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Esagono - Vicolo CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.93 | 22 ratings

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3 stars A lost fusion treat!

Esagono, from Turin, featured members of the band Arti & Mestieri and Errata Corrige. They released this feisty and classy instrumental jazz-rock album in 1976 on the MU record label.

"Vicolo" recalls things like Arti & Mestieri and perhaps Isotope or Hatfield/North in places with accomplished playing and obvious passion for jazz. But there is a wild card here that I love: the instrumentation is spiced up with some cello, sax, flute, piano and other keys which keeps things interesting. Marco Gallesi's bass is all over the place and quite "in your face." And of course the percussion is really tight. But what I most like about this album is that it has more life, more warmth to it than some of the other jazz-rock I've tried in the past. It's not cold, predictable, or mechanical. The album takes a moment to warm up with the first two tracks being less impressive than the rest. But things take off somewhere during the third song and never look back! The middle of the CD tracklist is the slam dunk for me: "Arena" is very cool with lots of effects at the beginning that give it almost a space-rock-psych feel on top of the jazzy rhythms. The bass is monster, the flutes are heavenly and the keyboard solos out of this world. The 8 ½ minute "Araba Fenice" might be the highlight for me. Acoustic guitars, hand percussion, and a middle Eastern atmosphere give the track a mysterious and attractive backdrop for the soloists. The pace varies and changes keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Notes music critic François Couture: "Gallesi has a mean, slurpy bass sound that evokes Brand X's Percy Jones -- he comes close to matching his virtuosity too. The irresistible clavinet riff opening "Five to Four" sets the pace. Each cut will feature a similarly sharp basis, even the moodier "Diatomea." "Vicolo" concludes the set with a high-energy number worthy of Jean-Luc Ponty's best writing at the time. Cimino leads this one on cello with Aldo Rindone providing ever-changing chords on the Fender Rhodes." [this paragraph credited to François Couture, All Music Guide]

Their current label (they are together again for a project) describes their style as "influenced by a tendency to highlight the melody of their themes, in parallel with the solo moments, always developed in a setting of collective "multicolored orchestral sound." Make what you will of that!!

The sound on the reissued CD is pretty decent for '76 and the booklet has a history but only in Italian. Unfortunately they also altered the original cover art to make it more eye-catching. This album is easily recommended to any lover of jazz, jazz rock, instrumental music, or Italian bands. If you're in any of those groups I think you risk very little by ordering this gem.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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