Maybe Italy is well-known for Classical and Symphonic Progressive Rock sound in the early ‘70s from the state that gave VDGG, ELP, Genesis, and Gentle Giant the word of mouth they received a huge following in their hometown whilst eating a pasta dinner of Spaghetti and Pizza and enjoying the movies of Federico Fellini’s 8½, I Vitelloni, and La Strada. Go underneath the lost treasures of Italian Prog before diving into yourself into a combining mix of Italy’s answer to Gentle Giant, Curved Air, and Jethro Tull, Quella Vecchia Locanda. Formed in 1970 as a quintet, the band started had a huge following as a pop band on the compilation album, Progressive Voyage and did live gigs at the beginning of ’71. The band is a five piece featuring American violinist, who was an answer to Darryl Way; featured Giorgio Giorgi on vocals and flute, Raimondo Maria Cocco on guitar, Massimo Rosseli on keyboards, Romualdo Coletta on bass, Patrick Traina on drums, and violinist Donald Lax. The first self-titled debut album, released in 1972, it’s a brave underground album to meld the three bands in England and mix it up with classical violin solos, keyboard swirling, and heavy guitar sounds, featuring a magnificent cover that will blow your mind.
If you imagine and close your eyes and dream that this Italian quintet were opening for Yes and blowing the crowd away and coming back for three encores and taking Yes’ show and making it theirs dressing up as if they were Peter Gabriel’s kid brothers in wizard’s clothing. From the moment of Lax’s enormous violin introduction of the opener, Prologo, you’ll understand that this band is not stopping the rollercoaster ride. Adding the orchestral, rock, and jazz fusion technique while making a tribute to the Italian trio, Le Orme, it’s very good along with the vocals and different time signatures and you are at the right time at the right place. Un Villaggio, Un Illusione has the Tull and Focus tribute as the Giorgi’s flute comes in and Lax’s mad scientific playing of the violin is worth the wait, this is a kick-ass track while Realta pays tribute to an Italian Folk version of Premiata Forneria Marconi.
On Immagini Sfuocate, it starts off with Rosseli’s keyboards going SWOOOOOSSH!!! making more Avant-garde as the band go for a crescendo to give it a introductory climax and then it becomes a Hard Rock Guitar layered composition done by Raimondo while drummer Patrick Traina is doing a tribute to John Bonham as if they were paying homage to Led Zeppelin as it segues to Il Cieco which is very chaotic. It starts off with an up tempo beat and then it becomes very Baroque with the flute going fucking apeshit in the midsection as the beat becomes dynamic to go back into the Proto-Metal meets Johann Sebastian Bachtechnique to close the song up. Diagolo is very much the homage to ELP with a lot of high voltage hanging around the band to come up with some swirling keyboard moments as the bass and guitar do a stop and go movements to keep the time changes flowing while Verso La Locanda is a nightmarish hell that would have made Keith Emerson mind-boggled on the arrangement with the Classical atmosphere and sonic fast time beats.
The closer, Sogno, Risveglio E..., is a piano ballad along with the mellotron done by Massimo Roselli who brings the ingredients to the table to do a concerto as Lax’s violin come in along with Giordi’s flute composition to make a lukewarm calm after the storm song that is almost a mourning song that makes you enjoy Quella Vecchia Locanda.