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Maxophone Maxophone album cover
4.27 | 570 ratings | 45 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. C'Ŕ Un Paese Al Mondo (6:39)
2. Fase (7:04)
3. Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla (5:52)
4. Elzeviro (6:47)
5. Mercanti Di Pazzie (5:21)
6. Antiche Conclusioni Negre (8:54)

Total time 40:37

Bonus tracks on 1998 & 2008 CD reissues:
7. Il Fischio Del Vapore (1977 Single) (4:52)
8. Cono Di Gelato (Single B-side) (4:40)

Total Time: 50:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Alberto Ravasini / lead and backing vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, recorder
- Roberto Giuliani / electric guitars, piano, backing vocals
- Sergio Lattuada / piano, electric piano, organ, lead and backing vocals
- Maurizio Bianchini / horn, trumpet, percussion, vibraphone.
- Leonardo Schiavone / clarinet, flute, alto & tenor saxes
- Sandro Lorenzetti / drums

- Tiziana Botticini / harp
- Eleonora de Rossi / violin
- Susannna Pedrazzini / violin
- Giovanna Correnti / cello
- Paolo Rizzi / double bass

Releases information

Artwork: Wanda Monti with Cesare Monti (photo)

LP Produttori Associati ‎- PA-LP 57 (1975, Italy)

CD Crime ‎- K32Y 2178 (1988, Japan)
CD Mellow Records ‎- MMP 308 (1998, Italy) With 2 bonus tracks
CD AMS ‎- AMS 138CD (2008, Italy) Remastered with 2 bonus tracks (same as on 1998 CD)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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Buy MAXOPHONE Maxophone Music

MAXOPHONE Maxophone ratings distribution

(570 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (15%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MAXOPHONE Maxophone reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's not so easy to write and perform a prog masterpiece, but there has been a bunch of those in the 70s Italian scene... and Maxophone's eponymous only album is certainly one of them. I like to describe them as the missing link between Quella Vecchia Locanda and Locanda delle Fate, since they combine the colourful exquisiteness of the former's second album the ellegant lyricism of the latter. Maxophone's repertoire is based upon a clever equilibrium of various confluent sources: symphonic, mediterranean folk, ragtime, baroque, romanticism, hard rock, an equilibrium well reflected in the overwhelming beauty and daring complexity of the six compositions that fill the original album. The individuals' musicianship reaches outstanding levels of immaculate skill, but you can tell that the ensemble likes to shine as a whole most of the time: nevertheless, there's always room for killer clarinet/sax/flute solos, beautiful piano chords that come to the fore, sensible guitar leads, brass textures, and even some ethereal, almost dreamy vibraphone stuff. Don't get too used to a melodic line or a rhythm pattern, since a change won't take too long to appear: yet it won't come abruptly, but with delicate fluency - you won't feel it happening, you'll just notice when it's already happened... that's what I call absolute mastery on arranging. The opening track 'C'e un Paese al Mondo' serves as a perfect intro into the amazing musical world of Maxophone, continuing with the slightly harder 'Fase'. Both tracks coincide in portraying the band's multifaceted style, with the former leaning closer to the evocative side of things and the latter following a more explicitly intense trend. None of them gets dull or overbearing... ever! Tracks 4 and 6 are the most outstanding samples of the complexity mentioned above, with the band working speciallly hard on more enriched textures and more noticeable contrasts, yet focusing the whole variety into an integral amalgam. The closing chorale for track 6 is emotional and ethereal at the same time. Track 3 lays a fusion of baroque and big band (the opening section is indelibly memorable), in a compact cohesion of successive beautiful motifs that will surely captivate each and every listener; meanwhile, track 5 explores the realms of pure melancholy. The bonus tracks come from both sides of a single: 'Il Fischio del Vapore' is a folkish sound with a nice merry-go-round spirit, while 'Cono di Gelato' is a ballad with a soft bluesy twist - though not as impressive as the official songs, I find them attractive, too, coherent with the preceding repertoire in spite of their less compelx nature. From one of many Italian one-shot bands... here is one of those records that you can't praise enough.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Well, my knowledge of Italian prog was only limited to PFM. When my friend, Gandhi, introduced me with MAXOPHONE, the name itself did not ring any bell to me. The CD package in a cardboard design is excellent and it triggered me to open the case and played the CD. Wow! What a wonderful music, I think, when I listened to it the first time. I'm fortunate as I have the Italian lyric. I like native language lyrics even though I don't understand the meaning. Never mind, progressive music is universal! The music is a blend of 70s prog rock and jazz.

"C'e'un Paese Al Mondo" is oponed by a classical piano touch followed by uplifting music when all instruments come into play. It sounds like early GENESIS music. This track has a touchy melody when the vocal takes place followed by a jazz fusion composition when flute takes the lead.

"Fase" is an instrumental piece that has strong and powerful melodies. The guitar led intro followed by tenor saxes, dazzling bass guitar, flute (?) and vibraphone are really wonderful! The vibraphone solo with thin keyboard sound at the back is excellent arrangement! These guys are really creative. The music is complex yet enjoyable.

"Al Mancato Comleanno Di Unafarfalla" intro reminds me to the intro of PFM's "River of Life". The acapella piece that goes after intro is cool. It's not a pure acapella as it has flute sound at background. Oh my God .. this track has a very touchy melody sung in Italian lyrics! This is the strong point of this track. The lead guitar and organ composition during the track is stunning. I admire this band.

"Mercanti Di Pazzie" is relatively slow track with beautiful organ melody at background. "Elzeviro" is another interesting track opened with great voice.

"Cono Di Gelato" has more jazz touch than rock. It has great orchestration, brass section and very nice guitar fills. This is a wonderful slow track.

In "Antiche Conclusioni Nerge" there is a great solo sax at the interlude combined with lead guitar and it ends up with a church organ sound. Wonderful piece! The way singer sings is also excellent.

I know for most people that this band is not well known. Or, probably, it only me that who don't know this great band? One thing for sure, this album is a masterpiece. It has a strong structure in its music composition, great musicianship and I think beautiful blend of multi instruments used in its music. So sad that this band has only produced one album in two lyric version (Italian and English). I recommend you to have the Italian, even though I never heard the English version itself. I think Italian language is suitable for progressive music as it sounds wonderfully with the music.

Another thing I want to comment about the band: all music instruments were used in balanced proportion; no single instrument dominates the "lead" melody. Lucky that I don't know the band, so I'm not aware who is the leader (that usually demonstrates its instrument more than the other members). But all of them contribute excellently. This band should reunite and create another great music! - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Muzikman
4 stars The best description for MAXOPHONE I could give is that they sound like an Italian Peter GABRIEL meets a classical jazz influenced progressive rock group. That sounds different now doesn't it? Well, it is very unique and refreshingly different. This self-titled LP was originally recorded in 1975 and has been reissued by the esteemed Akarma Records label in a perfected 180-gram vinyl format, complete with picturesque gatefold sleeves and black and white pictures of the group at work in the studio.

With a rich blend of every instrument imaginable in the spectrum of jazz and classical music, this group provided a progressive all encompassing musical cornucopia with dreamy Italian vocalizations. Don't worry if you cannot translate the foreign tongue, you will understand it. I wasn't at all deterred from enjoying this because of the language barrier. The music was simply wonderful. To think that this was recorded back in1975 is amazing. This group comes from a long line of progressive Italian groups that have built a stronghold that has never crumbled, and the genre has continued on strongly to present day.

It's important to know and acknowledge all the contributors that have made a difference in their chosen styles and countries. MAXOPHONE made one classic and unforgettable album twenty seven years ago. This album offers orchestral progressive rock at its best.

