Friday, November 30, 2018

Arti E Mestieri - 1979 - Quinto Stato

Arti E Mestieri
Quinto Stato

01. Quinto Stato (emarginato) (4:35)
02. Vicolo (3:20)
03. Arterio (sclerosi) (3:08)
04. Torino Nella Mente (4:55)
05. Mercato (5:25)
06. D'essay (3:15)
07. Arti (2:25)
08. Sui Tetti (6:05)

Claudio Montafia / guitar (1,3,4,6,7), flute (2,4)
Marco Cimino / electric piano, synthesizers, clavinet, fretted & fretless basses (4), vocals (4,7)
Arturo Vitale / soprano (4,8) & alto (5,8) saxes, piano (5), vocals (5)
Marco Gallesi / fretted & fretless basses

Gigi Fregapane / backing vocals (5,8)
Gino Torni / backing vocals (5,8)
Luigi "Gigi" Venegoni / electric guitar (1)
Flavio Boltro / trumpet (6)
Rudi Passuello / vocals (1,3,6), bassoon (2)
Furio Chirico / drums

With Fusion discredited as a mere ground for chops show-offs and Prog entangled in an identity crisis veering towards simple Pop or overblown Symphonic, minimalist or down-to-Earth genres as Punk or Disco were all the rage; after their confirmation as one of the exponents of the Jazz-Rock movement with Giro di valzer per domani in 1975, Arti & Mestieri pushed the pause button as guitar player Gigi Venegoni  went on to front his own band Venegoni & Co., or collaborated with Arturo Vitale in bass player Marco Gallesi’s short lived project Esagono sole studio effort Vicolo; Curiously this was to be the band  which would provide part of the human capital to fill the vacant slots in the dismembered Arti & Mestieri when in 1978 the group started working in what would be their 3rd release: Marco Cimino, keyboards and Claudio Montafia, guitars and flute. 

That said, and from the original A&M, only Gallesi and drummer-extraordinaire Furio Chirico are all over this record, fuelling it with their formidable rhythm engine, whereas past member  Vitale contribute with his sax on a couple of tracks, he also wrote. 

But if the band has not changed beyond recognition, they do seem to have missed the writing skills of Beppe Crovella and Venegoni who had been responsible for two thirds of the intricate and complex music in their initial discography; on the other hand and with the group basically reduced to a quartet their kaleidoscopic sound also suffered, although the flute, Vitale’s sax and Flavio Boltro’s flugelhorn on “D’Essay” somehow work to compensate the loss. 

In short, if this mostly instrumental album is still filled with fine Jazz-Rock pieces, which may lack the adventurism, novelty or even the dynamics of their previous work,  border the cheesy as on “Arti” or where the influences of the contemporary and million-selling  Weather Report are often palpable, what coarsely distinguishes “Quinto Stato” is new singer Rudy Passuello, owner of  a harsh and rough voice, who often seems to struggle to make the lyrics fit in the music and who has an attitude more in tune with Motörhead’s Lemmy (!)than with the fluid Fusion sound of A&M. Thankfully, only three tracks use his gifts (!) and even those not extensively, so if you can live through the opening title track, you’ll still be rewarded with enough moments of stupendous musicianship – not at the reach of the average player -which will make you get back to it every once in a while.

1 comment: