Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Area - 1975 - Are(A)zione


01. Luglio, agosto, settembre (5:41)
02. La mela di Odessa (11:05)
03. Cometa rossa (6:00)
04. Are(A)zione (15:00)
05. L'Internazionale (4:00)

- Giulio Capiozzo / drums and percussion
- Patrizio Fariselli / electric & acoustic pianos, bass clarinet, percussion, synths
- Demetrio Stratos / vocals, organ, percussion
- Ares Tavolazzi / electric & acoustic basses, trombone, pocket trumpet
- Paolo Tofani / electric guitar, synths

Beautiful if occasionally strange and silly performance from one of Italy's very best symphonic jazz-rock ensembles tearing off a taut and upbeat set at the Festa Proletaria in Milan, 1975. The five-piece find just the right blend of hot jazz lines, Baroque refrains and playful juxtaposition of musical themes. Not quite in the same technical league as, say, D.F.A., but for their time Area were exemplary of the better and more interesting groups in the endless tracts of fusion outfits. They also stretched out into folk, experimental mood-setting, and seem here to want to be a part of the audience as much as play for them.

The moaning of Demetrio Stratos will scare some off immediately but they'll miss the jumping start of 'Luglio,Agosto,Settembre', a festive number sounding much like ethnic dance music. But in place of flutes and balalaikas are the killer guitars of Paolo Tofani and synths of Patrizio Fariselli as they warm things up. 11-minute 'La mela di Odessa' gets kooky, switches to a competent drum solo by Guilio Capiozzo followed by a sweet synth/organ/guitar interplay with odd rhythms and tense jazz energy as these guys show what good all round players they truly are. Zappa nuttiness ensues as someone eats an apple for nearly a minute and we get a chance to stretch our legs, walk around, watch people dance, drink a beer and have a thoroughly good time. 'Taps' is jokingly thrown into the mix and Stratos' slightly grating rant before 'Cometa Rossa', a rippin' fusion bit rich with synth and drum fireworks. The deep jam of the title track sweeps us up or allows us to keep wandering, our choice. Either way, it is terrific jazz rock with a feel only attained at a live, open-air event as this. A swirling chimera of electric organ, more weird voices, and Tavolazzi's loyal upright bass takes the lead for awhile. 'L'Internazionale' closes things on a troubled contrast in flavors and socio-political statement.

If Colosseum ll and Von Zamla had a child out of wedlock, it might sound something like this. A fine starter for the rest of the Area catalog.


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