Review by NJprogfan
5 stars Add Maxophone to your list of must-have Italian prog albums to buy. Except for a stumble or two, its one of the best around and is just a tad under masterpiece status. The album starts out with wonderful piano, then cranks out some killer guitar. It has a definate ELP vibe about it, with excellent vocals by Alberto Ravasini and some pretty horn work for coloring. An awesome opening. Track two is cut from a bluesy prog cloth, then slides into a carnival style keyboard interlude, then into some sax work. ELP keyboards vie with the horns all about the instrumental. A very good prog number. Then comes my two favorite songs: 'Al Mancato Compleano Di Un Farfalla' and 'Elzeviro'. The first has a beautiful acoustic guitar intro leading to some tasty flutes ala PFM, especially with the harmonal singing. You'd swear it was PFM, like a lost song. Absolutely wonderful! The next track starts ominously, with Alberto's throaty singing over a cathedral organ playing in the background, then whammo! some early King Crimson prog blasts of hornwork and guitar circa 'Lizard', 'Island'. Phenomenal! One of the best Italian prog tracks ever! Must be heard. The next track goes back to the PFM style, with great singing. 'Antiche Conclusioni Negre' is very horn dominated, like Chicago, but in no way is it a copycat. Very bouncy track. The last two tracks seem like singles, with 'Il Fischio Del Vapore' being the better of the two. It's actually a beautiful track with nice guitars. Put it all together and you have an album that rivals the best Itailian symphonic prog. Other than the last track which I'm not fond of, it's practically perfect in ever way! 4.5 stars with no reservations!!
Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "and the butterfly goes on, shining within freedom."

Yeah! Another shining star from the HUGE Italian 1970s progrock scenario! I assure you that the high ratings I usually give to the Italian albums are due to the own merits of these great pieces of art! Maxophone were one of those mythic "one-shot- bands", formed in 1973 as a six-piece with an unusual assortment of instruments, due to their past experience as music students. When the band started rehearsing it became apparent that they were influenced by many genres: a captivating mix between symphonic-rock, classical music, swing, jazz, traditional Italian (regional) music with harp, French horn, classic guitars, saxophone, flute, piano, keyboards, organ, clarinet, trumpet, horn, vibraphone, string quartet, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and percussions: a very good menu for every good genuine progrock lover!

C'Ŕ un Paese al Mondo (there's a country in the world): nice and soft piano opening shifting into a short rock prelude of electric guitar, bass and drums fading then into another soft and warm tempo that prepares the listener to the good vocals of Alberto Ravasini. Clarinet storms into at the middle of the track, then trumpet and horns.then again electric guitar and a chorus singing! Each track of the Maxophone album follows the complexity of the opener track.

Fase (instrumental), in particular, which opens with a more harder vein than the previous one. Good jazzy saxophone mixed to a prog symphonic mood.then "burst" a wonderful, delicate and precise vibraphone before the return of the good electric guitar riff! Then horns again, flute and seems to be at an exciting match with your favourite team!

Al Mancato Completamento di una Farfalla (At the Missed Completement of a Butterfly)is another favourite of mine from Maxophone all the album is a must have). A JT-looking like flute intro fading to soft vocals. Then, the second part of the track starts with a strong keyboard sound with more symphonic style and great personality!

Mercanti di Pazzie (Merchants of Madnesses) is marvellous.imagine a soft harp sound.some "crazy" lyrics (somehow non-sense experiment). Then the flute appears behind reminds me of Jethro Tull's animals-cycle (Chateau d'Isaster Tapes). Then the harp again.some soft synths-noises, ambient sound fading out.

Elzeviro.what I could say more about this other excellent track? "They've beated me, six to one.", that's the lyrics opening.then swing mixed to other symphonic vein and chorus singing.electric guitar, "piano-carpet".the song speaks by itself, just listen to it! No one can be really disappointed!

The closer of the album is Antiche Conclusioni Negre (Ancient Negroes Conclusions). ".I do have poetry inside of owner saw me there at the market.she saw me naked, she pointed man moves without fears.". Good and deep lyrics, excellent the arrangements too!

The Akarma-label remastered cd makes the gift of two bonus tracks: Il Fischio del Vapore (Boat's Wistle) and Cono di Gelato (Ice Cream's Cone), two singles released in 1977, just before band splitting, because of the failure of their label.this is the official reason. why they didn't reach the success they'd deserve? The question remains without answer.

My evaluation.absolutely natural!

Review by andrea
5 stars Maxophone was formed in 1972 by six excellent young musicians who were able to blend rock with jazz and classical influences in a very personal way... Their music was well performed and rich in ideas but they were only able to release one eponymous album before they split up on account of the financial troubles of their label. The lyrics of the album were not written by the members of the band but by some "friend-lyricists" who helped them to describe in words what they were trying to describe with notes and the overall result was definitely good...

The opener "C'Ŕ un paese al mondo" (There's a country in the world) is introduced by a piano pattern and features many changes of rhythm... Good vocals and evocative lyrics draw images of a fantastic country that "grows in the mind upon equality roots", "without thieves of truth", where "freedom dances"... The music keeps on swinging from classical to rock to jazz almost giving a sense of harmonic utopia...

"Fase" is an excellent instrumental track where the members of the band showcase their great musicianship performing a well balanced blending of jazz, rock and classical influences...

"Al mancato compleanno di una farfalla" (To the missed birthday of a butterfly) features a good classical guitar intro that leads to a bittersweet and romantic atmosphere... The song is about the quest for ideals... In the lyrics dreams and the struggle for a better world are compared to the flight of a butterfly: "The butterfly goes / It shines of freedom / It swings and goes further / Next year what will remain of its colours? / Other butterflies will take its colours and will be flying in its place... If my strength to go further will fail at length / Take my colours and keep on going / By yourself, without me!".

Organ and soaring desperate vocals drawing the image of an attack in the street for political reasons introduce "Elzeviro", a song that evokes the "leaden atmosphere" of political confrontation in Italy during the Seventies and its "long hours" full of blind hatred... "They've fixed me / Six against one / Convulsions of a power / That is crumbling by now...". Good track where the music gives a sense of tension and impending drama...

The intro of the oneiric "Mercanti di pazzie" (Merchants of follies) is taken from Paul Hindemith's Harp Sonata. The music is evocative and leads you into an "artificial" dreamy mood but, in my opinion, here the lyrics are not as inspired as in the other tracks...

The long final track "Antiche conclusioni negre" is a kind of tribute to black music (jazz and gospel) and features "a trumpet screaming new truths" and an Italian "gospel finale". An excellent track concluding an excellent album...

The re-release on CD features two bonus tracks, the interesting "Il fischio del vapore" and the weak "Cono di gelato"...

On the whole, "Maxophone" is a great album, released by a band that deserved more luck... Anyway, although the album didn't obtain the success it deserved in 1975, as years passed by it has become a "cult one" for progressive fans and I think it's a must for every prog collector...

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Safe Italian prog choice for people not sure they if they like Italian prog.

