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lunes, 28 de marzo de 2016

Agorà - Agorà 2 (1976)

Anunciando el primer posteo que ya hizo nuestra cabezona Vicky (ya tiene listo un post con el "Nature" de Tetragon), vamos con un comentario de ella sobre el segundo disco de Agorà, una banda tana de jazz rock que nos ha presentado nuestra cabezona y del que ya hemos traído su primer disco.

Artista: Agorà
Álbum: Agorà 2
Año: 1976
Género: Rock progresivo italiano / Jazz rock
Duración: 40:15
Nacionalidad: Italia

Lista de Temas:
1. Punto Rosso
2. Pyramid di Domani
3. Tall El Zaatar
4. La Bottega di Duilio
5. Simbiosi (Vasi Comunicanti)
6. Cavalcota Solare

- Roberto Bacchiocchi / keyboards, vocals
- Ovidio Urbani / saxophone
- Renato Gasparini / guitar, vocals
- Lucio Cesari / bass, percussion
- Mauro Mencaroni / drums, vocals
- Nino Russo / saxophone, percussion

Estos tanos tocaron un jazz-rock muy influenciado por los gustos de Weather Report o por los italianos Perigeo, grupo de jazz rock que hizo incursiones en los sonidos progresivos. En éste segundo disco, los tanos se orientan mucho mas al jazz-rock. He aquí el comentario de Vicky, nuestra reclusa artista pero efusiva comentadora de discos.

Y acá estamos con otro extraordinario trabajo de Agorà!! Éste es el primer disco de estudio que grabaron (publicado en 1976) y el segundo dentro de su discografía. Para este álbum hubo un par de cambios en la formación: Lucio Cesari reemplazó a Paolo Colafrancesco en el bajo y se sumó la participación de Nino Russo como saxofonista.
Creo que si les gustó Live In Montreux (el primer LP), éste les va a gustar aún más: está más orientado al jazz rock todavía, con muchas influencias de John Coltrane y Miles Davis, además de bandas como Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra o Return To Forever. Live In Montreux, esa breve y deslumbrante actuación, es una excelente preparación para lo que en aquel momento se estaba por venir. Como el anterior, también se trata de un disco totalmente instrumental, compuesto por seis canciones soberbias, llenas de ideas muy melódicas y creativas. El álbum abre con “Punto Rosso”, la cual comienza con un teclado delicioso al que luego se le suman el resto de los instrumentos, sumergiéndonos en el maravilloso mundo del jazz rock. Es evidente la química que hay entre los músicos: los solos de saxo y de guitarra que atraviesan esta canción, las líneas de bajo, los teclados y la percusión que sustentan el tema, todo es sencillamente espectacular! En canciones como “Piramide di Domani” (la única canción donde aparece una guitarra acústica dentro de estos dos discos) o en Simbiosi (Vasi Comunicanti) es donde más se generan atmósferas tranquilas y ricas en melodía. En “Tall El Zaatar” me parece especialmente destacable el fantástico trabajo de bajo y de batería, aunque toda la instrumentación es bellísima. En líneas generales, en todo el disco hay un montón de partes muy conmovedoras y con mucho, mucho vuelo. Les aseguro que cada segundo de este disco vale la pena, ni duden en llevárselo!

La verdad, los tipos no tuvieron mucha repercusión y sus sonidos no fueron guardados por el tiempo, y por ello en el bglog cabezón nos gusta rescatar éstas buenas bandas ya desaparecidas, así como dar a conocer las nuevas propuestas, para que todo lo bueno que está oculto salga a la luz más allá del poder de los mercados y que nuestras almas logren disfrutar del verdadero arte, que no conoce de tiempos, de fronteras ni de financieras.
He aquí algunos otros comentarios en inglés... y miren que los próximos cometarios de Vicky ya lo hará ella solita. ¡Como crecen nuestros cabezones!

