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Gian Pieretti - Il Vestito Rosa Del Mio Amico Piero CD (album) cover


Gian Pieretti


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.43 | 11 ratings

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4 stars A unique RPI lost gem from an important figure

Gian (Dante) Pieretti was an important character in Italian music. Born about a decade before most of the legendary RPI musicians, his flirtation with progressive rock was short but fruitful. First, in 1964 and already an established beat musician, Pieretti was the single force who gave future legends PFM their beginning. Gian was the man who introduced Franz Di Cioccio and Franco Mussida to one another, and their fledgling group The Griffins became Pieretti's backing group. A few years later they added more people and became I Quelli, the band which would become PFM. (For more on Pieretti's interesting story, please see our extended bio on his artist page.) After a decade of rubbing elbows with beat poets and famous folk musicians, as well as having a prolific career as a songwriter and collaborator with Ricky Gianco, Pieretti in 1973 released an amazing little concept album.

"Il Vestito Rosa del mio Amico Piero" is a beautiful and intimate concept album about a boy from Pieretti's school days who struggled with homosexuality in a time and place where it was not accepted as today. Pieretti wrote the lyrics and performs while his friends Gianco and Alberto Nicorelli wrote the music. The music was lighter than much of the bombastic heavy prog happening around it but no less fascinating. Like lost soft-prog gems by Italian artists like Mario Panseri, Stefano Testa, and Enzo Capuano, the album features its own mix of rock, pop, folk, orchestral grandeur, acoustic music, and the Italian song tradition. Side one is the most impressive with a 17 minute side-long suite that convinced me I had to help people discover this album.

Side one's long track, "Meccanica di un' Emozione Nuova," begins with Gian vocalizing a rather childlike, innocent melody on his own, slowly bringing in piano, acoustic guitar, and finally the strings. The album is beautifully scored with the orchestration of Nik Albert. Finally the bass and drums enter and it rocks a bit before returning to the childlike opening sequence. The next sections feature the band with some electric leads, a looser light funk part with hand percussions, and quiet introspective sections. Lovely keyboard and flute embellishments come and go adding much to Gian's intimate vocals. As the track unfolds it ranges from these great string-backed melodies to punchier piano/drums moments that sound a bit like an energetic Cat Stevens track. Towards the end there are some acoustic runs and vocals sections with a bit of a Spanish music vibe to them.

Side two consists of shorter individual tracks but they are still tied to the overall thematic piece, so it plays like one long extended work. Lovely, singer-songwriter style Italian with lots of piano and acoustic guitar. This is one of the few albums where I'm bummed I can't understand the lyrics because I'd really like to hear Pieretti's pen here. The highlight of side two is "Troppo Grande La Fatica" which begins with acoustic finger-picking and sober, lonely vocals. Quite Battisti-like. Soon bongos and drums roll in for a short funky section. There is a great vocal technique where Gian doubles his singing with a young boy, quite effective. The final track sees a return to melodies from side one giving the work that uniform conceptual feel.

The album fetches big bucks on vinyl and there is a hard-to-find CD issue out there, but this release really needs a high quality mini-LP sleeve reissue with good liner notes and better sound. It was amazing to me that with all of the renewed interest in recent years for RPI, somehow Gian Pieretti has been left out of the discussion of most writers and websites dedicated to the subject. That needs to change, and thus we encourage RPI fans to hunt down the 1973 album and listen to the 17-minute suite from side one. It won't be easy to find to find but should be rewarding to fans of the classic period of early 1970s RPI. Provided you enjoy the softer-prog, if you're primarily a "hard and heavy" fan you can probably skip the nightmare of trying to find this gem. Personally, I really love this one, even if it is not "typical progressive rock."

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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