Every so often someone is blown away by Locanda Delle Fate, and asks what else they can get like Locanda. Well Maxophone (from Milano Italy) doesn't sound exactly like Locanda but they are a good choice for people who want safe, pleasant Italian prog that isn't *too* Italian, meaning sans the more gregarious side that some of us hard-core Italian hounds look for. It's pretty hard not to like Maxophone as they do everything well, good playing, nice songs, smooth vocals. But they don't take the risks that some of their peers do. It's hard for me to explain but while this album is most certainly good it just somehow lacks the distinct flavor and character I look for in my Italian albums. I think maybe they have more outside influences than some of the more regional Italian bands. For many this probably makes them better but for me not. In researching the band I found three sentences from another reviewer that perfectly summarizes my view of Maxophone:

"While Maxophone have constructed a very well balanced album, one thing they fail to do is absolutely dazzle me in the way that the best Italian bands can. There are no flat spots but the best moments are interesting as opposed to astounding. Maxophone never quite soar as high as they promise to at times." [those last 3 sentences credited to Conrad Leviston and thanks for saying it better than I.]

You will find everything you seek from the classic period here: piano, flute, sax, organ, vibe, clarinet, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, and good vocals. You will also find a wide range of styles and a band capable of turning from rock to jazzy to classical segments quickly and effortlessly. I think this band was likely influenced from Yes, Genesis, and PFM primarily. This was their one and only album and it is considered by many to be one of the greatest Italian prog albums. I'm at about 3.25 stars for Maxophone. The mini-lp sleeve reissue is nice because of the great cover art.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If i had to do a Top 5 of my favorite Italian albums, this one would have a place there!

With such a prolific country, it is very difficult to me to choose my favorite albums, because i have a lot sometimes i could change my mind and say that i prefer this album to that one i dont know, but i believe with Maxophone is different, because i really fell in love with it since the very first listen, you probably know that my favorite album from Italy is YS by Il Balleto which i really have in another level (something personal) but the fact is that the Maxophone`s album provoked and still provokes the same feeling that i had with Ys, is just something that only you know and cannot explain, the album and the music and i did an instant "clic", hope you understand what i mean.

Sadly, Maxophone was just another "one-shot" bands that came from Italy in the 70`s, it would had been great to see them releasing another album, in order to see if they were capable to improve this masterpiece or no, that didn`t happen, but with this wonderful album i have enough.

Maxophone`s self titled album was released in 1975 and contains 8 songs, all of them made by a group of 6 magnific musicians with different ideas that later gathered together in order to create this gem of progressive rock, yes, Rock Progressivo Italiano.

"C`E a un Paese al Mondo" is the first song of the album, since the opening you will know that this is something special, despite being an opening with piano, and you may say that you have heard lots of songs with that kind of openings, the best is what continues to it, a very complex song with several changes within it, magnific musical arrangements that includes a great clarinet sound, excellent keyboards, guitars, bass and everything, the vocals are in Italian (i say this because they released the same album but with English lyrics) so if you like Italian language you will be caught in this carrousel of music, ther is no better track to open this album than this.

"Fase" has a change in the melody and the style, it reminds me a bit of Jethro Tull due to the guitars and bluesy style in the beginning, then the song turns into to a jazz oriented piece, having as well a symphonic sound on it, let me tell you that this is an instrumental song where we can appreciate the excellent musicians involved in this band, saxophone and flute are also featured here, brilliant!

"Al Mancato Completamento di una Farfalla" is the third song, this time it starts softer with a classic guitar, but thenthe flute gives it a feeling that may remind you again to Jethro Tull but in their soft side, then the vocals appear and give to it that Italian sound, then the songs changes to a faster tempo led by keyboards.

"Elzeviro" is the fourth masterpiece inside a masterpiece, again it starts a bit soft but then changes to a faster tempo, the musicianship again is excellent there are some guitar riffs that will remind you to the best guitarists from your book, this is probably one of the best songs of this album.

"Mercanti di Pazzie" has a mood of peace which is noticeable since the beginning due to the harp and then the vocals, it is a beautiful melody at the middle of the album that will lead us to the best moments.

"Antiche Conclusioni Nerge" starts with a bombastic sound, provoking a kind of happy mood, of course it changes later, some calmed moments, some heavier moments with magnific keyboards and bass this is a magnific piece, which actually would be the last one of the album if it didn`t have the extra tracks, the saxophone at the middle of this song is also excellent. So the review of the original Maxophone album would end here, of course giving to this gem 5 stars.

But i will also talk about the extra tracks which are "Il Fischio del Vapore" and "Cono di Gelato" , the first one is a nice melody with a folkish style, flutes and soft vocals, the song itself is great but i can see that this was not in the original release, there is a difference noticeable, the second extra track is another nice melody with flute and acoustic guitar, then the piano appears nad gives to it a relaxing atmosphere.

Sometimes is not easy to review your favorite albums, but when you have the courage to do it you feel very pleased, Maxophone deserves more attention, it is a must have for Italian prog fans, and even for general prog rock lovers, please listen to it, and enjoy it.

Of course the final grade is 5 stars, masterpiece!!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another one shot wonder from the glory days of Italian progressive back in 1975, Maxophone had released an English language version as well but not faring as well as their pals PFM whose Photos of Ghosts went around the world, together with follow up "The World became the World". The original language album is a prog monument without being an overt masterpiece inculcating clarinet, flute, saxes, French horn, trumpet, various strings, harp and vibes to the usual gt/k/b/dr lineup. While symphonics dictate the overall feel, there are massive doses of jazz, experimental and blues, with evident hints at early King Crimson's use of the wind instruments as if Mel Collins was a major inspiration. The guitar plays a strong role, fuzzy yet intricate as on the instrumental "Fase" which incorporates even some Canterbury fare into the mix. As usual with Italian prog groups, the fat bass and slick drumming are irreproachable, while the keyboards limit synthesizer use, preferring e-piano, grand piano and some oft rousing organ. The group choir work is astounding, most evident on the supremely romantic "Al Mancato.", flush with assorted medievalisms that wink at "Gentile" Giant, throwing in some exquisite organ to boot. "Elzeviro" is somewhat darker, more political fare with some musical twists and sudden turns that remind of the Shulmans again, proposing a ragingly tortuous guitar solo and some sultry vocal passages. A delicate horn outro takes this to the bank. Another contrast, the gorgeous "Mercanti di Pazzie" is a vocal exercise with an immense melody where fragility rules, vibraphones and flutes play together as if to "Promenade the Puzzle", a cascading piece that is eerily expressive. The finale "Antiche Conclusioni Negre" is a brass-led piece where bombastic themes are countered by more lush vocalizations. Big fat sax solo keeps this firmly in line with some of the better Italo-prog releases, with an exquisite "gospel" ending that leaves a positive feeling. Of the 2 bonus tracks, the first one is rather pleasing and the second is an ice cream cone filler. Not in the top tier of their countries representatives (PFM/Banco/Goblin/Il Volo/Le Orme etc.) but most definitely worthy of being awarded room in a prog collection. 4 maxed phones.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. The bands I see MAXAPHONE compared to the most are PFM and LOCANDA DELLE FATE. GENESIS is mentioned a lot too, mostly I think because one of the two vocalists does sound like Peter Gabriel. I'm amazed at the way these guys change gears so fast during a song, and the different styles of music they play too. I do feel that the album loses steam towards the end. In fact the last two tracks really do little for me. The first six songs though are very impressive, and for those alone this is a 4 star record in my opinion.

"C'e Un Paese Al Mondo" opens with piano before guitar and a full sound arrives before a minute.This sounds incredible ! Especially the guitar. It changes to a GENESIS flavour as it calms down, then those Gabriel-like vocals come in with piano. Another change 3 1/2 minutes in as bass and flute lead the way.The organ and guitar a minute later sound fantastic but it's brief. Vocals are back 5 1/2 minutes in. Great sound. "Fase" opens with a nice guitar/drum intro. It changes after a minute but it still sounds really good. Sax then comes in. Guitar is back. Nice bass lines. Vibraphone 3 minutes in. Guitar is back after 4 minutes. Nice. Flute 6 minutes in. This song is constantly changing. "Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla" opens with acoustic guitar, flute joins in and then vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. Beautiful sound. Horns are added. Some dirty organ before 4 minutes as vocals and sound gets fuller. Fantastic section !

