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D.F.A.

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Italy


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D.F.A. biography
Another intricate Prog band from Verona, Italy, with some psychedelic moods among their orchestrated and improvised music. The music is mostly instrumental, but some vocals in italian are present too. Their musical scope ranges from Jazz Rock with symphonic tinges to Gentle Giant-like fusion. The group released in 95 a demo called Trips on The Metro and the following year their debut album Lavori In Corso, which used all of the tracks reworked of their demo plus a 17-minutes epic.

"Duty Free Area" (1999) probably ranks among the very finest Italian releases of the 90s. It ended up on most prog site or publications' top list of that year. This opened the door to a lot of festival around the western world, culminating with a Nearfest appearancze in 2001, which wazs to be released on their new label Moonjune in '02 under the name Work In Progress.

In the following years some other few concerts, some new composition are written, but nothing of that period will ever be recorded. It is only in summer 2004 that the first notes of Mosoq Runa appear. The following years are entirely dedicated to the composition of the new album, which was recorded in March 08 and released a bit latter. A few festival appearances ensued.

Their stunning album "4th" was released in 2008 to wide critical acclaim. During a creative peak for the band, tragedy struck.

From MoonJune Records:

"My dear personal friend, Alberto "Il Maestro" Bonomi, the highly-respected and much-loved keyboardist for the legendary Italian prog band, D.F.A., died tragically in his home town of Verona, in an automobile accident yesterday (Sunday, June 26th 2011). He was 48. Bino was a fabulous musician and composer, and a wonderful, gracious person. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him."

In all, DFA is a great jazzy symphonic group that surely stands apart from the pack of the modern prog scene. Highly recommended to fans of intricate / elaborate prog music.


-Hugues Chantraine, Belgium, based upon the band's biography on their site






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D.F.A. discography


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

D.F.A. top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.22 | 38 ratings
Lavori In Corso
1997
4.13 | 52 ratings
Duty Free Area
1999
4.24 | 59 ratings
4th
2008

D.F.A. Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.20 | 35 ratings
Work in Progress Live
2001

D.F.A. Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.49 | 18 ratings
Kaleidoscope
2007

D.F.A. Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 1 ratings
Trip on Metrò
1995

D.F.A. Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 4th by D.F.A. album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.24 | 59 ratings

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4th
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Suedevanshoe

5 stars The Italian progressive scene boasts many authentic groups who draw inspiration from all kinds of sources. DFA's "4th" is a classic example of top shelf current Italian prog that uses classic progressive as a template, expanding the sound with just the right amount of contemporary panache to complete the finished product.

Take the first track, Baltasaurus. This monster runs the gamut, starting with the Hatfield and the North template and constructing a powerful sound featuring epochal rhythms, dynamic instrumental interplay, and exciting tempo shifts. Powerful is the word to describe this tune. The clean, refined sound definitely accents the nuances of the production on this song and the remaining package.

The rest of the tunes run the gamut as well, using contemporary Canterbury flavor - making this almost a tribute album (put out more people!!!). My only slight qualm with this album - the album cover is a bit generic. In my eyes, it's almost a big deal. For an album to attain classic status, the album cover must portray an image that positively reflects something creative about the feelings contained within the music. I don't feel or see it here, this cover looks to me like it was put together in a half an hour and rushed onto the album. Still, the music is terrific and because of acts like DFA, Accordo dei Contrari, and Il Tempio Delle Clessidre, contemporary progressive music finds its way onto my turntable quite often. This album deserves at least 100 ratings if not 500 from Progarchives members. Like Miriodor, it seems DFA will go down in progressive rock history as a minor footnote - which is sad. It's a shame this lineup will never have the chance to build on this masterpiece of sound.

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 Work in Progress Live by D.F.A. album cover Live, 2001
4.20 | 35 ratings

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Work in Progress Live
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars DFA were formed in Verona in 1991, and released their debut album in 1997. 1999 saw their second album, this time on one of the most important Italian prog labels, Mellow, and this secured them an invitation to play at NEARfest in 2000. That show was recorded and has now been made available by American label MoonJune.

