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Fabrizio La Piana

Almond and Coffee

Review by Gary Hill

Those looking for actual progressive rock will probably want to steer clear, but there are a few moments that come really close. We generally land fusion under prog, so that's why this is here. Really, what is fusion, but a combination of jazz and rock. It seems that if the balance is more on the rock end it qualifies as jazz rock (a sub-genre of prog) and if it's more on the jazz end, it's fusion. They have similar audiences and similar sound profiles.

In any event, this instrumental set is quite strong. It has some stuff that feels a bit free-form, but never to the point of seeming dissonant. There is a lot of powerful instrumental work, but it never loses sight of the whole picture or gets noodly. All in all, if you like cool instrumental fusion that covers a decent amount of ground, you should give this a try.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Funky Song
This is well titled as the cut is particularly funky. I love the extended bass solo mid-track, but the whole cut just has such a great groove. The guitar solo is out of this world, too. What a scorcher this track is!
Almond and Coffee
A bit mellower and less direct, there are some cool melodies and musical excursions built into this tasty fusion piece. It feels just a bit freeform. It's quite classy and diverse.
Forte
Built around a bit more of an energized platform, I can make out some blues in the mix on this stomper. There are things here that make me think of King Crimson a bit, too. That's particularly true of some of the guitar work. It wanders into some trippy space, too.
Pulice
Starting rather melodic, this gradually grows out toward more rocking territory. It has some seriously soaring and powerful fusion in the mix. It works back toward more sedate and reflective stuff beyond that. There is some wandering that seems to lean toward freeform at times.  It gets a bit more intense as it builds back outward.
50-50
This has some funk built into it. It makes good usage of the balance between more rocking and mellower sounds. This is classy and classic fusion. There is some pretty awesome bass and guitar interplay on this killer tune.        
Interlude
This is an odd, spacey, trippy kind of thing. It has some bits of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in the distance while percussion wails in the foreground. There are some other weird elements at play here and there adding to the otherworldly vibe.
Rokin
A bit exploratory, this cut wanders around the mellower end of the park. It's solid stuff for sure.
 
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