"Elzeviro" opens with vocals and organ. The tempo picks up when the vocals stop after 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound.Vocals are back before 3 minutes. Guitar after 3 1/2 minutes. Vocals and organ are powerful after 5 1/2 minutes. "Mercanti Di Pazzie" opens with some harp. Light vocals join in. A change before 2 minutes as flute, vibraphone then a good beat takes over with vocals. Original melody is back. A relaxed section ends it. "Antiche Conclusioni Negre" is uptempo to open as horns and drums lead the way. Piano then organ make their presence felt. A calm before 2 minutes as vocals and piano take over. I like the sax / organ section before 5 minutes. Organ 7 minutes in with vocals ends it. "Il Fiscio Del Vapore" is a fairly mellow song. It fuller sounding 3 1/2 minutes in. "Cono Di Gelato" opens with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. It's slower paced and I just can't get into it. Guitar ends it.

For me the last two songs reduces this to barely 4 stars, but it's easy enough to listen to the first six songs only. P.S. I just got a message from Tom Ozric who informed me that the last two songs are actually bonus tracks. So this is definitely a solid 4 to 4.5 album, but no Tom i'm not giving it a 5 as you suggested. Haha.

Review by Gooner
3 stars A heavy saxophone presence somewhere in between Mel Collins and Elton times _The Jaxon_(of Van Der Graaf Generator). Still a _second string_ band in the Italian Progressive Rock genre, but one of the better examples of one-shot bands. The vocalist seems to gel with the arrangements making him part of the composition rather than an afterthought. I haven't heard the English version, but apparently Peter Hammill translated the lyrics. One might also hear a Van Der Graaf Generator influence in Maxophone's music, but not overtly so. The guitarist reminds me a little of Gary Green from Gentle Giant when it comes to soloing. Sort of a blues/rock prog. delivery. Instrumental sections are very reminiscent of early period King Crimson, most notably the jazzy sections a la Lizard or In The Wake Of Poseidon. Maybe a little of Manfred Mann's Chapter Three to boot! Recommended, but nothing essential.
Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
5 stars This is masterpiece. Whatever anyone says, I should conclude this be masterpiece. :)

I consider the product should be a mass of Italian progressive rock. The first time I heard it, I'm very amazed that Maxophone could do many varieties of play. Their sound is sometimes lyrical, sometimes powerful, sometimes loud, and sometimes delicate. What I can say is they have Italian sentimentalism of music or rock. With listening to each song we can feel their identity enough. I have heard the 4th track in English version (Six against one?) and this version could sound good rather than strange. I suppose they could sing dramatically in English too and their English lyrics were absorbed in the story of album well. At any rate, I'm sure I can recommend this work for beginners of Italian progressive rock. If you wanna feel and understand the Italian-prog world easily and smoothly...

I can't say anything more. Listen to it, please.

Review by Dobermensch
4 stars It's such a shame that 'Maxophone' only released one album. They're one of the best Italian prog bands I've heard. I listened to this while cycling to work in the sunshine last week and have come to the conclusion that it's pretty damn good. It's well recorded and there are some truly beautiful moments on it. The vocals are kept to a minimum and there's plenty of variety of sounds from track to track. A brilliant little album from one of the lesser well known Italian acts on this website.

Oh, and for people like me who thought that Maurizio Bianchini who plays trumpets, horns and vibraphones on this recording was the same guy from the 80's noise band M.B and one time friend of Whitehouse - you're wrong. It's not the same bloke.

Review by Kazuhiro
5 stars The flow of Prog Rock of Italy that multiplied at the time of 1973 from especially 1972 and had carried everything before one the market was exactly a state at the season. The band with high various qualities was contributing about the market and the chart. And, it is also true that various bands accomplished a good revolution to correspond to the situation. However, there might have been what dissolution and the activity are stopped through necessity in the situation in which the band accomplished the revolution and evolution for a fact, too. It is also true to have contained the element concerning the situation besides groping for the problem, the opinion, and the directionality that various bands had of course.

It was likely to have begun to rush into at time when the state of saturation concerning the market was faced with the activity of various bands in the latter half of the 70's. Various situations might have come in succession musical and generally at the time of 1975 of which Maxophone debuted. Generally, situation in which business deteriorates. Or, it is a tendency to the reduction concerning the production of LP at time when the situation politically becomes unstable. And, it is partial to the market in the main current of Single Cut. And, it aims at music to consider the sphere in English. The market might also have faced the time of the revolution as well as music on the boundary of 1975. It is said that the work of promotion by label by which the expectation and the band to the music character that this Maxophone did in the situation belonged was done well.

Maxophone announced "Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla/C'e Un Paese Al Mondo" of the single at the same time as announcing this album in 1975. Produttori Associati that derived from Ricordi gave the chance of large-scale promotion for Maxophone. The flow that progressed their music from the part concerning the market of the home country worldwide might have been done as well as the activity of various bands. The fact from which the album with the content of lyrics in English in Germany and the United States, etc. was produced will have been exactly appearance of the expectation for Maxophone.

There might basically be a flow of symphonic as a music character that Maxophone did. It is indeed ..Music including diversity.. finished in this done performance on four guests Player in addition to. six members howeverThe sound is enhanced with the wind instrument as a point that should make a special mention. And, the establishment of the sound by Horn might be valuable. And, familiar work about Banco and Odissea Sandro Colombini has been appointed as Producer of this album. It is said that the album of Maxophone contributed to sales for the market of Prog Rock of Italy to some degree though it is time with the revolution in the market and the age. And, the point that should make a special mention will include the point related also to work besides the activity of Maxophone as for the member of the band. The member of Maxophone contributed to "Gente Cosi" that Corrado Castellari had announced in 1975 by the performance. Or, Roberto Giuliani and Alberto Ravasini participated in "Volando" of I Dik Dik as work of the arrangement. In the flow of the situation and the change in the music in the 70's, the activity that Maxophone had done though it was a situation in which the flow of legitimate Prog Rock declined gradually in the age might have been exactly offering a good contribution and valuable music.

"C'e Un Paese Al Mondo" dashes from a beautiful piano melody attended with an intense guitar and the rhythm. The part of legitimate Prog Rock of Italy has been established because of the sound of Horn. Their originality is concealed here. A good song is developed attended with the obbligati of the wind instrument. And, their good originality is expressed as for the part that shifts from elements of a few Jazz to a grand melody. The melody and the chorus who has expression of feelings will indeed call impression.

"Fase" starts by Riff of an aggressive guitar. However, the sound and development with the expression of feelings included overall might be splendid. The line of the wind instrument and Bass pulls ensemble of the band. The part of Solo of Sax and the sound of the organ also decide the impression of the tune. It develops into a better flow though the tune returns from Solo of the vibraphone to the theme. The flow developed attended with the sound of Horn with expression of feelings and good Bass might be splendid. The impression with good sound of the flute is given.

As for "Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla", a beautiful arpeggio of an acoustic guitar and the theme of the flute are impressive. Part of chorus who made good use of falsetto. Progress of original Chord that is. A beautiful chorus and the flute contribute to the tune. And, the tune continues the quality and twines the dash feeling. The arrangement and the progress of Chord are complete.

