Metamorphosis by Oscar Rocchi & Tullio De Piscopo
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Released by Spettro Records. Ltd to 500 worldwide.
The early Eighties marked a transition in popular music, especially for a generation of musicians (still heavily influenced by the previous decade) trying to assimilate the changes in aesthetics and technology which were occurring. Disco music is dead, so is prog, synths are still too expensive and unreliable, jazz is lost somewhere and the term “fusion” has become really popular. This the environment in which this album – released in 1981 by library music label Ring – was recorded by a bunch of jazz players and session men from the Milan area, led by pianist Oscar Rocchi and world famous drummer Tullio De Piscopo (respectively credited for seven and four tracks of the album). The stellar line-up features bass player Julius Farmer (from New Orleans), guitarist Sergio Farina, Argentinean sax and flute player Hugo Heredia and Cicci Santucci (trumpet and saxcorn). “Metamorphosis” is not the typical fragmented collection – something pretty common in the world of library music; this is a body of heterogeneous songs with a common ground, a solid body of work (which would surely fit in De Piscopo’s and Rocchi’s personal discographies). The genre is fusion, still positively influenced by jazz-funk (no muzak effect here!) but also following the impulse to experiment typical of the most progressive jazz-rock. De Piscopo is in top shape (it’s not a coincidence that, in 1981, “Vai Mo” by Pino Daniele was also released), sporting a bit less exuberant style of playing compared to his jazz albums of the same period – so he sounds really effective and sharp. With Farmer (who was playing with Dr. John and Professor Longhair before moving to Italy) he makes one of the best rhythm sections of Italian music of the Seventies and Eighties (if you’re not convinced, just listen to “Carta Straccia” and “America Good-Bye”, two amazing pop albums with a funk soul).