After the great international success of his last album La Quarta Vittima (2014, see review) Fabio Zuffanti returns with a live in studio album. The album is the report of a tour that led to Fabio and his band around Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada. It summarizes twenty years of career of growing success and offers a kind of "best of" of his solo repertoire and than that of his bands Finisterre, La Maschera Di Cera and H÷stsonaten. However, due to technical problems the live album they thought they had recorded never materialised so Fabio did the next best thing and took the band into the studio but recorded them live playing the songs they had played on the tour. It doesn't particularly sound like a live album but it does sound like a band in full flow and in prime form especially the guitar player Matteo Nahum who I think steals the show with some majestic playing.
There is something for everyone on this record. In Limine starts the album with a tune borrow from Jethro Tull (who borrowed it from Bach) which then turns into a jazz jam with hints of Duke Ellington thrown in for good measure. This track is a little misleading for the rest of the album which is fully in the prog camp. There are great flute solos played by Martin Grice, some nice keyboards and the obligatory Mellotron from Giovanni Pasterino. Drums are provided by Paolo Tixi and Fabio Zuffanti plays bass and does the vocals. I preferred the instrumental tracks to the ones with vocals on, but the album still makes for a pleasant listen.
The level of musicianship is very high and the compositions bob and weave around keeping the listener on their toes. Fans of Italian prog will delight in this album as will fans of the Steve Hackett guitar sound.
***+ Dave Smith
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