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JUMBO

Jumbo

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars There is something magical in the work of Alvaro Fella (JUMBO) who managed to challenge many of the musical conventions of its day. This first release from JUMBO delivers a heavy folk prog which seems to fit the rough and raw vocal chords of Fella. JUMBO play complex progressive rock which seems to move in and out of many different mood swings and themes throughout. JUMBO's 1st album is less detailed than their classic 3rd release (which I have also reviewed earlier), but has a basic deep sound which I have always respected and loved. The fine folks at Philips have done a great job in restoring and rejuvenating this classic Italian prog gem to CD which offers quite amazingly great sound.
Report this review (#25400)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Formed in Milan in 69 and releasing two single before this debut album on the Phillips in early 72, this sextet (named after their singer's nickname) is probably one of Italy's best kept prog secret, even if you would not believe by the present. Graced with a superb multi- layered cardboard winking artwork (which is very hard to find in good shape as it did not age well), this album will be probably a little deceptive if you actually know what is to come later, even if the recording quality is excellent.

Indeed, the album presents a mainly acoustic sound somewhere between folk, blues-based rock, which resembles nothing of their later works. But it does not mean that this is bad album, far from it: well produced, with a distinctive voice (reputedly difficult, but not really more than the average Italian "prog" singers of the era), a good rhythm section, rather competent guitar works, the frequent flute or odd harmonica lines, some brass section arrangements and a few prog twist thrown in for good deeds.

The lead track can make you think of a killer Yarbirds tune, but the succession of RnB tracks is not really that captivating, as most sons are built around Fella's acoustic guitar playing. Among the better tracks are the opener, the Che Senso Ha (with its great organ and flute), Dio E (which will be reworked for their second album) and Amore Sono Qua (great piano track and their progiest track). The only weak track being the almost-punkish Artista, on the whole this is surprising album from Italy , but which Jumbo album was not?

As mentioned above, this album is not really representative of Jumbo's works (it could even be seen as a Alvaro Fella album with an accompanying group if you did not know better), so it cannot be considered as essential (I'd even say that it could be for fans only, but that is almost too severe) but should you choose to invest in this one, you might want to make the effort to find a mini-Lp copy because of its

Report this review (#120706)
Posted Friday, May 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This album holds several fully heavy blues oriented songs and apart the fact that the language used for the vocals is Italian, this album doesn't share a lot to the genre I love quite a lot (ISP). It is true that in the meantime, a new category has been inaugurated and hold anything with an Italian name.

I don't like this album very much. It features little songs of interest ("Dio E" maybe). Vocals are quite difficult to bear: mostly screams instead of true sung passages (at least during the first side of the vinyl album). Some Tull influences are definite, yes, it is true. But not as many as would have liked.

The second part of this record is better though. After the good "Dio E", the pleasant "Amore Sono Qua" brings some Italian emotion I was quite missing so far. The third good track in a row is being achieved with a more delicate, folkish "La Strada?".At least during the first part of the song, since the closing module reverts us back into a heavy-bluesy affair.

The delicate but short "Ho Visto Piangere" closes this average album on a fine note. Still, I can't go above two stars to rate this album (five out of ten probably).

Report this review (#247610)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
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.

Report this review (#1931295)
Posted Sunday, May 13, 2018 | Review Permalink

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