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Maxophone - Maxophone CD (album) cover




Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.27 | 557 ratings

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5 stars Maxophone released a single album in 1975 in both English version and Italian version (get the Italian one). Exquisite musicianship and an odd and wide assortment of classical instruments make this a unique entry in Italian prog. Bears some resemblance to likewise very talented Locanda della Fate. Somehow I'd never heard of these guys when first getting into some obscure Italian bands when I was in college, but time has solved that problem.

Opener C'e Un Paese Al Mondo is a good impression of what they are up to-dense arrangements that echo Genesis. circa 73, with their distinctive touch. Second song, the instrumental Fase, guitarist Roberto Giuliani lays down a very convincing and convoluted Steve Howe run, but the song quickly veers into horn dominated Crimson stylings. (the highly inventive band can veer from section to section very quickly). Vibraphone, a rarely heard instrument in prog, is used to great effect here. Third song Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla starts with a classical guitar and flute figure straight off early PFM repertoire.

Side two begins with Mercanti Di Pazzie, a hint of early Starcastle, and they quickly take it to another level. Second song Mercanti di Pazzie begins with harp (it also credits a HIndemith sonata as the source). Vibraphone helps creates a baroque Genesis flavor. It is one of the few placid moments on the album. Final song Antiche Conclusioni Negre is a nine minute tour de force, combining Yes styled runs with French horn and sax before calming to a piano and vocal interlude. Fans of Chocolate Kings might begin to notice some similarities to that PFM album here. The song and album finishes with a wistful sing along of all the members accompanied by only the organ. Great stuff from opening notes to final fade out, with no bad moments at all in the whole experience.

Two bonus tracks are listed on the inner gatefold of the reissue vinyl lp, but sadly they aren't included.

If there are any weaknesses to this record, perhaps it is the vocals, but that would be looking really hard to find something to complain about. The band is so versatile in so many ways-able to seamlessly slip from ELP to Yes to Genesis to Crimson to jazz to PFM in a single song, and still somehow make it their own. An astonishingly high level of musicianship is on display. Fans of UK prog with not much RPI in their collections would do well to check this album out., as they do lean somewhat towards the traditional English stylings. RPI fans though? You'll find plenty of Italian flavour in here. Absolutely essential for Italian prog fans, and highly recommended for UK symphonic prog fans. And if you can find the English version? A great intro to RPI for beginners.

4.75 stars

zeuhl1 | 5/5 |


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