Opening track "Escher" lays down the rules, namely that there aren't any! That this four- piece know their way around their respective instruments is never in doubt, and while there is a large element of jazz it is much more in the fusion area as they mix together sounds and styles. They bring together Ozrics and Hawkwind, but are as happy to also bring in influences as diverse as Gentle Giant and ELP. But even after the first song I wasn't ready for the next, "Caleidoscopio", which is far more gentle and reflective while there are vocals. It certainly changes style throughout, from almost Georgian to intricate interplay.

Vocals are used sparingly, but there is so much going on during the instrumentals that they are not missed at all. The crowd are deathly silent during the peaceful moments but they certainly react when each song finishes. Only six songs, but with a length ranging from 6 minutes to 15 it gives DFA the opportunity to branch out. I have been sent a few MoonJune albums this issue and have been told by Leonardo that there will be many more in 2002. If they are all of the standard of this then that will be something to look forward to indeed.

Originally appeared in Feedback #65, Dec 01

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 Kaleidoscope by D.F.A. album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.49 | 18 ratings

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Kaleidoscope
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Whenever a brave band emerges which attempts to recreate some of the excitement of classic 1970s prog (more particularly: the "symphonic jazz-rock" of bands like Bruford and National Health), they deserve to be applauded. D.F.A. consisted of four intrepid virtuosi who recorded EXACTLY what they wanted, without concessions to record company executives.

On their first album, disc 1 of the current set (dating from 1995) they still seem a little lost (the first two tracks are terribly noisy - the band were trying too hard to sound like Gentle Giant) but from track 3 onwards, things just keep improving: there are instrumental tracks which strongly remind me of "The Cinema Show" (with flashy Tony Banks-style keyboard solos) and during the remainder of the album (and especially on "Space Ace Man" and "La Via") lead guitarist Silvio Minella impresses me most. His solos reach for the sky: no bombast but passion, intelligence and ecstasy.

On the band's second album (here represented by disc 2) the National Health/Bruford influences really kick in. At times I felt like shouting: "Wait a sec, you nabbed that riff from ONE OF A KIND!" But the music always moves fast, and usually there's one more exuberant solo just round the corner.

Over all, this collection's disc 1 probably sounds more daring and original than disc 2 (D.F.A. would subsequently take their British-inspired jazz-rock to even greater heights on "4th") but the studio part of the second disc actually ends on a lush ballad featuring female vocals, which proves that D.F.A. were also capable of delivering heart-meltingly beautiful SONGS. As a bonus, there are live performances of 3 of the original studio tracks.

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 Duty Free Area by D.F.A. album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.13 | 52 ratings

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Duty Free Area
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars D.F.A. alas Duty Free Area is the second release of this fantastic jazz fusion band from Italy. Issued in 1999 , was immediatly accepted by the listners and music media as one of the most acomplised jazz fusion albums of the '90's, not only from Italy but in Europe in general. The album has lenghty tracks, 4 out of 6 , very complex, with top notch musicianship, great ideas, every single track is excellent in its own way, providing in the end a whole new dimensions in jazz fusion realm. The band manage to combine very eficient jazz fusion with some space rock elements not far from Ozric Tentacles in their heyday, making a very special atmosphere where the organ and keybords have an important role.. The pretty good idea of how great this record is is by just listning to the opening track Escher - simply brilliant from start to finish, lenghy track with a lots of twists and turns, musicians are simply shining here. There is also besides instrumental pieces, some with vocal offered by some guest like on Esperanto, featurig Deux Ex machina vocalist Alberto Piras, another great tune with a lot to offer. So, easely one of the most as I said acomplised jazz fusion albums, with great performance and stunning ideas. All listners of the genre and including progressive rock fans must take some spins of this album, worth it for sure.4 stars for sure.