A good song for the melody of a grand keyboard twines round "Elzeviro". The development of good Chord is expressed while repeating the rhythm of five and the rhythm of six. The organ continues the rhythm of five as it is and keeps the dash feeling. The progress of good Chord receives the top with the chorus attended with an intense part. Development and the decision to give width to the impression of the tune while introducing the melody with complete expression of feelings might be splendid.

As for "Mercanti Di Pazzie", the melody and the chorus of a beautiful harp are impressive. A high-quality melody and expression of feelings are continued. And, it arranges it of the intermittent development. Melody of gentle POP. Progressing an original tune that is might be their good parts. The flow with the anacatesthesia and a grand melody and the arrangement are splendid.

The theme of "Antiche Conclusioni Negre" with the wind instrument is impressive. The melody developed as the line of Bass and the part with the organ twining is complete. The part done attended with the rhythm of six shifts to a complete melody of Horn. Chorus and song. And, the progress of Chord with expression of feelings means the success in a good part and the arrangement of the music character of Maxophone. Arrangement to introduce sound with diversity and grand sound. The good element that the band of Prog Rock of Italy did is blocked enough and has been digested. The flow that reaches the peak from Solo of Sax completely is decided by the theme visited again. And, the hymn might surely have shown the listener the existence of Maxophone.

The music that this Maxophone did to the flow at time when the state of the revolution and saturation is gradually faced in the 70's might succeed as a band that exactly takes an element of various music and a legitimate part well. It is necessary to be acknowledged as a band that especially offers the music of fine quality in the music of Prog Rock of various Italy. One light is here.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars As a passionate fan of Italian prog, it is always a pleasure to listen to these fine vocal harmonies, good keys developments and some jazzy fantasy as well. These elements are all featured in the opening track "C' ╚ Un Paese Al Mondo".

Obscure, hard to reach, but pleasant overall. Italian symph as we can expect I guess? Genuine Italian music, I mean?

The complexity of several songs are with no doubt reminding me some of a KC affair. But "Maxophone" is not the first band to share similarities with this giant. I reckon that some tracks are too loose to sound great. Too many hesitations, too many repetitions: little enthusiasm globally. That's what I feel.

Passion and jazzy items are well performed and songs as "Mancato Compleanno?" or "Elzeviro" surely deserve your attention. But you should bear in mind that they are not that close of the origin of the great Italian genre we all love.

There is of course no question about the skills of the musicians (but this is only a standard I guess for professionals). Guitar harmonies, vocal skills, some fine "Trespass" feel are all more than welcome like during "Mercanti Di Pazzie".

I will be less generous in my rating than the majority of my fellow reviewers. The main reason being that this album shares too many jazz influences ("Antiche Conclusioni Negrethan") than true Italian symph prog ones.

This is a good album. Three stars.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've heard few RPI bands from this era. And I have to say that they are pleased me a lot, I felt (and am feeling when listening Maxophone too) like charmed, in enchanted forest of sweet symphony, this beautiful celebration of life and what is so interesting and wonderful about it, positive things, positive thinking, positive way of living, embracing the good and rejecting the bad.

There are of course differences between these bands, albums, mostly in vocals, their approach to the music they create, but more or less, they all are high class music. It must have been great to live in Italy back then (not sure how good it is today, so I do not predict).

It's unique experience, but I don't feel like I can write more, I would be just repeating myself.

4(+), if you want to be what this is about, go for it, I can just recommend it.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars Just another Italian prog band that showed hints of potential to eventually creative a progressive rock masterpiece but couldn't get past the first album. I can hear why some view this as a masterpiece, because there are a number of very good sequences, on par with the PFMs and Le Orme's of this world. On the other hand, this album can be wildly consistent between songs, and even within songs.

Take Elzeviro, for example. It's largely a pleasant but forgettable song. However, the brief instrumental break is fantastic, particularly when the guitar crashes in. Maxophone really show their potential in spots like this. Also, they have a unique sound when compared with other Italian prog bands because of jazz rock instrumentation and playing style. These aren't just backing instruments to add Chicago-style punch to the guitar solos and verse and chorus, but instead fill the album with some great solos (i.e., the sax solo on Antiche Conclusioni Negre) background sounds (i.e., the horn blatts throughout). Fun stuff!

My favorite is probably the instrumental Fase, which morphs between straight prog, jazz and even some funk rock. Mondo and Antiche are also highlights. Unfortunately for me, most of the songs are not consistent throughout, such as the vocal lines that conclude Antiche or the slow-downs in Mondo. These things could be tightened up, and I think they would have if Maxophone had put out later albums.

A solid album showing a band with plenty of potential in spots, but inconsistent and too often simply decent. I think it makes a nice contribution to fill out an Italian prog collection, but it wouldn't be in my top 10 of the genre.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Maxophone was one of the few Italian groups of the 1970s that managed to record an English version of their album, although the English-language recording wasn't a great success. This review is based on the original and more highly regarded Italian version. Half the members of this Milanese sextet were classically trained musicians and most, if not all, were multi- instrumentalists. As a result, there are some novel textures on the album thanks to the singular array of instruments that the band employs. Vibraphone features prominently and while that in itself isn't unusual for an RPI album, it is when used together with valve horn, clarinet and trumpet. Along with the more orthodox saxophone and flute, the wind instruments generally tend to be in the driving seat throughout the album.

With the exception of the two closing bonus songs, all the tracks feature fairly complex multi- part arrangements. There might not be any sprawling 20-minute epics (the longest track is under 9-minutes), but we do get a series of six concise mini-masterpieces. Lead singer Alberto Ravasini has been compared to Peter Gabriel... not something I'd noticed myself but I suppose there is a similarity. Musically the band plays a sophisticated mix of classical, jazz and progressive music, with a crisp and compact rhythm section that provides a firm rallying point for the front line instruments. Their main influences seem to be Gentle Giant, perhaps not as quirky but with similar medieval flourishes, and King Crimson, with the fast section of ''Antiche Conclusioni Nerge'' having something of the ''Great Deceiver'' about it.

This album should have broad appeal, not just to RPI enthusiasts but also to fans of the above mentioned prog heavyweights as well as Genesis and Van Der Graaf Generator. What it lacks in originality and RPI-ness, it more than makes up for in its dazzling brilliance.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Maxophone is a second-generation Italian prog band that made - in true RPI fashion - just one album before collapsing. They are often compared to Locanda Della Fate and PFM, two popular references that will attract most listeners but that made me a bit suspicious as I'm not much of a fan of either of those.

The RPI days of innovation are largely behind but I still find the band to be adventurous and organic enough to be of interest. The band incorporates their many influences quite effectively and brings a cohesive bland of rock, sympho, madrigals, jazz and even music-theater. As an example, I find it quite impressive how they manage to make a capricious song like Fase sound so fluent and natural. Easily my favorite here by the way.

The band employs different vocal styles, sometimes reminiscent of Le Orme, sometimes of Phil Collins doing the Gabriel classics, sometimes of PFM. Depending on the style they can be a bit mellow and schoolboy-ish and it will be no surprise that I only dig the parts sung by the more ... eh 'mature' vocalist. But judging from the popularity of PFM this won't be a problem for most listeners.

It's not easy to reach a conclusion. I can understand why so many people love this album - even to the extent of calling it a masterpiece - but I can enjoy it only partially: loving the playing quite a lot, the vocals a whole lot less, and the compositions somewhere in the middle.

