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First Live In Japan by Arti & Mestieri

They’re somewhat of a legendary Italian jazz-rock band, emanating from its ‘70s issued LPs "Tilt" and Giro Di Valzer Per Domani" as this powerhouse unit took a hiatus during the ‘80s, and reformed in the late ‘90s. This newly issued, live outing captures the band performing new and older material during a Japanese tour. Simply put, the music iterated here conveys a sense of craftsmanship and cohesiveness that few ensembles could ever hope to achieve. Then add the fun factor to the musical element and the recipe for success shines forth via an upbeat mode of attack, designed with variances in pitch, color and intensity.

The ensemble rings in the sounds of prog-rock/jazz-rock of yesteryear partly due to keyboardist Beppe Crovella’s multifarious implementations. He employs a mellotron and analogue synths to supplement his conventional arsenal. With multi-reedman Alfredo Ponissi’s gutsy phrasings riding atop the rhythm section’s impeccable polyrhythmic assault, the technical aspects attain a happy coexistence with sonorous themes. Those factors merely stand as a component or two of the goodness presented throughout these highly-charged works.

Iano Nicolo’s mood-evoking vocals nicely counterbalance the frontline’s searing lead guitar, sax, keys and violin choruses. Essentially, the program boasts a potpourri of wistful themes constructed upon memorable hooks and the artists’ fierce interplay. Overall, these eighteen pieces appear to be interconnected, but more so from a semblance of order and ensemble-based resilience. Jazz and prog-rock aficionados should not let this wondrously executed gem slip thru the proverbial cracks. (Essential listening.... )

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Arti & Mestieri
  • CD Title: First Live In Japan
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Moonjune Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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