ZAAL is an extraordinary recording from talented composer
AGOSTINO MACOR, the brilliant keyboardist of FINISTERRE, HOSTSONATEN and LA MASCHERA DI CERA.
Surrounded by some of his usual colleagues as well as a
few new guys, the crafty composer suggests a jazzier side
to his usual heavy symphonic gig with weighty use of the
When a progressive disc starts off with a 51 second intro
with some superlative ivory work, you know this is going
to be joyride.
The 8 minute plus "Zelig" is a stunning work with intense
cello and supple violin fillets on a bed of lush mellotron
and sweet synthesizer, another dash of tangy piano,
the prolific FABIO ZUFFANTI on bass and some wonderfully
ornate drum work from Federico Foglia as sides.
On the masterful epic "Il Destino di Haghia Sofia", Macor
shoves this straight into pure jazz confines with liberal use
of Fender Rhodes , tagging along with some highly
Pontyesque violin forays from Sergio Caputo,
some exemplary furrowing bass by MAURIZIO BAVASTRO
as well as Foglia 's relentless work.
"La Lama" is a minute long reflective piano etude that
breathes and pants, a stellar example of passionate restraint.
The next track is called "Progress", pfff what a title!
The mood goes head first into some seriously experimental symphonic Prog with strings ablaze, a hint of harpsichord,
ornately buzzing synths as well as Finisterre's soaring
STEFANO MARELLI on lead guitar all tossed into the melee,
a musical antipasto adding bursts of saxophone to provide
This final supreme instrument is the showcase on "Naan",
a vibrant follow-up to the previous madness, a meanderingly
sexy solo courtesy of Paolo Pezzi that has a cool, relaxed
authority about it that just exudes class.
Aaah! What, I dialed a wrong number?
Well, this is a recording after all and "Il Cannocchiale"
is a Macor Fender Rhodes and a Marelli e-bow guitar
theatrical duet with French and then German spoken
Hey, Robert, Stefano can "tronic" too!
Simply brilliant stuff, constantly in search of the edge.
"Cinquequarti" smartly revisits the jazz quartet pattern
with Bavastro's bopping bass foraging assuredly,
Caputo's catskin caressing the violin strings with sheer
impunity and Macor weaving some additional piano magic.
Blending briefly into the mellotron infested "Limbo".
The final piece is "Sul Mutamento", a classy 7.23 minute
epic that showcases all the combined talent amassed
by Macor and his "amici", a keyboard fest with piano,
Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Mellotron and synthesizer all taking
a bow in the spotlight.
Caputo takes a little violent ride with later Marelli going
for a mellow exit.
Though most probably a one-shot "solo" album that is
miles away from his normal style, Agostino Macor
certainly has a side project that is most worthy of pursuing.
Certainly hard to resist for fans of ISP and for those
discerning proggers who like a little class with their music.
Review by tszirmay