Review by stefro
5 stars Another example of the musical richness that characterizes Italian progressive rock, this 1976 self-titled affair is a wonderfully-diverse collection featuring a uniquely original style moulded around the band's obvious love of Genesis, Yes and King Crimson. Though 'Maxophone' has been described in some quarters as a symphonic album, it is in actual fact extremely difficult to classify, such is the breadth of sounds and styles on offer, with a multitude of instruments contributing to an opulent sonic cornucopia that counts lush keyboard passages, electric guitar-shredding and all kinds of woodwind, percussion and brass effects amongst it's battery of tricks. Opening track 'Ce Un Paese Al Mondo' reflects this semi-theatrical approach perfectly, flitting between jocular, music-hall style neo-classical harmonies and dense, multi-layered symphonic prog with reckless abandon before settling down into a beautifully-orchestrated synth-and-keyboard finale that brings to mind the ethereal beauty of fellow Italian proggers PFM. Then, as if to hammer home their point, Maxophone leap head first into the electric, Led Zep-style jazz-scaled rock of the seven-minute long opus 'Fase', which showcases guitarist Roberto Giuliani's dextrous, quicksilver finger-picking. Both these songs illustrate just what an outstanding album 'Maxophone' is, which makes the fact that it would be their one and only studio album incredibly difficult to fathom. Whatever the reason, Maxophone have at least left behind this rewarding slice of Italian prog, which must surely rank alongside the likes of PFM's 'Per Un Amico' and Le Orme's 'Felona E Sorona' as one of the key progressive texts from mid- seventies Italy. Fans of the Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin and Genesis should revel in this classic album. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by colorofmoney91
5 stars Man, this is depressing. It always is whenever such a great band only manages to make one album. Maxophone's lonely self-titled debut album is RPI at its creative best. This whole disc seems to grab at influences from all around, but manages to keep its own original sound. I'm detecting hints of early Yes, some Hendrix, a dash of King Crimson, and a whole lot of Italian flair.

I'm not really sure how to start a review on such a good album, and it's been a while since I've reviewed such an eclectic album. I'll just dive in. "C'Ŕ Un Paese Al Mondo" starts with soothing piano that sounds almost in the vein of an A. Scriabin composition, but fuzzy and aggressive guitars kick in that automatically make me think of Locanda Delle Fate, followed by beautifully powerful vocals and an almost ragtimey passage, followed by an A. Copland type horn passage, ending with a passage that sounds like it could've been from Tales from Topographic Oceans. Such a mouthful, and an earful. I won't bother going into all the tracks, because they'll all be seemingly random collections of fragmented sentences. But one of the real standouts is the second track, "Fase", which I get a real Buenos-Aires-meets-Goblin kind of feel from.

Really, this whole album is super high quality RPI of a very eclectic variety. I've listened to quite a bit of the RPI bands on this site, and none of them have gripped me by the brain like this album has. There's so much going on here that anyone would be able to find something positive about it. The only reason anyone wouldn't like this album is if they have a biased grudge against anything amazing.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is an album of very melodic and beautiful music, at times quite complex, especially in the vocal arrangements and support from the orchestral instruments.

1. "C'Ŕ Un Paese Al Mondo" (6:39) opens with a dynamically diverse piano-based song that has what seems to be an entire orchestra making contributions and with Alberto Ravasini's pleasant, husky voice in the lead vocal position. I really like the inputs of the woodwinds and brass. It's not really until the 4:40 mark when this song really declares itself a 'rock' song with full rock band lineup and searing electric guitar lead. The choral vocal arrangements in the final minute are nice. (9/10)

2. "Fase" (7:04) opens with an almost hard rock sound as lead electric guitar, electric bass, and drum kit churn up some. Around 45 seconds in the keyboards finally enter--first clavinet, then electric piano and two different organs. Saxes and a wide variety of keyboard/organ sounds permeate the first half of the song--none lasting more than a few measures (it seems) until things slow down and get soft for a 40 second vibraphone solo. The music amps up into near-hard rock territory again (similar to KC's 21st Century Schizoid Man"--which always leaves me asking, "Was that hard rock or soft rock?") before solo horn and wind instruments again their two-cents to the maintenance of the lead melody. Guitars go acoustic in the beginning of the sixth minute as horn section and flute give me a kind of Canterbury/PICCIO DAL POZZO-NATIONAL HEALTH feel. Me like! (9/10)

3. "Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla" (5:52) opens with a classical guitar soloing for the first 45 seconds before flutes and, a little later, piano join in. Then at 1:20 everybody drops out to make room for a softly picked electric guitar and nice choral-presented vocal. It appears that the chorus is alternatively sang by lead vocalist with harmonizing background vocalists while the verses are sung collectively as a chorus. Interesting! Then, at 3:40, organ, electric bass and drums announce a harder, electrified section--over which Alberto's lead vocal gets quite aggressive. Great power here! I am so intrigued by the multiplicity and fluidity of keyboard choices through out this band's song play. At 5:35 things quite down for an soft little electric guitar outro. (10/10)

4. "Elzeviro" (6:47) opens with church organ and Alberto singing solo. It feels aggressive but unravels fairly evenly despite the increasingly menacing chord progressions used by the organ. At 1:35 the rest of the band begins their entrance--which breaks out in quite a nice, somewhat jazz-rock form. This could be BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS, ELP and GENESIS! Great section! At 3:30 lone piano hits signal the commencement of a piano-based instrumental section over which another searing guitar solo is blasted. Then at 4:05 things soften quite a bit with a beautiful choral vocal section. At 4:50 organ, horns and Alberto take center stage again. At 5:38 the rock band smootly re-enters but this time the RENAISSANCE-like jam beautifully incorporates the contributions of all kinds of orchestral instruments to the end. Awesome song! (9/10)

5. "Mercanti Di Pazzie" (5:21) opens with a harp solo! When Alberto's voice enters at the 0:40 mark it is soft and high pitched. He is joined by his amazing companions of voices off and on over the next minute until a kind of classical section with vibraphone and electric bass take over. Eventually, by the 2:11 mark, they establish a new foundation over which a more rock-sounding choral sings. But then, just before the three minute mark the music returns to the section we opened with. I adore these gorgeous melodies and harmonies! A very delicate picked electric guitar section ends the fifth minute before shifting into a hypnotic, aqueous section of instrumental beauty (like the end section of PETER GABRIEL's "Humdrum")--which then plays out to the end. My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

6. "Antiche Conclusioni Negre" (8:54) opens in full band-with-orchestra form (not unlike the album's opener) with a very jovial, uptempo melody before shifting into a more Broadway-like horn-led section. It has the feel of an overture--a review of themes. When it calms down around the 1:45 mark it feels like a PFM moment. Piano-based, alternating chorus and solo lead vocals, the song is pretty. The mid-section is back to more of the uptempo sections with sax and guitar soli. At 6:40 everything stops and a solo church organ rises to the fore before a low-register vocal choir sings what could be an anthemic or intentionally significant section to the song's close. Great song; kind of three in one. (9/10)

As always, I think these songs would mean much more to me if I knew Italian--especially in terms of how the music was created to match/support the lyrical messages. But, in terms of sound, composition, ability and performance, this deserves a place among the classics.

A a masterpiece of progressive rock music--Italian or otherwise.

Review by Warthur
4 stars One of the more original "one album wonder" bands from the RPI boom, Maxophone adeptly shift from dark King Crimson-ish realms to classical/operatic majesty to brief moments of pastoral beauty to ELP-esque keyboard showboating with an adeptness that is impressive to behold. Forget the two bonus tracks, which are from a rather more commercial and simplistic single the band released the year after putting this one out (I don't include such things in my ratings anyway), this album is a prog rock technical showcase from the opening notes of Paese Al Mondo to the majestic choral outro to Antiche Conclusioni Nerge. Those who are exploring the RPI scene should mark Maxophone out as a stop on their prog tour of Italy.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars They came, they played, they conquered, and then they scarpered.

