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Jumbo - Jumbo CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.89 | 44 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
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.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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