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Jumbo - Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni ? CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.17 | 169 ratings

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5 stars Jumbo are an unrecognized gem in the RPI scene overlooked by most except those who have dug deeper into Italian 70's prog.. Led by the polarizing vocalist Alvara Fella, Jumbo created a minor masterpiece with their third album, Vietato Ai Minori Di 18 Anni?

From the first burst of vocals at the beginning of side one (Specchio), you know this album is a little different than your typical Italian prog album of the 70's. Snarling with equal measures of anger, disdain and a world weariness so common in Italian prog vocalists, Fella rails against injustices of oppression of various undertrodden factions, and his gruff anger is palpable. The music is widely varied, but in a much more successful fashion than say Alusa Fallax. Acoustic guitars alternate with wailing electric guitars, while flute and organ propel and withdraw tastefully. New drummer Tullio Granatello enables the band to explore even further than their nearly as good second album, DNA. The cartoonish soundtrack introduction of Via Larga gives way to an uncharacteristically gentle ballad which builds to a final slowly building jam that finishes with a vocal explosion similar to how the side started. Side one is fairly amazing in its scope and execution, with a breathtaking exhibition of musicianship worthy of accolades in 1970's NME polls. (of course that never happened)

Side two brings a different side to the band, something not shown on earlier works. Some point to Gil as the centerpiece of the album, almost Amon Duul-ish with exotic percussion, tabla, and some VCS3 courtesy of Franco Battiato-mellotron underlies the introduction before the anguished vocals of Fella call us to attention. This piece is free flowing, ambient and closer to Battiato's work than Jumbo for fans of space rock influenced RPI. But this is the only stop in free form land, The delicate Vangelo? (Gospel?) brings us back to flute directed passages that sound like Selling England By the Pound beefed up with an aggressiveness that is this band's strength. Album closer 40 Giadi begins with Nursery Cryme era Genesis acoustic gentleness before giving way to a Canterbury style organ jam- but as is their wont, Fella lets loose, temporarily terrorizing the Caravan/Soft Machine proceedings before settling back to gentleness. Uh oh, he's snarling again. The album ends in carnival madness, like someone dosed PFM and dropped them off at the circus to accompany the proceedings.

Honestly, The lead singer of Jumbo is a character unlike many in Italian prog-people either love him or hate him, little middle ground. Although there are some who sound similar to him, he is one of a kind in his ability to use his gruff voice as not only an instrument, but something that can change a song instantly. (Demetrio Stratos is another person who had this ability, although he stands alone for vocal ingenuity in not only Italian rock, but the history of modern music.)

Widely varying in scope, this is one of the little known masterpieces in RPI.

Reference points: 1970-1972 Genesis (albeit with a surly Italian madman confronting you personally instead of Gabriel). Some King Crimson. Some Amon Duul 2, some PFM. Mostly though, they sound like Jumbo. When it gets difficult to codify a band in terms of other bands, you know they are on to something.

Definitely one of my top ten RPI albums.

Five stars without hesitation

zeuhl1 | 5/5 |


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