Maxophone - s/t. 1975 Italy


Maxophone - s/t. 1975 Produttori Associati; 1975 PAUSA (USA - English version)

Back to documenting the existing collection....

CD reissues: 1992 Crime (Japan); 1993 Nices (Korea); 1997 Mellow; 2005 Arcangelo (Japan mini-LP); 2008 BTF (mini-LP) ; 2011 Belle Antique (Japan mini-LP)

CD reissues (for English version): 1993 Mellow; 2008 BTF (mini-LP)

LP reissues: 1988 Crime (Japan); 1993 Si-Wan (Korea); 2010 BTF

Packaging: The original album is housed in a splendid gatefold cover. True Italian originals are scarce and in demand, like all original progressive rock albums from there. Expect to pay north of $300 for a nice one. Watch out for German originals on the same label. Some dealers like to sneak those in as originals - which they are - but still not quite the same (though I might add - would still make a great addition to the collection - and costs about 33% of the real thing). You can distinguish by the catalog number, and that the label is orange instead of the original black (the original is the first photo). The English version was released in America on the California based PAUSA (Produttori Associati USA) label (second scan). Like most folks here, this was my introduction to the album, and while it wasn't common, finding copies for under $5 in the used bins in the 80s and 90s wasn't unheard of either. Usually with a big fat sawcut in it and major ringwear too. These US pressings can still be found for a reasonable price, but not super cheap as in the past (thus eliminating any need for an LP repress of the English version). Like most Italian albums, hearing the English language version is going to be an inferior experience. And as such, I wasn't overly impressed, but kept it around long enough to replace it with the first CD to hit the market which was the Japanese Crime version. Now I could hear the album as it was originally intended in glorious Italian, and the album jumped a couple of points as a result. I eventually replaced that version with the first Japanese mini-LP that replicates the original down to the last detail (including a rare sticker). The CD is from Vinyl Magic of Italy and pressed in 2000 (though oddly I'm not finding that version in the discographies online). Starting with the '97 Mellow release, all the reissues feature the rare 45 single from 1977 as a bonus (taken from vinyl). Maxophone's album, whether on reissue LP and CD, is easily available today. Maybe one day I'll get the Italian original, but it's not of the highest priority right now.

Notes: Late to the game, Maxophone's album missed the heyday of the Italian progressive rock movement by about two years. To add more doubt, Produttori Associati was a pop label that hadn't shown much interest in progressive rock, having only released the very obscure jazz rock Duello Madre album prior. Despite these setbacks, Maxophone's sole album is a fastball-down-the-middle for the style. Everything is here: Complex compositions, memorable melodies, dizzying meters, large symphonic sound, a myriad of analog keyboards (incl. Hammond organ, piano), biting electric guitar leads, soft acoustic guitar soundscapes, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, French Horn, tuned percussion, and fantastic vocals in Italian. If you're a fan of the style, then it's hard to imagine Maxophone not satisfying on many levels. As is usually the case, be careful not to judge based on the English language version. Hear it in Italian, as it was originally intended, and then draw your conclusion. The 1977 45 single (added as a bonus to later reissues) is geared more towards orchestrated pop, and it clearly shows Maxophone had walked away from progressive rock by then, as just about everyone else in Italy had during those days.

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