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 4th by D.F.A. album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.24 | 59 ratings

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4th
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by justaguy

3 stars Italian D.F.A. plays fusion music of the best quality, but stays a little in debt when concerning originality or even producing tunes that really catch. However, fluent and clever arrangements with a little Canterbury sauce and excellent techniques make up a lot. One can compare them to Return to Forever in the mid 70s, however D.F.A. still misses the sheer geniality of RTF compositions and playing.

Two songs with the vocal ? philosophical "The Mirror" (drummer and the band's main composer De Grandis singing) and charming "La Ballata De S'isposa E Mannorri" (with Sardinian female vocal group Andhira) are real jewels. The long "Baltasarus" (over 14 min) and "Mosoq Runa" (almost 19 min) are the very fine examples of symphonic fusion. Pretty pieces on the flute by the keyboardist Bonomi and cello contributions by Zoltan Szabo make the music quite diverse and bearable. It is amazing how this long and intricate epics are arranged and played: they don't even start to bore after quite a few listens.

It is unfortunate, that D.F.A. is not a very productive band. Since their start in 1991 they have recorded only 4 albums. The previous one ? "Duty Free Area" was issued 10 years ago. They also don't play awfully lot on stage. I won't be surprised if all their shows could be counted on the fingers of two hands. I won't go speculating what are they doing while not playing music, but it could actually make funs of fusion music more happy if they shifted their life stile balance to making more music.

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 Work in Progress Live by D.F.A. album cover Live, 2001
4.20 | 35 ratings

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Work in Progress Live
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Wonderful concert!

"Work in Progress" is the title of this live album that Italian band D.F.A. released, after having it performed and recorded back in 2000, in their NEARFest invitation. This also marked their first concert ever in the USA. What this band offers is an exquisite exhibition of musical skills, challenging compositions, instrumental tracks made by four people who play the "basic" instruments: guitars, bass, drums and keyboards; the music that you will find here can be described as symphonic, or even fusion, but let's say it is progressive rock, and that's it.

Six are the songs performed here, three of them ("Escher", "Caleidoscopio" and "Ragno") taken from their "D.F.A" album, while the other three ("Trip on metro", "La via" and "Pantera") from their magnificent "Lavori in Corso" disc. The total time of this live album is one hour, so as you can imagine here you will find long songs, ranging from 7 to 15 minutes. I am sure that the people who saw them left the place with a big smile.

A cool mixture of symphonic-like keyboards, some jazzy bass, rockier guitars and drums, and some even spacey moments can be appreciated here. Worth mentioning that vocals can be also heard in some moments, which is not usual in this band, however, when they appear they do not harm at all, on the other hand, they help. My two favorite songs are "Pantera" and the long 15-minute epic "La Via", I love the dynamic and diversity of this band.

I would have loves one or two more songs, no matter the length, you can't feel tired or bored when you listen to this. My final grade will be four strong stars (4.5 would be more accurate), highly recommendable.

Enjoy it!

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 Kaleidoscope by D.F.A. album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.49 | 18 ratings

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Kaleidoscope
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars Kaleidoscope is a double CD box with the albums Lavori in Corso (CD 1) and Duty Free Area (CD 2). Both CDs include some live tracks from 2003 or in total three live tracks to be more precise.

While Lavori in Corso is a more blend of RPI and Jazz, the Duty Free Area is a blend of space rock, jazz, canterbury and symphonic prog. In short; you get two pretty different types of albums here, but both loosely within the fusion/jazz genre. These two CDs are not that different from each other, but different enough to really make this box interesting. So four stars for the music.

The packaging too deserve four star. The booklet is not like a book, but it still contains enough reading material to complement the music.

In short; this is a very good box sold for a reasonable price and an excellent addition to anyone's record collection.

4 stars

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 Duty Free Area by D.F.A. album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.13 | 52 ratings

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Duty Free Area
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars The second (third ?) album from D.F.A is a substantial departure from their debut album. And an unexpected one, I have to admit.

