quality : lossless (ape, cue, log, scans)
time: 41'46" size: 267 mb
issue: 2002 remaster
Much has been written and said in Italy about Premiata Forneria Marconi, and they have surely been the most popular band here for many years. No one who was in his teens in Italy during the 70's, doesn't know È festa or Impressioni di settembre. They were also the first (and last, probably) italian band to have some success abroad, playing some good european and american tours, and even playing the popular Reading festival in England.
The band was formed in Milan around 1970 when the ex-Quelli (a popular beat band during the 60's) Mussida, Premoli, Piazza and Di Cioccio met multiinstrumentalist Mauro Pagani from Dalton.
The four Quelli had a change in their musical style near the end of the 60's and even made a single as I Krel, before the new name was adopted.
The new band had a long name, as it was the tendency for the prog-oriented italian bands of the time, and were usually referred to as "La Premiata" and later PFM. Their live beginnings, recently documented in the 10 anni live 71/81 box set, included many covers, especially by the likes of King Crimson and Jethro Tull that were among their strongest influences.
In June 1971 Premiata Forneria Marconi were invited at the first "Festival d’Avanguardia e Nuove Tendenze" in Viareggio, and they won it, along with Osanna and Mia Martini.
But their first single, coupling La carrozza di Hans with Impressioni di settembre, began a highly original musical style, where the foreign influences had been mixed with classical music and some typical mediterranean sounds, creating the distinctive "italianprog" sound that has been later perfectioned by many others.
First album, Storia di un minuto in 1972 is a milestone in the genre, the quintessence of the italian prog, and few others can be compared with this that's surely one of the top five italian LP's for its contents and energy. Tracks like the two on the single, È festa and Dove.. quando are still among the finest example of their distinctive sound. The fine playing of Mauro Pagani, Franco Mussida and Flavio Premoli, despite the lack of a good role singer (always one of their limits), create a highly regarding sound that's still valid today.
The same year saw the release of their second LP, Per un amico, containing the same elements as the previous one with cuts such as the title track, Generale, Il banchetto. Both the albums were very successful and, along with the first Banco del Mutuo Soccorso album, opened the way to a large audience recognition of the new musical style.
Third album, Photos of ghosts, contained mostly reworkings of old tracks in english version, and represented the first attempt by italian rock bands to break the foreign markets. The LP was released abroad by ELP label Manticore (just like Banco's fourth eponymous album) and gave the band a huge success in the USA.
In 1974 the fourth album, L'isola di niente, also had an english version released with the same track listing, called The world became the world. A new bass guitarist had joined the band, Patrick Djivas from Area (Giorgio Piazza formed the short-lived Crystals), and english lyrics were by Pete Sinfield. The album was again very successful and the band embarked in their first US tour, documented in their Live in USA album.
The lack of a lead singer in the band had always been marked by the press as PFM's main defect, and for this reason the group enroled Bernardo Lanzetti from Acqua Fragile. Lanzetti had lived in the States and with his distinctive voice could solve the major problems for the band, singing and speaking english! The first (and sadly the only) release by the new six-piece was Chocolate kings, the first album only released with english lyrics (and their least successful so far for this reason in Italy). Containing some very good songs such as the title track and Out of the roundabout, the album had probably lost some of the typical italian feel of their previous works, going closer to the foreign markets' taste. A successful album abroad, it gave the band new chances to play in foreign countries, with new tour in Europe, USA and Japan.
But after the long tour, Pagani, tired of the hard life on the road, decided to quit the band. The band tried to replace him with american violinist Greg Bloch (from Flock and It's a Beautiful Day) but their decline had started. Jet lag, released in 1977 on the new Zoo label, still has very discordant reviews, its sound being very far from past glories, and Passpartù in 1978, with lyrics written by italian songwriter Gianfranco Manfredi, saw a strong turn towards pop music.
In 1979 a successful tour brought PFM all over Italy as backing band to the singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André, and two live albums were released by Ricordi (Fabrizio De André e la PFM In concerto voll. I & II).
The band released the good Suonare suonare in 1980 with new member Lucio Fabbri (on violin and keyboards, from Piazza delle Erbe) but some low level albums followed during the 80's, wit the group still continuing its successful live activity in Italy, and members Mussida and Di Cioccio also released solo albums.
After Miss Baker in 1987 PFM officially split.
Reunion of the basic four piece of Mussida, Premoli, Djivas and Di Cioccio came in 1997 with the Ulisse LP, and the band had some successful tours in the following years, well documented by the live www.pfmpfm.it, a sort of "live greatest hits" album as stated in its subtitle Il Best.
Di Cioccio also plays blues in a sort of supergroup and has a record company, Immaginifica, that has recently released the second album by the italian band Stereokimono.
In 2006 the group, always playing live all over Italy, has no less than three different shows going on, the classic PFM canta De André, the new Stati d'immaginazione, featuring improvisations built on original videos, and the rock opera Dracula, released on CD in 2005.
1. Peninsula (2:39)
2. Jet Lag (9:14)
3. Storia in "la" (6:28)
4. Breakin in (4:10)
5. Cerco la lingua (5:35)
6. Meridiani (6:01)
7. Left-handed theory (4:14)
8. Traveler (5:42)
Franz Di Cioccio / drums, percussions, Wood
Franco Mussida / electric & ovation, classical guitars
Patrick Djivas / bass, Moog B12
Bernardo Lanzetti / lead vocals, percussion
Flavio Premoli / electric piano, organ, Moog
Gregory Bloch / electric & acoustic violin
From ProgressiveRock :
Our Italian friends took off for Los Angeles to record this, their second album in English, for Asylum. However, Mauro Pagani didn't make the trip. The band struck some friendships inside the West Coast Jazz-Rock scene, in particular with Frank Zappa and Jaco Pastorius, and even added an American, Gregory Bloch, ex-Mark Almond, on violin. So that their subsequent album completely ditched the band's prog stylings for something a lot closer to fusion should come then as no surprise. The album opens with "Peninsula", a solo acoustic piece from Mussida, but the title track, "Jet Lag", really opens up. Strong and melodic, the band pace effortlessly through the tracks parts. Lanzetti's voice was never a stronger fit for the band than here. "Storia in LA" segues immediately after and features Bloch on violin. Side two opens up with the Italian-language "Cerco La Lingua" (Search for the Language). The instrumental "Meridiani" features Mussida on electric guitar, a rare treat. "Left-Handed Theory" is another vocal track, while "Traveller" concisely reprises the album. Jet Lag was a critical, although not commercial, success. Blending their Mediterranean blood with West Coast jazz-rock, PFM offered something fresh, never forgetting that they were a rock band; it remains one of our favorites. However, this was to be the end of an era. The band returned to Italy for their next album, Passpartu, again changing their focus, this time back to their Italian roots. It would be the last for Lanetti and subsequent albums from the band would have little to do with their progressive past.