Odessa - Live At Prog'Sud

Year of Release: 2005
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:55:00

Odessa is a band that pursues a traditional heavy, organ and guitar led Italian progressive rock sound that follows in the path of Museo Rosenbach, RDM, and Alphataurus, among others. In their Italian homeland, many clubs still book only cover bands so rather than do only the occasional gigs that a progressive band can get, they also play a "Rock Legends" show that allows the band to play all over the country on a regular basis. It is this frequent gigging that makes Odessa such a tight and impressive band. And in Italy, a set of covers at a club can include tunes by Area and Demetrios Stratos, PFM, RDM, The Trip, Jethro Tull and King Crimson. Also included in that show are tunes from some of their fans' other favorite bands: Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, even Dream Theater.

In the midst of all this, Odessa found time in 1999 to release a disc of their original material on Mellow Records. Since then they have had some personnel changes and the band now features two new members, Giulio Vampa on guitar and drummer Marco Fabbri. The original line up that produced Stazione Getsemani was a fine outfit but the addition of Vampa and Fabbri have clearly advanced Odessa to the next level.

Why tell you all this? Because this disc, recorded at the French festival in May 2003, is more than half covers. They even do a few covers of non-progressive material like Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" with Eclat guitarist Alain Chiarazzo sitting in.

The covers, while some of them are great (and we'll get to those), are not the reason to get this disc. A better reason is to hear the new high energy versions of material from Stazione Getsemani. The four tunes included from the band's debut disc are performed with Odessa's typical boundless energy and ever increasing musical prowess.

"Esilio" comes across like a progressive Allman Brothers with its jamming feel and blues derived solos from keyboardist/vocalist Lorenzo Giovagnoli and guitarist Vampa. If you haven't heard Odessa before then the first thing you're going to focus on will likely be Lorenzo's amazing voice, but just wait, it's going to get even better than this. In "Lotta Per Il Dominio" Odessa comes up with another impressive heavy prog tune, one that actually has hooks. Its long instrumental intro allows Guilio Vampa to burn through some fiery tapping and the songs main riff sounds like a mix of Uriah Heep and Lucifer's Friend (which is appropriate because Lorenzo's voice strikes me as very similar to former Lucifer's Friend/Uriah Heep singer John Lawton) with moments of funk thrown in via bassist Vallo DeAngelis' rhythmic popping. "Di Buio E Luce" is another riff based tune with a light, jazzy piano section and it saves its best for last, as its finale features a plethora of stunning vocal lines, and a bit of Stratos-like warbling for good measure. Lorenzo frequently uses his voice as another instrument in the band's arrangements and the end of "Di Buio E Luce" is a good example of this.

The only other self-penned composition on this disc is Odessa's finest work "L'Incontro" which is broken into two sections, "Stratosfera" and "L'Angelo". "L'Incontro" begins with orchestral undertones and more of Lorenzo's Stratos-like vocal gymnastics. Both Giovagnoli and Vampa let rip with impressive solos, Giovagnoli with a skillful jazz piano solo and Vampa with more of his molten tapping licks. As I said before, there are a number of covers performed on this disc They throw in a Deep Purple tune and a couple from Led Zeppelin and while I'm not going to spend any time on these, let me say that no one would be disappointed with these versions of the tunes and that Ian Gillian and Robert Plant have nothing on Lorenzo as far as vocals go. The other tunes covered include "Caronte," a raging instrumental originally by The Trip, "Alzo Un Muro Elettrico," another great song written by RDM, "Cometa Rossa," a real classic by Area, which gives Lorenzo yet another opportunity to shine vocally and finally, a fast paced take of King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man". This disc will have to hold over the fans of the band until their second disc comes out, slated for later this year, and if you aren't already familiar with Odessa, this disc will do a pretty good job of introducing a new band that has nowhere to go but up. I'll tell you one thing though, this set was recorded three years ago, and based on Odessa's most recent live performances, I'd say this band hasn't stood still for a moment.

Esilio / Lotta Per Il Dominio / Cometa Rossa / Di Buio E Luce / Caronte / Alzo Un Muro Elletrico / 21st Century Schiziod Man / L'Incontro: Stratosfera-L'Angelo / Perfect Strangers / Whole Lotta Love / Rock N' Roll

Lorenzo Giovagnoli - vocals, keyboards
Giulio Vampa - guitar
Valerio De Angelis - bass
Marco Fabbri - drums
Alain Chiarazzo - guitar (9)

Stazione Getsemani (1999)
Live At Prog'Sud (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin IT

Added: April 2nd 2006
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Artist website: www.odessazone.com
Hits: 1078
Language: english


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