language, Elisabetta Montino vocals can be ethereal and powerful in the meantime and her theatrical approach here underlines the visionary strength of the music and lyrics with great effectiveness. Moreover, not only did she interpret the storyline with her vocal performances but also with images since she also took charge of the drawings for the beautiful art work.

After the "fantastic suite" comes a tribute to Francesco Di Giacomo, the late vocalist of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso who passed away in 2014. "A Big Francesco" (To Big Francesco) is a melancholic instrumental track filled with emotion and poignant nostalgia that recalls the best moments of the Roman band now kept alive by Vittorio Nocenzi.

Well, so far so good! Unfortunately, the last two tracks, "Death Of A Deer" and "Make Me Smile" are not at the same level of the rest of the album and sound to my ears almost like fillers or bonus tracks. Both are sung in English, the first one is a long piece with some folksy passages where Elisabetta Montino tries to give voice to the feelings of a hunted deer while the latter is a love song with a jazzier mood. Anyway, do not worry: the last two tracks do not spoil the pleasure of listening to this beautiful work! Have try, I'm sure it will be an excellent addition to any prog collection!

 Quanah! by QUANAH PARKER album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.93 | 8 ratings

Quanah Parker Crossover Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Quanah Parker began life in Venice in 1981, going against the tide in a period when progressive rock was completely out of fashion. They split up in 1985 but, after a long hiatus, in 2005 they came to life again on the initiative of keyboardist and composer Riccardo Scivales. In 2012 Quanah Parker finally released a debut album titled "Quanah!", on the independent label Diplodisc, with a line up featuring Riccardo Scivales (keybords), Elisabetta "Betty" Montino (vocals), Giovanni Pirrotta (electric guitar), Giuseppe Di Stefano (bass) and Paolo "Ongars" Ongaro (drums). Over the years all the musicians have honed their skills and the result of the recording sessions is a well balanced mix of classical influences, progressive rock and jazz. Some pieces date back to eighties while others are more recent but you can't find any discontinuity in the style of the band, the overall sound is excellent and everything works. Well, if you like artists such as Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Santana or Kate Bush, give this album a try!

The short, dreamy opener "Chant Of The Sea-Horse" is a charming piece for piano and vocals full of mystery and magic. There are no lyrics and the beautiful voice of Betty Montino here is used as an instrument with amazing results. The following "No Time For Fears" begins softly, again piano and vocals take the lead but then all the members of the band give their contribute and the rhythm rises. The music and lyrics invite you to grow up inside, overcoming your fears. There are many people who are prisoners of the daily grind, they're sad and lost at the end of the day, almost incapable to heed their heart and to develop their inner strength... "Switch the light off / Smile in the dark / And realize you're alive...".

"Quanah Parker" begins with a burst of energy and some passages could recall "Garofano Rosso" by Il Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, then the music takes an autonomous direction with many changes in rhythm and mood. Quanah Parker was a Comanche chief, the band was named after him and this piece is a kind of trademark. The music tries to evoke a rebellious spirit and a timeless need for freedom while the lyrics draw a prayer to the wind. Eventually the wind seems to answer... "The voice of wind is crying for a change! / Where is my axe?". The conclusive electric guitar solo expresses the rising rage of an untamed soul.

"Sailor Song" begins with a nervous rhythm while the lyrics depict the image of a sailor who sets off on a journey across the sea heading East, looking for the rising sun. Soon you realize that the journey is a metaphor for an inner quest, a search for a man's identity leading outside the borders of reality... "Strange reflexes in the dark, charming echoes in the air / Have drawn my ship in an island out of time...".

"Flight" is an outstanding instrumental track featuring vibrant, pulsating bass lines and even a good bass solo. As the rhythm takes off you can fly across a starry sky following dreams and notes. Then comes "The Garden Awakes" where you can land in an enchanted place and walk barefoot among flowers and leaves, breathing the fresh air of springtime. Behind the gate of this magic garden you can regenerate your soul and forget your dark memories. When you'll leave the garden you will keep the new sounds and colours you have experienced in your heart... "Something strange is happening to me / I can feel a new breath of life... There's a new human being inside me...".

"After The Rain" is another track full of optimism. It begins softly, you can hear the sounds of a storm in the background but the storm is soon over. The atmosphere is dreamy, the music is delicate and the voice of Betty Montino soars clear in the air while the dark clouds melt... "Everything seems so perfect and pure... Sun soon will shine and with it my heart...".

"Asleep" evokes a dream of perfect harmony, a home on a cloud and singing birds all around. Waking up could be very hard in a case like this but you can always close your eyes again and try to go back to your dreams, feeling as if you were floating between the sea and the sky. Here in some passages the music veers to a Latin rock ŕ la Santana as in the following "Silly Fairy Tales" which is in the same dreamy mood and depicts three merry elves and a snoring man dreaming of fairy tales... "Sparklin' drops captured my attention / So I could see...".

"People In Sorrow" is a bitter-sweet piano ballad featuring heartfelt vocals and lyrics about solitary boys and girls unaware that there are so many ways to forget the gloom around them. Here and in the following "The Limits Of The Sky" the voice of Betty Montino recalls Kate Bush and takes off running after wuthering heights... "Under the sun, over the hills, running away with you / Watching your eyes, hearing the notes, no strain inside our hearts... If only I could, I'd fly with you to the limits of the sky above / If only I could, I'd colour this song with the colours of the sky!".

The final track "Shenn Menn" reminds me of some works of Santana and is taken from an original recording from 1984 with a line up featuring Riccardo Scivales (keyboards), Roberto Noč (guitar, vocals), Stefano Corvia (guitar), Roberto Veronese (bass) and Giuliano Bianco (drums). It is credited as a bonus track and is a proof of the good level of the band in their early days.

All in all, I think that this is an excellent album although it's a pity that the band did not exploit their native language for the lyrics giving to the amazing voice of Betty Montino more chances to go off the beaten tracks looking for a wider range of colours and sounds.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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