AGORA were a six piece Jazz band from Italy. This album was released in 1976 and I concur with what is stated on the "Gepr" site, that their music is "similar to PERIGEO's better stuff".
"Punto Rosso" opens with electric piano as a fuller sound comes in quickly. Impressive ! Reminds me of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. Some excellent drum work here before it settles again. Sax comes blasting in before 2 1/2 minutes. There's so much going on .The guitar a minute later is fantastic. "Piramid Di Domani" has some atmosphere to open as acoustic guitar comes in. We get a melody 2 1/2 minutes in. The rest of the song is such a pleasure to listen to. "Tall El Zaatar" features intricate drumming with sax and electric piano early. It settles right down 3 minutes in then starts to build a minute later. Love the drumming ! The guitar 6 minutes in is great, very intricate and tasteful.
"La Bottega Di Duilio" has these solemn sax melodies before it kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. Some nice guitar and drum work as sax plays over top. More impressive guitar 4 minutes in as the bass throbs. "Simbiosi (Vasi Comunicanti)" is a sad song with mellow piano and sax throughout. There is a brief outburst before 4 1/2 minutes. "Cavalcota Solare" is a great way to end this album. It's like everything is being held back here, lots of tension. A brief flurry 3 minutes in but it settles quikly. The next outburst is after 4 minutes as the guitar rips it up. And again after 6 1/2 minutes but it stays uptempo this time. I like everything about this track.
So 4 stars is a must for this extremely well played and arranged music.
John Davie

If the post-74 years were not exactly kind to progressive rock, jazz-rock still thrived. Every country seemed to sprout multiple bands daring their hand at it, and while not reaching the ground-breaking levels of creativity and originality of the early 70's pioneers, many amazing albums continued to be released. Also this one from the Italian band Agora.
Agora only released two albums, this studio album and a short live document that preceded it. In every possible way, Agora 2 is a perfection of the potential they had shown on the preceding live album. Weather Report and Perigeo (another Italian fusion band) are the main sources for inspiration on this sax and keyboard dominated fusion album. There is a guitar player as well but his presence remains more subtle then the rock-out dominance of a John McLaughnin or Al DiMeola.
The album has a rich atmosphere, relaxed, melancholic and mysterious, just as on Weather Report's first two albums. The music is very harmonious, not as free-styled as Weather Report but not too melodic neither. To sum it up, it found a nice balance between musicianship, ambience, gracefully drifting compositions and accessibility. The interplay between the musicians is amazing, constantly changing lead sections as if in dialogue with one another.
Agora is hardly the most original band out there, but they sure crafted a brilliant and moving jazz-rock album. A recommended entry point into the more atmospheric realm of fusion.

Although Agora's 2 might imply a predecessor, this was actually their first studio output. Agora's first album was Live at Montreux; even if they hadn't released anything yet, Agora had earned respect enough to have played the prestigious jazz festival. That should hopefully say something about the band's quality as performers. Try to imagine what the Mahavishnu Orchestra may have sounded like if John McLaughlin had favoured the keys over the electric guitar, and you should have a pretty good idea what these Italian fusioneers sound like. Barring a compilation called Ichinen they released earlier this year, 2 is to date the only 'true' full-length Agora have ever put out. It's a real shame too, because this is one of the strongest 'surprise finds' I've found in fusion for quite some time.
Jazz fusion (and prog fusion in particular) has the tendency to go one of two ways. It's either stark and challenging in its intent or smooth and relaxing; artists that can find a strong balance between the two (IE: Miles Davis circa "In a Silent Way" or Mahavishnu Orchestra) tend to have the greatest effect on me as a listener. Agora never seems to stray needlessly, but the music often feels driven more by exploration than composition. The saxophone and Rhodes piano are given the most range here, with the thoughtfully melodic leads of the former generally paving the way on most of the songs here. Somewhat surprisingly, the band I may be most reminded of listening to Agora is Van der Graaf Generator; even if Van der Graaf Generator only ever flirted with the jazz world, there are plenty of similarities in the way Agora have given their music a dark tone in spite of the typically 'bright' instruments that have been used to portray it.
Even during the album's most laid-back passages, Agora offer plenty to keep the attentive listener occupied. The approach to composition has clearly been designed with the intent of giving the instrumentation room to breathe and explore, but the way the music will always fall back on thick, band-oriented harmonies keeps the album feeling focused. Other reviews of 2 I've read tend to state that Agora have written something ambient or 'background-ish' here. In a way, most jazz music has a potential to be considered that way. As is the case with many creatively successful bands of their type, there's both atmosphere and detail on 2 to satisfy the ambient and attentive listeners alike. Although I suppose the point's invalidated with Ichinen to some extent, I'm really disappointed Agora never put out more records. It's not often a 'new' jazz band impresses me like this; if you're any bit into the Mahavishnu Orchestra, the jazzier end of Van der Graaf Generator or the classic sound of prog-fusion in general, check out this album and see what you think of it.
Conor Fynes

