Back in the seventies I bought an album, made by an Italian progressive rock band, that later turned out to be their only album release ever. The eponymous album by the 'one & done' band Maxophone, originally released in 1975, for many is one of the classics of Rock Progressivo Italiano. Thanks to this album, they got onto a list of names of Italian progressive rock acts that had been influential in the music scene. This list includes names like Premiata Forneria Marconi, Osanna, Le Orme and Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso. Names that make the same kind of music as Maxophone did in the seventies. The band reformed in 2005 to get a second life and to do the things they forgot to do during their first existence, such as releasing a live album, recorded in Japan!
This album, Live In Tokyo, was entirely recorded on April 26, 2013, during their performance at the Italian Progressive Rock Fest, a festival at which only Italian progressive rock bands performed, at Club Citta, Kawasaki, Tokyo. The line up of Maxophone nowadays features only two original band members, namely Alberto Ravasini (guitars, keyboards and lead vocals) and Sergio Lattuada (keyboards and vocals). They are assisted by three new musicians, being Marco Croci (bass and vocals), Carlo Monti (drums, percussion, violin) and Marco Tomasini (lead guitar, vocals). Right from the start it became obvious the music of the old days still sounds very much 'alive'. Although not every track from their debut is included on this album, they prove to relive the music written and recorded back in the seventies. You can only hear outstanding versions of songs which many believed long gone. According to the response of those present, the Japanese still loved it as much as when it was released in 1975. All of the songs were sung in Italian, except for the track Il Fischio Del Vapor, which they named Our Guiding Star and was performed just like you could hear it on the recording on the debut album with English lyrics. Back in the seventies this was done regularily on Italian progressive rock albums made by Le Orme, PFM and Banco. They also presented some of their songs with vocals sung in English. Furthermore, the band included a song that was originally written in 1971, but never appeared on an album. L'isola, presented as The Island, sounded very much in the vein of the rest of the material they wrote when they were much younger. It's a kind of ballad with some up tempo parts and a furious guitar solo. Apart from the music of the seventies, the band also came up with new material. Guardian Angel is a nice taster of the new album they are working on at the moment. A song that moves very much towards a style as can be found on many albums made by Jethro Tull. The song mixes progressive rock with folk music in a very good way. Bravo! to the vocal parts on this composition. It sounded very impressive the way they ended Guardian Angel with layers of vocals.
Before the band played their last song, C'è Un Paese Al Mondo, lead singer Alberto Ravasini introduced the band members. He also mentioned that all credits went to founding member Sergio Lattuada, behind the stack of keyboards. If he hadn't reunited the band, the people of Japan wouldn't have been able to see them in Tokyo, because all this wouldn't have taken place and in turn, I couldn't have enjoyed this marvellous sounding live album that brought back the spirit of the seventies in an excellent way! So, thank you guys for giving me, and lots of other progheads, the opportunity to hear the music of your highly regarded debut album performed live on stage!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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