Zauber - Profundo Blu

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Mellow Records
Catalog Number: MMP 401
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:45:00

Synthesized bagpipes introduce this new offering from one of Italy's finest melodic symfo bands. Still to be situated in the delicate lyrical range of Camel, the mainly instrumental beauty of their original compositions harks back to the heydays of the flourishing prog movement in Italy during the seventies. Wonderful interventions on keyboards are one of the band's focal points but we certainly have to mention the guest appearance of Gianni Cristiani on flute, which gives some of the music an extra fragile dimension. The band also knows a great deal about music, whether rock or classical, and has no problem using some of its best themes. In "Punti Di Vista" they borrow the "Tank" riff from Emerson, Lake & Palmer; in "Il Giorno Dopo" they borrow Dvorak's theme from his "New World Symphony" whilst "Panda's Lament" is based on the intro for "Prélude À L'après Midi D'un Faune? originally from the hand of Claude Debussy. By adding titles such as "For Absent Friends" (Genesis) and "Peaches En Regalia" (Zappa), Zauber makes the circle of references complete. The band that also delivered material for tribute albums based upon Camel, Gentle Giant, VDGG and Italian prog certainly is able to delve into a huge archive in order to select the material that is best suited to their own identity. This results in soft melodic prog with great depth and skilled musicianship.

During "Punti Di Vista" Leo Fiore's vocals are not convincing enough, whilst the Italian language already is a handicap in adding the right accents. In "Eat That Question" I find that the harmonica doesn't really fit within the concept. It's as if you asked Toots Thielemans to guest on the next Marilyn Manson album! A harmonica tends to deliver a kind of a nightclub feel, which doesn't really fit the Zauber music. In that respect also "Regret Blues" isn't 100% the kind of music you'd expect from these guys. Things go much better with "For Absent Friends," which strangely enough is once again fuelled by the wonderful flute that meets piano and synth on its way. Again the vocal part in "Il Giorno Dopo" tends to be more like the kind of material one would associate with the San Remo festival than with inventive, original prog rock we all expect. Luckily the instrumental section puts this right as much as possible. Never thought that a Zappa original could sound so mellow, but "Peaches En Regalia" sounds like very sweet "peaches," here served with cream from the divine flute. Although a lot of Zappa freaks will consider this to be a right disgrace, I quite like it!

My end conclusion is that, as long as the flute gets to play an important role then everything becomes interesting. The harmonica certainly has to go whilst the band has to think seriously about the role of Leo Fiore because his voice doesn't suit the music at all. Either they opt for another singer or they switch to delivering all instrumental music instead. As one of the few surviving original seventies prog outfits I hope they can continue a bit longer, but their material should be much better than this rather "average" Profondo Blu.

Profondo Blu (4:37) / Gente (3:09) / Viaggi (4:18) / Punti Di Vista (6:13) / Eat That Question (4:06) / Regret Blues (6:10) / For Absent Friends (3:13) / Il Giorno Dopo (7:38) / Peaches En Regalia (3:02) / Panda:s Lament (3:42)

Massimo Cavagliato - drums, percussion
Mauro Cavagliato - bass, acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Oscar Giordanino - keyboards, melodica


Gianni Cristiani - flutes, piccolo
Leo Fiore - lead vocals
Gabriele Clari - lead vocals
Danilo Ghiglieri - lead guitar
Massimo Povolo - harmonica

Zauber (1989)
Est (1991)
Phoenix (1992)
Aliens (1993)
Venti (1998)
Profondo Blu (2000)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin IT

Added: September 22nd 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

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Language: english


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