Maxophone released one album that is a triumph of prog with some of the greatest musical virtuoso skill one is likely to hear. With such a great album you might have expected Maxophone to at least release something else or get back to recording years later in a reunion, I mean it worked for Anglagard and Comus. So this enigmatic stands like a lone beacon showing the rest of the try hards how it is done. The innovation and creativity throughout is astonishing. Opening with grand jazz explosions and a flurry of guitar prowess over layers of keyboards on 'C'Ŕ Un Paese Al Mondo' (There's a country in the world), the band stamp their authority as masters of their craft. The vocals of Alberto Ravasini are easy on the ears, and he is joined by swooping Clarinet and keyboards. The music goes beyond the norm as it is so intricately woven in the tapestry of very complex musical phrases and melodies.

The band are an incredible unit with some stunning musicians, consisting of Maurizio Bianchini on horn, trumpet, percussion, vibraphone, Roberto Giuliani on electric guitars, piano, Sergio Lattuada on keyboards, Sandro Lorenzetti on drums, Alberto Ravasini on lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, Leonardo Schiavone on clarinet, flute, alto & tenor saxophone, Tiziana Botticini on harp, Giovanna Correnti on cello, Paulo Rizzi on contrabass, Eleonora De Rossi on violin and Susanna Pedrazzini on violin. This album is their sole masterpiece but certainly proves that sometimes quality over quantity is the best thing. To follow up on an album like this would have been almost an impossible task, but we will never know as the band have long gone.

The Italian vocals are not a deterrent and of course there's an English version that does not detract from the brilliant musicianship which is the real drawcard. Listening to both versions of "Maxophone" is a must. The album boasts some of the best sax playing on such tracks as 'Fase', with powerful jazz embellishments. The vibraphone solo is wonderful, and the muscular guitar riff works along the spacey effects and layers of horns.

'Al Mancato Compleanno Di Una Farfalla' (I Heard a Butterfly) has lovely Italian acoustic guitar vibrations, interwoven with beautiful flute augmented by gorgeous vocal harmonies. I love the heavy organ attack, some of the boldest playing on the album followed by descending melodies. There is an exquisite reverb guitar to end it.

'Elzeviro' (Six Against One on the English version) is one of the best tracks, very jazzy with nice vocals, and merging with symphonic textures; a real work of beauty. The electric guitar splashes out with some soaring arpeggios and string bends.

'Mercanti Di Pazzie' (Merchants of Madness) has beautiful vibrations of harp and flute that creates a soundscape of tranquillity. The synthesizer chimes in and the scape becomes ambient and dreamy. This is another complex arrangement with some more wonderful vocals to augment the atmosphere.

'Live Together or Die' opens with odd time sigs and some excellent brass and emotive horns. Piano keeps a melody as a harmony of voices comes in with a lovely timbre. A glorious sax solo keeps things interesting along a swinging groove. It ends with a dirge of Italian choruses singing to a church organ.

The Italian version closes with 'Antiche Conclusioni Negre' (Ancient Negroe's Conclusions) that features some very interesting vocals and intricate musical arrangements. The bonus tracks to follow are 1977 singles, 'Il Fischio del Vapore' (Boat's Whistle) and 'Cono di Gelato' (Ice Cream Cone), that are not featured on the English version unfortunately as these would be great to hear with translated lyrics.

This album can be recommended to those who like their prog served up with complex musical arrangements and sprinkled over with those sweet Italian flavours. Maxophone will go down in history as being yet another RPI band that dished up one meal and then left the insatiable appetite of the prog world starving for more.

Review by friso
2 stars Maxophone - st (1975)

This Italian symphonic progressive rock record is often seen as one of the highlights of the scene. Fullblown multi-instrumental arrangements, influences from Genesis and ELP, yet still a sort of own way of doing things in an almost orchestral way. The band incorperates many influences in it's compositions and is garentued to raise a smile with a composition like 'Fase', in which they switch styles in high tempo.

I don't like hearing instruments recorded in differents pitches. Maybe it's because I'm a trained musician myself; I really really don't like it, it makes me crumble. This is the type of well intentioned record that is totally ruined by false sounding guitars and keyboards that are like a saw for my harmonic brain. During almost every moment of the record there's some pitch anomaly that bothers me quite a lot. I don't think every music-listener hears this, because almost no-one seems to even mention the fact that some of the arrangements are painfully out of pitch. I would really love to hear a remaster in which all instruments are re-pitched to the same amount of Herz. As it is now, I can only recommend this record to symphonic prog listeners who have never engaged any problem whatsoever with a record sounding out of pitch. They will find Maxophone a great treat I guess.

Two stars, I just can't listen to this.

Review by Moogtron III
5 stars Excellent RPI album, one of the best that I know of.

What makes it so good is the excellent compositions, which are as good as any of the 'big Italian bands', like PFM, Banco and Le Orme. Actually, there is not one weak song on the album. All the compositions have something to offer. This is a very mature band, even when this is their debut album. Each song has different bits and pieces that gel all well together: nothing sounds artificial, everything sounds 'in place'.

Except for the compositions, I'd say that the imaginative use of keyboards add to the great quality of the album. The vocals are quite nice too, even if not very special. Soundwise, the band is quite good too.

Strongly recommended for anyone who likes classic Italian 1970's prog!

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars The Milan based MAXOPHONE arrived late to the game within the explosion of Italian progressive rock bands that dotted Italy from every conceivable nook and cranny and as a result, the band's career was cut short to four years and one self-titled album which woefully went under the radar of the original scene due to their one and only album coming out in late year of 1975 just as the prog scene was winding down and other forms of musical expression were stealing prog's thunder. MAXOPHONE would unknowingly have to play the patience game because once the great prog revival of the 90s would hit, the legions of 70s bands that came before would get a second chance to prove themselves and as a result, MAXOPHONE proved they had the chops to sustain interest well beyond their era and has become one of the most respected Italian prog rock bands that sits high in the pecking order with other greats like PFM, Banco and Museo Rosenbach.

Despite fitting snugly into the Italian symphonic prog tag that found the usual elements of symphonic prog, classical, operatic vocals and off-kilter time signatures with rock elements, MAXOPHONE went above and beyond the call of duty in creating one of the most diverse albums of the entire 70s Italian scene and although it didn't get their just dessert in the initial four year run that lasted from 1973-77, the musicians on board proved that they were in it for the art and not the fame and fortune (you know how profitable prog is!). The band which consisted of six members (and a fair number of sessions musicians) took many years to craft their one and only album which was the alchemic amalgamation of two different pools of musical experience brought together and teased out into a perfect balance of talent by outstanding multi-instrumentalists.

The band consisted of Sergio Lattuada (keyboards), Roberto Giuliani (guitar, piano), Leonardo Schiavone (clarinet), flute and saxophones), Maurizio Bianchini (vibraphone, horn and trombone), Alberto Ravasini (bass, acoustic guitar and flute) and Sandro Lorenzetti (drums), plus some guests on the harp, violin, cello and double bass. Half of the members were graduates of classical training whereas the others were heavily experienced in various rock bands. The result was an interesting blend of all the experience of the members involved and the band took years to craft their modernly deemed magnum opus into a true musical gem. While MAXOPHONE pumped out a mere six tracks on their sole album of the era, the running time goes for the gusto and tackles not only the usual fusion of classical and rock but also has a stealthy supply of jazz, folk, Neopolitan traditional music along with avant-garde touches.

