Arti + Mestieri - Tilt. 1974 Italy

Arti + Mestieri's debut is a combination of the international fusion sound that had taken on like wildfire across Europe in the early 1970s - with traditional Italian prog rock compositions and themes. And with wonderful soft affected Italian vocals. It's the latter element that makes this album special. Unfortunately it's also the minority stakeholder, and thus the album is dominated by the instrumental musicianship. To their credit, Arti + Mestieri are more melodic than most bands in the jazz rock field, and with Furio Chirico behind the drum kit, one wants to buy a ticket just to watch him go bananas with the drum sticks. The album is 2 parts fusion and 1 part Italian prog. Had it been a reverse ratio, the album would have been a true masterpiece in my estimation. As it stands, it's merely just excellent. Without a doubt, an essential album for fans of both fusion and progressive rock.

Personal collection
LP: 1974 Cramps
CD: 1989 Vinyl Magic

One of the earliest "non big name" Italian prog albums I've owned, having found my first copy in a local record store in the late 1980s. Over the years, I've had a few of these (mostly long sold), and picked up on a curious bit of minutiae that I shared on Discogs recently, and will here as well: "There are at least two covers for this: One has "Distribuzione Dischi Ricordi spa Made in Italy". This cover is shorter by a half inch than the traditional size. The other has "Made in Italy/Distribut. Baby Records srl Milano - P.zza Repubblica 26 - Tel. (02) 6571402-6571491" This cover is a normal size. Both have the same time stamp etched in the vinyl, and the same inner sleeve. And the same catalog number (not the 1978 reissue)" And why would this be? Because many albums in Europe were pressed in different plants at the same time to meet production demands. So there's these interesting little details that have emerged over the years. In any case I kept the normal size cover, primarily because it was in better condition. The website Italian prog says the Baby Records version was issued in 1975. Apparently true first presses come with a cardboard funnel and a poster, but I've never owned one myself. The CD on Vinyl Magic is nondescript but does the job, and is one of the few Italian CDs in my collection I have yet to upgrade. It's just a matter of time.

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