D.F.A created quite a successfull formula on the Lavori In Corso album. So it speaks volumes about this band's courage and not at least; abilities that they have changed course in these stormy waters and gone for a slightly more adventerous route.

This album is much more a fusion of jazz, space rock and ELPism like symphonic prog than on previous album. D.F.A really surprises me here. Not at least when they also have Genesis like melody lines too. That made my eyebrows really stand vibrate. The Italian vocals should indicate some RPI influences, but they are not. The music is much more like vocals based Jazz than RPI. There are also some Canterbury scene influences here. And that more in the direction of Caravan than the likes of National Health. But it is obvious that D.F.A is influenced by National Health and Hatfield & The North too.

In short; this is a huge mouthful.

Despite of changing course, D.F.A has again pulled off a great album..... again ! The musicianship is absolute top notch. The melodies are great. This album is a very good example of how to be progressive as a band. It is an exploration of musical landscapes too. In short; this is a great album. Nuff said.

4 stars

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 Lavori In Corso by D.F.A. album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.22 | 38 ratings

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Lavori In Corso
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars This, their (officially) second album is a revelation.

D.F.A is a fusion band on it's right. A fusion between rock and jazz. A fusion between Jazz Rock/ Fusion and Rock Progressivo Italiano. A fusion between Rock Progressivo Italiano and Canterbury Scene. Although that latter fusion is not as clear on this album though.

Lavori In Corso includes some reworked versions of songs from their impossible-to-find debut album too. That means clever jazzy RPI songs and this time with vocals as opposed to their more recent work. The vocals are good so no complaints from me. But the vocals drags the music on Lavori In Corso a lot closer to the Rock Progressivo Italiano scene. All musicians does an excellent job here and the small details they dishes up is mindblowing excellent. In short; this band knows what they are doing.

The music here is of a high quality and up there along the better of the albums in this scene. La Via is a killer track. In short; this album is a must have in my view.

4 stars

Lavori In Corso is a part of a 2 CD package called Kaleidoscope, which also include their 3rd album.

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 4th by D.F.A. album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.24 | 59 ratings

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4th
D.F.A. Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars The rumour mill.........

D.F.A or Duty Free Area as they also call themselves, I believe...... is not the most profiled Italian band. Which is a shame because they really have something to offer. Their albums also has this knack to slowly creep up on the listener over a time. Their material is not immediate hit music. But I am now well ahead of myself. Let's take this from the beginning.......

4th is strangely enough D.F.A.s fourth album. I have been listening to their second and third album and I knew what I was in for. And I got what I wanted plus some more. D.F.A does a blend of Jazz Rock/Fusion and Rock Progressivo Italiano. I would even describe D.F.A as the bridge between those two styles. Their music is not either of those two styles. It is a fusion of them. But on this album, D.F.A has also inflused a lot of Canterbury Scene too. No, not Caravan or Soft Machine, although a couple of melody lines gives me some Soft Machine vibes too. I am actually thinking more along the lines of National Health and what Alan Gowen did throughout his far too short life. There is a lot of National Health hidden on 4th. Being a National Health fan (in more than one sense.... but it is better to leave my personal life out it), this album album really touches the right tangents. In other words; this is a true fusion album, but not a Jazz Rock/Fusion album.

Most of the album is instrumental keyboards and guitar driven music. The final track La ballata de 'isposa 'e Mannorri is a female vocal track backed by some great keyboards. The album is full to the brim with small inttricate details and subtle, but still very infectious melody lines. The album sounds bland at the first listening sessions, but really springs to life after a while. So give this album plenty of time and attention before making up your mind.

The quality is great throughout. With the exception of the final track where the female vocals makes this a standout track (but not the best on the album), this album can be regarded as one piece of music. The best track is the opening track Baltasaurus. But the rest of the album just shades it. I am pretty sure this is an album I will love more and more during the next years and decades. In short; this is a great album from a great band.

4 stars

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