Premiata Forneria Marconi — Live www.pfmpfm.it (il Best)
(Columbia PCCY-01633, 1998, 2CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01PFM’s long return to the international stage was built up over several years of new recordings and prestigious live performances. With four essential members consistently in the line-up it also meant that much of the band’s older material would be revisited, somewhat re-worked and presented to fans who had never heard the material live let alone dream to see the primo Italian legacy act on the stage. Due to the fact that this live recording across two concerts is in front of an appreciative homeland audience, the band’s performance level is heightened and comfortable. Best group acoustic performances include the short introduction to “Il Bancheto” as well as “Dove... Quando” and “Dolcissima Maria.” The first piece is a light folkish vocal track which the band takes to heart easily. The last track is the Italian version of “Just Look Away” where Phil Drummy’s rendering of the trademark flute part shines through like a clear beacon. Best individual performances include guitarist Franco Mussida’s emotive solo acoustic guitar introduction to “Out of the Roundabout” (one of the highlights of the Chocolate Kings era). The main piece itself sports some wood flute accompaniment in the introduction with drummer Franz di Cioccio crooning the English vocal lines effectively. The hefty paced tempo change in the midsection is also handled well with violinist Stefano Tavernese and additional sax lines adding good melodic counterpart. Mussida’s lead guitar rave up on “Alta Loma 5 til 9/Altaloma 98” is also especially poignant as each stage incarnation of the song retains much of seasoned player’s on target expressive lead lines that have matured decisively over the years. Disc two is characterized by more recent material including a strong take on the title track to Ulisse and “QT8.” Longtime bassist Patrick Djivas gets a well deserved solo spot in the former song that allows for audience participation. “Il Cavallo de Legno” is a newer contrasting song that displays an almost Celtic flavor due to Drummy’s bansouri accompaniment. Since I was finally able to see the band at the Progressive Legends Showcase in 2005 doing much of this material, I am glad that the band is still playing with the same intensity it did seven years prior.
Related artist(s): Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more