I guess most people who visit our website do know Luca Zabbini. The Italian pianist, keyboard player and composer. He founded Barock Project in 2003 with the aim of creating a bridge between classical music, in particular baroque music, and rock music with a touch of jazz harmonisation, supported by a pop structure, hoping to update the much-loved progressive rock genre of the '70s. With this act he has released the albums Misteriose Voci (2007), Rebus (2009), Coffee In Neukölln (2012), Skyline (2015, see review), Vivo (2016, see review), Detachment (2017, see review) and Seven Seas (2019). February 2021 saw the release of The box set which collects all six remastered albums. And now it's finally time to
release his first solo album simply titled One. Because it is officially his first album on which he does everything on his own. Only One person in control!
For those who love and admire the albums released by Zabbini's band have to be aware that what Luca does on his own doesn't come very near to the music displayed on those albums. On his first solo album he doesn't come up with excellent progressive rock tunes related to the music of the Barock Project. Meaning music which draws its influences from the classic 70s sound of the likes of Emerson Lake & Palmer and Genesis, and also a range of classical composers.
The album One grew out of the artist's desire to show his new musical identity and present a slightly different musical approach, almost completely removed from the progressive rock and style of the Barock Project.
“If I were an actor and had to play the same roles over and over again, I would quickly get tired and stop developing. The same applies to my music, ”says Luca.
As Luca Zabbini is a restless spirit and a musician with a head full of ideas, it was only a matter of time before he would reveal himself as a solo artist. The album has eleven songs that successfully combine various musical styles, beautiful melodies, a whole cross-section of rock style, entirely focused on Luca's singing. Not only does he sing, but he plays all instruments (piano, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and mandolin), and he also took care of the production and arrangements as well as mixing and mastering the album. He only had help with the lyrics which were done by Antonio De Sarno and Giorgio Franceschetti.
Luca presents his compositions in a full stylistic range. You can hear influences from folk on Taking Time and Constantine Cry. Influences from Brit rock on Everything Changes, even from swing as can be heard on Hello and The Mood Of The Day. But also classical influences are notable on the fully orchestral pieces Portrait. One of the few compositions which reminds me of his mother band. Just as you can also hear on the album opener What's Left Of Me, which has beautiful epic-symphonic arrangements. On the other hand he is not afraid to come up with some simple piano tunes. Listen for example to Karlsruhe Rain and I Don't Know.
As for the big names which influenced Luca it is easy to say that the on this album The Beatles and Paul McCartney (The Mood Of The Day and Help Me To Sleep) are never far away. But also there is something on this album from Elton John, Billy Joel and Joe Bonamassa (hear the blues on No One There). Even the spirit of the late Sir George Martin is present. Because there are plenty of arrangements reminiscent of ideas taken from the albums made by The Beatles.
It is without doubt that One is an extremely melodic album. Very acoustic in a way, because the songs are sometimes performed on the piano and mainly acoustic guitar. And at the same time very it's orchestral and symphonic sounding. This album contains many diverse stylistic elements such as folk, pop and symphonic. Everything he did on this album has such grace, charm and beauty enchanting in his music that it wouldn't be fair to say that this album can be ignorned by the true proghead. No! I am asking all lovers of real progressive rock to give this album a chance and have a listen several times before you come up with your verdict. Not related to the music of Barock Project doesn't mean it can be enjoyed! Well done Luca!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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