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Napoli Centrale - Napoli Centrale CD (album) cover


Napoli Centrale


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.70 | 60 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars During the first half of the 70s, the musical scene in Naples has taken a very interesting path: the fusion between jazz, rock and traditional music has been a trademark of many bands, but Napoli Centrale is the peak of that movement. James Senese is son of an American soldier. It was very common at the end of WWII. But most of all is an excellent saxophonist, vocalist and composer. Mark Harris is also known in Italy as sessionman and for having toured with Giorgio Gaber in his theathrical performances.

Usually there is a clash between Naples and Milan, but I personally hear a strong connection between Napoli Centrale and AREA, both familiar with jazz, both with left-winged political themes in their lyrics. The main difference is that Area are more "intellectual and experimental" while Napoli Centrale hits your stomach before your brain. Even if the music is complex they are more "immediate", their writing style is closer to the people. The use of neapolitan dialect witnesses the popular roots of the founders, Senese and Del Prete.

This debut album is known mainly for the opener "Campagna (Countryside)" which actually had a good number of radio passages and obtained a discrete commercial succes despite the genre not very easy and the language that even I struggle to understand even living only about 200kms far from Naples. The album is dark, about the struggles of the poor people to work, to survive the economical issues in a city that's a symbol of the decadence that the South of Italy has suffered after having been conquered by the North. The most emblematic track is "Vecchie, Mugliere, Muorte E Criature (Old women, Brides, Deads and Children)", where Senese leads with a repetitive sax part over the rhythmic section and is backed by the Rhodes of Mark Harris. It's so dark and repetitive that it's not too distant from ZEUHL (I can't understand Kobaian, too).

Another similarity that can be heard is with SOFT MACHINE even if Neaples doesn't share anything with Canterbury. A great debut album for a band that while I'm writing (summer 2022) is officially still active.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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