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Italian Progressive Rock

Jeffrey J.Park
The list author says: "The Italian progressive rock scene was extremely fertile and produced a seemingly infinite number of excellent groups; as such, this list should be viewed as simply the tip of the iceberg. Good starting points for folks new to the scene include Banco, PFM, and Le Orme."
Banco del Mutuo Soccorso
Banco del Mutuo Soccorso
"This 1972 debut is notable for Francesco Di Giacomos remarkable vocals (in Italian).  The music is really good too and is at least equal in quality to their English counterparts.  This is a 24-bit remaster that sounds pretty good.  There are no extras (the 24 karat gold CD comes in a digipak)."
Darwin
Darwin
"This is the second release by this incredible Italian band.  Not one of the pieces on this disc appear on the 1975 Banco compilation."
Io Sono Nato Libero
Io Sono Nato Libero
"Another excellent release by Banco.  This is the best place place to start exploring the Italian prog rock scene."
Banco
Banco
"This is an incredibly good recording in spite of its being a compilation of their debut and Io Sono Nato Libero.  In addition to there being a new tune (The Bread Tree), a lot of the previously released pieces are completely reworked making this a worthwhile addition."
Come in Un Ultima Cena
Come in Un Ultima Cena
"A wonderful follow-up to the Banco compilation from 1976.  Although starting to back off a TINY bit from the 1972-1973 material, this is still great prog rock."
Di Terra
Di Terra
"By 1978 Banco had ventured more fully into avant-garde territory and this album is quite different from their earlier material (yet no less satisfying).  This album is all instrumental and presents a seamless integration of a rock ensemble with an orchestra."
Canto Di Primavera
Canto Di Primavera
"This 1979 album by Banco is fantastic.  Although they had pared things back a bit, this is a fine album of shorter progressive pieces with excellent musicianship and great vocals by Francesco di Giacomo."
Storia Di Un Minuto
Storia Di Un Minuto
"Fully developed prog by this amazing band.  Heavily influenced by 1969-1970 King Crimson.  Nice sounding remaster - no extras though (CD comes in a digipak)."
Photos of Ghosts
Photos of Ghosts
"English version of Per un Amico.  Very quiet and contemplative with deft ensemble work."
World Became the World
World Became the World
"An english-language version of L'Isola De Niente.  The last of the classically-influenced PFM CDs."
Chocolate Kings
Chocolate Kings
"This is an excellent, high energy release by PFM that boasts incredible playing and arranging.  The jazz influence is more obvious, yet the arrangements are still proggy.  Vocals are a bit rough."
Uomo Di Pezza
Uomo Di Pezza
"Their first progressive effort.  Like a lot of italian prog, this recording shows influences by King Crimson.  It is the Hammond organ (not the music)  that makes it sound like ELP.  Very nice."
Felona E Sorona
Felona E Sorona
"Haunting and very well arranged.  This is a concept work illustrated through the song cycle rather than one continuous piece of music."
Contrappunti
Contrappunti
"More experimental than either Uomo di pezza or Felona e Serona."
Storia O Leggenda
Storia O Leggenda
"This is a wonderful, late-period album that nicely blends melancholy pop with some progressive rock.  Excellent melodies."
Maxophone
Maxophone
"The Gentle Giant of Italy.  Thoughtfully arranged symphonic prog in a PFM-ish style.  Vocals in Italian.  Recommended.."
Ys
Ys
"One of the archetypes of Italian Progressive Rock.  Dark and dissonant, yet in a polite way.  Vocals in Italian."
Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Piu
Forse Le Lucciole Non Si Amano Piu
"Late period (1977) masterwork.   Very soft and restrained in the style of PFM.  Vocals in Italian.  Nicely remastered album that resembles a mini-LP."
Il Tempo Della Gioia
Il Tempo Della Gioia
"Synths are absent, with acoustic piano and violin soloing over the standard bass-drum-guitar backdrop.  EXTREMELY classically oriented with SOME Balletto di Bronzo influenced dissonance."
