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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Beppe Crovella

Pianovagando

Review by Gary Hill

I have to say that this is one of the most challenging reviews I’ve ever written. That’s because of the fact that we do track by track reviews of CD’s. For those in the know, Beppe Crovella is best known as the keyboardist for Italian prog outfit Arti E Mestieri. Here he has produced an album composed entirely of piano solos. If that didn’t make the track by track review concept difficult – and it did – there are fifty seven of them – all coming in with a short time range.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Birth
The opening piece is 41 seconds long. It's essentially an opening salvo that serves as the introduction to the next composition.
Gianfranco
This is a little less than three times the length of the opener. There is a more classical music element to this, but it’s no less delicate.
Over the Ocean
A little over a minute in length, this is decidedly jazz like and quite dramatic.
Montmartre
The first track to weigh in at over two minutes, this is another that has a definite classical bent to it. It seems a little melancholy, while still having some energy to it.
Waiting for a Star
Seeming to come out of the previous piece, this is not as sad. In fact, it becomes downright upbeat at points.
Aura
A playful, jazzy piece, this reminds me of Vince Guaraldi. At over two minutes in length, this is actually one of the longer cuts on the disc. 
Rain on Chet
As the title would make you imagine, raindrops feature prominently on this slow, rather bluesy number. 
Sulla Jeep
A little more rock oriented, I can see this as bringing comparisons to Rick Wakeman.
Farenheit
Here we get a forty four second piece that is delicate and evocative and quite pretty.
Mexicali
Energetic, this is quite pure jazz in its creation. It gets pretty intricate at points.
Ode
Pretty and rather delicate this again reminds me a bit of Guaraldi.
Sin Fronteras
An energetic and quite fun little number, this is tasty.
Giovane Angelo (Young Angel)
A two-minute piece, this makes me think of some of Beethoven's more delicate stuff in some ways.
Groove Hunter
With a title like that you’d expect this song to have a groove. It wouldn’t disappoint. Less than a minute in length, this dittie is very much a bluesy jazz romp.
Return of Emotion
As the title suggests, this is an evocative piece. It’s delicate and pretty and has a bit of a classical nature to it.
Studio 1
Here’s another that’s less than a minute long. It’s energetic and cool with a definite lounge jazz element to it.
Valzer del Tempo (The Time Waltz)
More melodic and classic (but not classical) in nature, I like this one a lot.
Shirahata Pond
Gentler and quite pretty, this is another tasty piano solo.
After-Love Solitude
We get a passionate and rather neo-classical approach to this number.
Three Sisters’ Joy
With more energy and snap it would be easy to imagine this sitting in the middle of a progressive rock arrangement. It’s fairly intricate and at times reminds me of Rick Wakeman.
S. Sebastiano
At times I’m reminded of a folky pop ballad. At other points I hear a child’s lullaby. Still I can almost imagine this as a Christmas song.
Berazategui
Intricate and playful there is quite a classical element to the track.
Amore Ritrovato
There’s sort of a pretty and emotional lounge lizard kind of feeling here.
Arturo E Jim
This comes in rocking, but then switches to a tasty jazz motif after a time. I like this a lot.
Spring is Here
Here we have a short (just over half a minute) and quite pretty classically oriented number.
Ruvido
I could imagine this number being part of a track by King Crimson. It’s twisty and oh so tasty. It’s got a couple interesting changes and alterations and is a little over two minutes in length.
3 Seconds
One might expect a song titled "3 Seconds" to be three-seconds long. This one is a little over two-minutes in length, though. It's a tasty piano solo with an emphasis on the rhythmic element.
Di Notte (By Night)
Shorter and slower, this is more classically based, but there are tinges of jazz in it.
Sit Procul Omne Nefas!
There’s a gentle and yet playful air to this piece.
Ginko 2
Sedate and quite beautiful, I like this one a lot. It gets more energetic and jazz-like later.
Back Home
There’s a more accessible, rock song, kind of element to this and it feels a bit like Rick Wakeman at times. There are also some definite classical music textures here.
Ercolano
Less than a minute and a half long, this is a classically styled piano song.
Cercando Il Percheggio
Water sounds (at least it sounds like noisy waves, or a garden hose spray) accompany this little dittie. It has a jazzy texture and some dissonance built into it.
Sopra le Onde
A more classical stomper, this is another tasty piano solo. There’s a definite honky tonk sensibility to this, too. There’s a short dissonant section on this one. 
Sagra Paesana (Village Festival)
The first track where it seems repetitive, I swear this little dittie shows up earlier. It’s one of the jazzy numbers on the set.
Ricordi...Quando (Do You Remember...When)
Less than thirty seconds in length, this is another that’s quite classical in nature. 
Pan di Spagna
Another playful piece, somehow this reminds me at times of Christmas music. There is also some classical music in this one.
Omiyage
Pretty and delicate, this is a nice balladic number.
Dick L'intrepido
There’s some serious drama and honky tonk bluesy elements pervade this jazzy piece. 
Ma Non ci Siamo Gia Visti? (Haven’t We Met Before?)
There’s a sort of naïveté to this piece of music. It’s pretty and quite delicate. 
Feet in the Air
Another that’s definitely jazz oriented, this has more of that honky tonk nature to it. It also gets a bit dissonant at times.
Ami 200
Pretty and rather delicate, this is definitely a more gentle number than the one that preceded it.
Goin' to the Club
With that title you might expect some dance song. Well, it’s not what you get. Instead this feels like a cross between progressive rock and jazz, but just on piano. 
Mattino con Nebbia (Foggy Morning)
A slower cut, this is rather tentative and yet it has a certain rock urgency to it, too. 
Snapshots
Frantic and angular this is full of starts and stops and feels very much like something Keith Emerson might do. It’s less than a minute in length.
I-Amis (Friends)
Here’s a cut that’s quite intricate and involved and definitely feels like it could have come out of a prog rock piece. The closing sequence reminds me of Rick Wakeman. 
Prime Tristezze
There’s a melancholy texture to this and it’s quite a pretty piece of music. There is definitely a classical music edge to it.
Senza Freni (With No Brakes)
Here’s another that makes me think of Keith Emerson. It’s quite jazz oriented and frantic and at least a little discordant. It actually gets quite dissonant at times.
A Richiesta di Franco (By Request From Franco)
A very melodic number, this somehow feels to me like it could have been the soundtrack to a TV series.
Aries
Dramatic and rather angry tones start this off. It works through some other melodies and it’s another cut that reminds me of Keith Emerson.
Heisei (Stillness)
Gentle and pretty, this is a stark contrast to the previous piece.
Montagne Russe (Roller Coaster)
A frenetic jazzy cut with the classical tinges, this reminds me at times of Keith Emerson, but at other points of Patrick Moraz. It’s a bit noisy and chaotic, but also quite cool.
Compuman
This pretty and melodic piece really feels to me like it was done earlier in the set. That said, this is only the second track that felt redundant to me. Considering the scope and magnitude of this set that’s impressive.
Funteria
A pretty and rather baroque textured number, this has some cool changes and more jazz and prog elements built into it here as it carries on. It’s one of the more dynamic cuts on show here. 
Invocation
There are some non-lyrical vocals deep in the mix at times here and this really feels like something lifted from a progressive rock album.
Stay Happy!
A jazzy, gospel sort of musical element fires up this track making it a unique one. I like this a lot. In fact, it’s one of my favorites on the set.
Avanti il Prossimo (Next!)
The disc is closed with a rather playful and yet gentle piece that’s quite pretty.
 
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