Week of September 3, 2006

La Bottega Dell'arte

Albums:
La Bottega Dell'arte (1975 EMI)
CD: Si-Wan SRMC 6016, Korea
Dentro (1977 EMI)
CD: Si-Wan SRMC 6019, Korea
L'Avventura (1979 EMI)
Forza 4 (1984 New Sound Record)

In the mid-70s, two brothers and three long-time buddies got together and released some fine symphonic prog albums in the purest Italian melodic tradition. The band consisted of brothers Piero Calabrese on keyboards and vocals and Massimo Calabrese on bass, acoustic guitar and vocals; they were joined by friends Fernando Ciucci on lead vocals and guitars, Romano Musumarra on guitars, flute, keyboards and vocals, and Alberto Bartoli on drums and vocals. Their albums are characterized by luscious memorable melodies, impressive vocal harmonies and plenty of swirling keyboards that give their material a rich, full-bodied symphonic sound.

Their first two albums, "La Bottega Dell'arte" (1975) and especially "Dentro" (1977, considered the most progressive of the lot), were quite well received both at home and in many parts of the world, from Scandinavian countries to South America, Korea and Japan. Their third release, "L'Avventura" (1979), however, signalled a bit of a let-down and by their fourth, "Forza 4" (1984), their hearts simply weren't in it as they had lost the services of their all-time lead singer Fernando Ciucci and were all slowly going their separate ways. Perhaps for old times' sake, they did finish the album but itís not as homogenous and somehow lacks the warmth and cohesiveness of the other three.

If you're into simple but highly melodic Italian prog and are particularly fond of Locanda Delle Fate, you will certainly want to check out their first two albums.

www.progarchives.com


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