Tilt
Tilt
"Somewhat jazz/rock fusion-ish progressive rock with intricate ensemble playing, great synthesizer parts, and excellent vocals (in Italian)."
1978
1978
"Stylistically, this music is predominantly jazz-rock, but Demetrios vocals, the synthesizers, and the use of European avant-garde styles makes this a very "weird" sounding jazz rock album.  The virtuosity is completely over the top throughout"
Zarathustra
Zarathustra
"Quite nearly a classic with some nice mellotron work.  Occasional flashes of sophisticated arrrangements sandwiched in between hard rock sections."
Essere O Non Essere? Essere
Essere O Non Essere? Essere
"A very nice bit of prog-ish jazz rock that at times sounds just a tiny bit dated.  This stuff is really good and synth heavy."
Celeste
Celeste
"This is quite good.  The music of Celeste is symphonic and somewhat similar to the style of PFM.  This was released in 1976."
Dedicato a Frazz
Dedicato a Frazz
"The music of Semiramis sits somewhere between the pastoral aspects of PFM and the heaviness of "YS" with a little Museo Rosenbach thrown in for good measure.  Although sounding weak at times, it is OK"
Melos
Melos
"Similar stylistically to Semiramis and Museo Rosenbach with just a tiny bit of the pastoral aspect of PFM.  Excellent stuff!"
Palepoli
Palepoli
"This is good, aggressive prog that covers a wide range of styles and moods.  Lots of mellotron and heavily influenced by European avant garde styles.  Abrasive at times."
Biglietto Per L'Inferno
Biglietto Per L'Inferno
"OK prog that sounds a lot like Semiramis - alternating heavy sections with quieter, PFM-like moments.  The recording quality is downright awful and might wreck the experience for audiophiles.."
Pollution
Pollution
"This is a very interesting recording of experimental/avant-garde/prog released by Franco Battiato in 1973 and is one of two proggish albums he made in the early 1970's (the other being Fetus, 1972).  Great VCS3 synthesizer heavy stuff with an avant-garde twist."
Diario Di Viaggio Della Festa Mobile
Diario Di Viaggio Della Festa Mobile
"This is a nice album from 1973 that features guitar, drums, bass, and superb piano playing.  Overall good playing with some nice vocal harmonies.  This would make a nice addition to the Italian progressive rock collection."
Per Un Mondo Di Cristallo
Per Un Mondo Di Cristallo
"This 1972 album mixes some excellent Baroque-period influenced Hammond C3 playing, some PFM-ish acoustic guitar/classical guitar and flute work, and thunderous barrages of electric bass, drums, and guitar that would not sound out of place on Il Balletto di Bronzo's YS album (1972).  Great stuff."
Passio Secundum Mattheum
Passio Secundum Mattheum
"Passio Secundum Mattheum (1972) is a concept album of a religious nature that revolves around 12 pieces that range in length from 0:43 to 7:04.  This stuff is not bad at all and would make a fine addition to the Italian prog collection."
Cherry Five
Cherry Five
"Highly derivative of early Yes and ELP with high energy levels and a great Rickenbacker bass sound.  Vocals in English. Great stuff!"
Concerto Grosso
Concerto Grosso
"This CD compilation repackages Concerto Grosso No. 1 (1971) with Concerto Grosso No. 2 (1976). Although Concerto Grosso 2 is not all that great, Concerto Grosso 1 is incredible.  As far as re-releases go, it is not spectacular, but is pretty darn cheap."
Sognando E Risognando
Sognando E Risognando
"This is not a great album but felt compelled to list it here.  Features future members of Il Volo. While this album may not be the best in the Italian prog scene, it is certainly not completely awful. If you are as prog obsessed as I am, you will want to get this album, although you may want to get a (cheaper) used copy instead."
Io Sono Murple
Io Sono Murple
"Another one of those one-shot deals.  This stuff is just OK although the keyboardist is excellent.  Sections of straight rock mixed with proggier elements.  Re-released by Akarma in a mini-LP format."