Like almost all of Italian prog of the era, MAXOPHONE began their journey with strong melodic developments but once established, deviated into some of the most complex journeys within the history of Italian prog with off-kilter time signatures, unexpected dynamic shifts, dense atmospheric drifting and an uncanny attention to detail which allowed the band to effortlessly shift gears from soft pastoral moods to heavy guitar or keyboard dominated frenetic attacks. The various musical textures delivered is uncanny and MAXOPHONE was one of the rare bands within the whole Italian prog scene to add clarinet, vibraphone and harp. Having hit the tail end of the whole scene and attempting to copy the marketing skills of other bands like PFM, this album was released with both Italian lyrics (1975) and then in English the following year (1976). Italian experiencing this in English.

MAXOPHONE, despite their best efforts, was doomed in their initial run. The prog scene was winding down and the bigwigs of the day already had the gaze of those who were paying attention. The label Produttori Associati was not accustomed to signing prog acts but rather focused on soundtracks and jazz. MAXOPHONE probably slipped through the label's cracks due to the fact that they implemented more jazz elements than the ordinary symphonic prog act not only in the sultry sax solos that occur sporadically but also in the rather unorthodox jazzy compositional constructs that add an extra layer of complexity to the already breathtaking classically driven rock sequences.

Despite this album having been released and utterly ignored, the rediscovery of the prog scene has been quite generous and has ranked this amongst the best of the best. This is definitely one of the more demanding examples of the Italian prog scene. Despite the strong melodic deliveries strewn about, the variations that change frequently dictate a dedication of multiple listens for this to have sink in. While usually i require a mere single listen to the max five for an album to sink in, MAXOPHONE's eponymous album has taken well over ten. While at first i was unfazed, after many, many listens this has at long last revealed its secrets as if i've broken the code that allows premium access into the world that was constructed so many decades ago. In that regard MAXOPHONE is a real trip. There are many segments of this album that are instantly addictive but the whole enchilada doesn't necessarily gel until it's penetrated on a deeper level, however after the album has sunk in, it's undoubtedly the case that this is indeed one of the highlights of the entire Italian prog scene with a magnanimity that has rarely been matched.

Review by zeuhl1
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

Latest members reviews

4 stars Expect one of the most versatile Italian prog albums if this really still falls into the RPI genre. The bunch of very gifted musicians (both composers and instrumentalists) meet to release a very sophisticated and mature debut album. Soft melodic moments full of harmony ("Al Mancato Compleanno ... (read more)

Report this review (#2457930) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, October 20, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A Classic with Tons of Variety Never boring, Maxophone's one-and-only 70s album stands as one of the classics of the era, shifting between sonic timbres and moods. Although released in 1975, its sound is more like 1971. The drum, electric guitar, and organ sounds in particular avoid the more ... (read more)

Report this review (#1818289) | Posted by Walkscore | Wednesday, November 1, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Maxophone's debut has recently earned its place as my favourite record from the whole RPI scene. For me, even better than any PFM or Banco album, and the only 5-star rating I think I'll ever give in the sub-genre, having already heard the most exalted works within the sub-genre. Those who undermine ... (read more)

Report this review (#1157435) | Posted by Xonty | Saturday, April 5, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If there was ever a one hit wonder, then Maxophone's only album certainly makes the mark. This isn't your standard PFM, Banco, or Le Orme styled album; there are bits of these band's sounds, but for the most part this is a very unique sound these guys achieve. A few of the members are classic ... (read more)

Report this review (#1109239) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Tuesday, January 7, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars should never start a review with the words "ok" or "so", but I do it anyway. Okay then...this is a tough one. Maxophone is one of those one-hit wonders of rock progressivo Italiano that nominally could be categorized with PFM, Banco or holy trinity of that genre. Maxophon ... (read more)

Report this review (#946868) | Posted by Fenrispuppy | Saturday, April 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you like prog and just discovered this whole world of prog from this website, Maxophone is perfect for you. A masterpiece is all that can be said about this album. The best 'one-hit-wonder' a band ever produced, in my opinion. It's obvious once hearing the album that it's pure eclectic, and if yo ... (read more)

Report this review (#754127) | Posted by Raccoon | Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album became one of my favorites from the first time I heard it. I love it and I recomend it It opens with "C' e Un Paese al Mondo" (5.00 out of 5.00). A wonderful song which shows how eclectic the band can be. The best part of this song is when it takes a break into a more jazzy form, wich ... (read more)

Report this review (#747442) | Posted by raul_siberian | Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The self-titled album the band Maxophone (and so far, its only if you disregard the English version it released a year later) is certainly one of the greatest albums ever RPI lanšados.Full of influencse,excitement and virtuosity, this is an album worth hearing. There are influences mainly from th ... (read more)

Report this review (#411883) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, March 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Many words has been written about this album by far smarter persons than myself. Hence, I will be pretty brief in my own review. It is no doubts that this band has had a few listening sessions to Genesis first six albums. A couple of jazz and Italian folk music records must also have found th ... (read more)

Report this review (#299846) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, September 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Fantastic, brilliant and beautiful are insufficient adjectives to illustrate my impressions about MAXOPHONE !!! With a significant influence of another two Italians bands - P F M & Campo di Marte- and something for Gentle Giant ( especially on track 4 and track 9) without to be a clone. Is ... (read more)

Report this review (#282950) | Posted by maryes | Friday, May 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Franco Doesn't Get to Go to Hollywood It's ironic that the lack of global success enjoyed by RPI has cemented its demarcated status as a genre. Even it's most travelled missionaries PFM pined to retreat to within its borders when international acclaim beckoned circa Photos of Ghosts and their su ... (read more)

Report this review (#266041) | Posted by ExittheLemming | Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Recently I could watch my one shot loved band Maxophone on DVD "From Cocoon to Butterfly". It presents 4 tracks studio performances recorded in 1975 with perfect image and sound production. Wish I these forgotten heroes had a long discography...(as Locanda delle Fate, Il Balleto di Bronzo, Raco ... (read more)

Report this review (#181153) | Posted by Prog_Veteran | Saturday, August 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars MAXOPHONE - Maxophone Simply: what an album! I love it. This is so full of life, joy and melody. Maxophone homonymous album is another lost gem of the prolific era of the Italian prog; a truly masterpiece. I can go on and on with words trying to describe the beauty I find in this record. So le ... (read more)

Report this review (#181039) | Posted by progaddict_salvatore | Friday, August 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another Italian Prog classic. In their only effort Maxophone play an excellent mix of classical background and rock themes, and improve it with a great melodic taste, as other Italian groups. Winds instruments like horn, flute and trumpet are the real focus of the music, but the rhytmical bre ... (read more)

Report this review (#119553) | Posted by armapo | Tuesday, April 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For me, Maxophone is Il Balletto di Bronzo with heart. Their first and only album is great. It is really rockin' progressive jazzrock. From the musical part of view this album is close to perfection. The guitar is heavy. The rest is exceptional. The opening track gives to listener everything th ... (read more)

Report this review (#104996) | Posted by Hejkal | Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The only album released in 1975 "Maxophone". Masterpiece that mobilizes orchestral music and constructs the beautiful world dynamically. Mild, graceful melody and delicate Harmony. The sound of the horn is especially impressive. It is a fantastic, excellent sound, and power as rock is also eno ... (read more)

Report this review (#71999) | Posted by braindamage | Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another masterpiece of italian 70s. Various in sound, innovative, sometimes more jazzy and with voice/lyrics enphasis. Somebody told me of the presence of an harp (not confirmed, even after internet researches), while horn and vibraphone give unique atmospheres. "Fase", "Elzeviro" and "Anti ... (read more)

Report this review (#36642) | Posted by NIC* | Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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