Upon returning from the performance in Montreux back to Italy, Agora would have a first line-up change with bassist Paolo Colafrancesco replaced by Lucio Cesari (who would also play some percussion), while Nino Russo was added as a second saxophonist.It was time for the band's studio debut, simply titled ''2'', captured at the CAP Studios in Milan during a two-week session in September 76' and released later in the year on Atlantic.
Agora always played on the more free side of Jazz Rock and electric Fusion and ''2'' marks another confident set of performances by the Italian group, including hot keyboard solos, reckless guitar moves and endless sax passages, some lovely and melodic solos to go along with more improvised parts can be found in the album, which contained only brand new compositions.Agora's music was based on soft rhythmic patterns surrounded by occasional solos by the instrumentalists, never escaping from the principles of RETURN TO FOREVER and the likes, so originality is not a matter of discussion here, even the acoustic moments are close to the sound of Chick Corea and his company.But the music is fairly interesting with great bass and drum work, naughty electric piano and full-blown saxes, as the guitars play a secondary role, too pitty, because Gasparini's are pretty excellent but very limited.They even execute some acquainted methods on tropical and sunny Fusion, filled with ethereal sax blows and dreamy piano, often complemented by dramatic breaks and more powerful executions.Music, that displays same rare dynamics in its own path through mellow and balanced Jazz Rock.
Another cool attempt by Agora on the Return to Forever stylings.Solid Jazz Fusion with a free spirit but also a certain sense of melodic sensibilty.Strongly recommended...3.5 / 5 stars.

I am still a novice in the jazz genre and is desperate fighting my urges to become an out and out jazz fan.
There is something in jazz that appeals to me. In particular when it is done by Soft Machine and the Canterbury bands. Those bands who mixes jazz and British prog rock. Agora from Italy on the other hand is mixing jazz with RPI. The result is not many miles away from my reference point in this genre; the almighty Soft Machine.
Agora's bass is the bass, drums and the organs. On this platform, the saxophones can weave their magic melodies. The saxophones is not as straight in your face and intense as I am used to from other jazz bands. But they are there and they really makes this album. But the organs is also great and I really love this interactions between saxophone and organs on this album. Just listen to the second song Pyramid di Domani and you will get my point.
The quality of the material on this album is great from the beginning to the end. I had no clue who this band was when I bought this album on the basis of it being listed here. But this album has given me a lot of joy during the last days. Agora is another great Italian band and high in my estimations.
4/5 stars
PS: When will I come out of the closet as a jazz fan ? Well, read into this review whatever you want.

Agora studio performance, with a great fusion atmosphere. In Perigeo vein, this Italian band are one of the best made in this country, with a great guitar and drumer players. Great improvisations in some parts, and great melodious in another's, made this album a masterpieace in Europe Jazz Fusion and particulary in Italy fusion bands. Some jazz drums parts, are very difficult to play and show us the great performance of this musician. Great guitar player and great keyboard palyer, and they made a very good fusion atmosphere, in 70 years. If sound is nothing specialy, we must see that in 70 years, the records studio in Italy don't have the high quality just like Great Britain studios, but the great quality of music work is superb and made this album a masterpiece of European Jazz Fusion Progressive. I give 5 stars and this band did not pass payed no attention in Montreux organization. Great album to Jazz Prog Fans.
João Paulo

Ya lo saben, o lo deberían saber, los links de descarga ya no van a ser publicados, y los que quedan los iremos sacando de a poco. Si no estás en la lista de correo, es hora de que te apuntes.

5 comentarios:

  1. Respuestas
    1. Si, gracias a vicky pr el aporte! estamos haciendo un dream team en el staff del blog cabezón!

      Y ya que estamos, les comento a todos que Joab es el último miembro cabezón, incorporado recientemente (hoy) y que dentro de poco podrán disfrutar de sus aportes. Bienvenido Joab a participar del blog cabezón!

  2. Many thanks for all those wonderful records. And cogratulations on your move to the closed list! I don't speak Spanish and after some trial and error finally figured out how to access the new Group, which works fine. You're really putting a lot of work into your project, I'm very thankful for your musical knowledge & enthusiasm!

    1. Thanks friend!
      If in doubt, you should be written and ask, I will leave you the mail of Calle Neptuno for any inquiry and question, he is one of the administrators of the blog and mailing list and understands English, and he It helps you with any problems you stumble.
      The CalleNep's mail: calleneptuno@gmail.com

      Regards, my friend Horst!

  3. Thanks for the offered help, but now I'm able to handle the list well. Agora is fantastic, by the way.


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Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
Si no estás de acuerdo con lo expresado podrás dejar tu comentario siempre que no sea ofensivo, discriminador o violento...

Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).