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Arti e Mestieri: The Live

Recorded at the end of 2011 in Japan, The Live captures a remarkable performance by Italian jazz rock ensemble Arti e Mestieri. Well regarded for their blend of frantic percussion, masterful guitar harmonies, and grandiose string arrangements, the group has been active for roughly 40 years (minus the fifteen year gap between 1985's Children's Blues and 2000's Murales). The Live acts as a exuberant celebration of their impressive career, and although its music feels a bit run-of-the-mill, the performances are still top notch, and the way the group interacts with their audience is endearing.

The set begins with "Gravita '9.81" from their 1974 debut, Tilt - Immagini Per Un Orecchio. At first, it's a frenzied array of delightful counterpoint as thunderous pounding meets graceful piano flourishes and cataclysmic guitar riffs. Eventually it resolves into a central riff that takes over several instruments simultaneously, making it highly infectious. Two other hits from their initial LP—"Strips" and "Positivo Negativo"—also make an appearance, and each is equally impressive. The latter features some mind-blowing musicianship, while the former is quite pleasing melodically.

"Giro di Valzer Per Domani" is a lively instrumental packed with fancy free guitar lines and piano chords. Actually, it seems to act as a calming intermission between more the hectic pieces, such as the speedy "Alba Mediterranea" and "A Loro Due / Marylin" (both of which find the keyboardist echoing the flair of Rick Wakeman). There's also "Il figlio del barbiere," a more operatic and warm piece with plenty of vocal histrionics. The concluding duo of "2000" and "Trema" showcase Arti e Mestieri at its most electrified, daring, and heavy. Like the rest of the set, it's complex yet oh so meticulously crafted and expertly performed.

The Live is a remarkable release. It's downright charming to hear how humbled and appreciative the band is regarding the crowd. Here's is a group of masterful players who, after 40 years, still feel excited and surprised that people want to listen to them. If you're a fan of progressive jazz in the realm of Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, and Delirium, you'll definitely enjoy The Live.

Track Listing:

1. Gravita 9.81
2. Strips
3. Positivo/Negativo
4. Comin' Here To Get You/Si Fa Luna
5. Giro di Valzer Per Domani
6. Alba Mediterranea
7. Il Figlio Del Barbiere
8. A Loro Due
9. Marylin
10. 2000
11. Trema

Added: August 20th 2013
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Prog Archives Page
Hits: 1819
Language: english

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