Monday, 26 September 2011

VENETO (part 1)

We visit now VENETO starting from its particular, beautiful capital built on the lagoon, VENICE, the city of artists and adventurers such as Antonio Vivaldi, Tomaso Albinoni, Carlo Goldoni, Tintoretto, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Canaletto, Giacomo Casanova and Marco Polo. The most famous prog band from Venice are Le Orme (Official fanclub) who started their career in 1966 and are still active and in perfect shape although they recently went through some line-up troubles. The current line-up features the veterans Michi Dei Rossi and Michele Bon while the new vocalist is Davide “Jimmy” Spitaleri from Metamorfosi. In 2011 with the renewed line-up Le Orme released an excellent brand new album, La via della seta. By the way, new Le Orme’s bass player Fabio Trentini also leads a side project in a prog pop vein called Moonbound (MySpace).

Le Orme’s original vocalist and bass player Aldo Tagliapietra (Official Website) left the band in 2010 but he’s still active as a solo artist and recently teamed up with two other former members of the band, keyboardist Tony Pagliuca (Official Website) and guitarist Tolo Marton (Official Website) for some concerts.Tony Pagliuca left the band in 1992 for a solo career and in 2010 released an interesting album, featuring piano solo versions of some pieces taken from the old repertoire of the band, entitled Après midi – Ormeggiando while Tolo Marton left Le Orme in 1975 for a solo career as a blues-rock guitarist.

By the way, in 1979 Le Orme dedicated an album, Florian, to a famous café of Piazza San Marco, the Caffé Florian, where you can listen to classical chamber music while sipping a drink. Such an  atmosphere perfectly fits also the recent works of Venetian pianist and composer Luciano Basso (Official Website), who in the seventies released some interesting prog albums. Another excellent historic local band still in activity are Opus Avantra (Official Website), led by vocalist Donella Del Monaco. They recently released a DVD recorded live in Japan, Viaggio Immaginario – Live in Tokyo. Opus Avantra also recently availed itself of the help of flutist Mauro Martello who is behind a project called Sidera Noctis (MySpace) which should be of interest to prog folk lovers. In 2011 Mauro Martello started also another interesting project called Castelli di Carta (Reverbnation), more rock oriented.

In the past Venice gave us also bands such as Il Mucchio, I Cocai, Spirosfera and Bondage. Other experienced band from Venice are Quanah Parker (Official Website), formed in 1981 and reformed in 2005 after a long hiatus, and Sezione Frenante (Facebook) whose roots date back to the seventies and that in 2014 finally released a debut album on the indpendent label MaRa.Cash Records entitled Metafora di un viaggio. The eighties also saw the formation of Lost Tales who are still active although they have released only one album so far.

Other contemporary local bands that deserve mentioning are the jazz-rock oriented PostMeridiem (MySpace), the experimental Litai (MySpace) and Janisnova (Facebook), the eclectic Egonon (Official Website), the neo prog Allen Grey (MySpace) and a dark electro acoustic project called Unfolk (Reverbnation) while from the nearby town of San Donà di Piave comes Lorenzo Monni (Official Website), a multi instrumentalist with a classical background who blends classical influences with rock and electronics in an original way. In 2010 he released an interesting, challenging instrumental album entitled Grey Swans Of Extremistan