Saturday, August 15, 2009


One of the bands from the Cramps label, Arti & Mestieri from Turin were formed around 1974 by ex-Trip drummer Furio Chirico (he had previously played with I Ragazzi del Sole and Martò e i Judas) with other musicians from various musical experiences. Venegoni, Vigliar and Vitale had previously played with Il Sogno di Archimede, a jazzy-prog group.
Often playing with Area, they shared with them the same interest in fusing jazz-rock with prog elements, and their first album, Tilt, is a very good result, even if the limited vocal parts were their weakest point. The album includes only two vocal tracks, and the rest is mainly instrumental.

The group had a good live activity, supporting the likes of PFM and even Gentle Giant, as demonstrated by the good and now deleted Live CD released in 1990 (another live CD with a different 1974 recording has been released in 2002, see below for details).
On the second album, 1975's Giro di valzer per domani, a singer was added, Gianfranco Gaza from Procession, and the album has a much better sound and production than the previous one, in a similar style as the previous one but with stronger jazz rock influences. Two of the album's best cuts, the instrumental Valzer per domani and the vocal Saper sentire were also released as a single.

In 1979 another Arti & Mestieri album was released, Quinto stato, always led by Chirico but with a different line-up and more in a mainstream jazz-rock vein, while subsequent releases strongly veered towards fusion.
Fourth album, Acquario, is not a live album as declared on the front cover, just a live-in-studio recording. Like its follower, Children's blues, it was released on a small label with local distribution only.

Guitarist Venegoni also released two solo albums on Cramps as Venegoni & Co., always in the same jazz-rock style as later Arti & Mestieri.
Drummer Furio Chirico has continued playing and teaching his instrument, also releasing solo albums and some drum playing tutorials. He's the first Italian drummer ever playing at the Modern Drummer Festival in USA (2002 edition).
Keyboardist Crovella has played and taken production role on new prog bands' albums such as Romantic Warriors, Tower, Mosaic.

A revived Arti & Mestieri with original members Venegoni, Crovella, Gallesi and Chirico aided by Marco Cimino (from Errata Corrige, he had already joined the band on Quinto Stato, both he and Gallesi were also in Esagono) and violinist Corrado Trabuio released a new CD Murales in 2001 on the small Electromantic label. Mostly instrumental and somehow influenced by jazz and world music, the CD also includes reworkings of a couple of tracks from the early albums, Gravità 9,81 and Nove lune prima.
Fans of the early Arti & Mestieri will be delighted to know of a recent CD release called Articollezione, a compilation of unreleased tracks from their first period, more in a progressive style than later works.

Another very nice recent release is the double Live 1974/2000 CD. As the title suggests it includes a whole 1974 concert (all the tracks from the previous Vinyl Magic Live CD are included here along with some more, but taken from a different concert) while the second CD is dedicated to 1999 and 2000 live recordings.

Summer 2003 has seen the group playing with a new line-up with expanded vocal capabilities, Arti & Mestieri appeared at ProgDay 2003, in North Carolina, at the end of August.
Founder members Furio Chirico and Beppe Crovella are now helped by Corrado Trabuio (violin, vocals), Slep (guitar, vocals) and Roberto Cassetta (bass, vocals), and they have a powerful live show entirely based on their 1974-75 albums... a welcome return!
The 2004 album by Arti & Mestieri, recorded by the new line-up, is Progday special, a 4-track CD collecting old tracks recorded live in studio to promote the band in their new journey abroad. The Electromantic label has also released in 2004 the first solo album by the original bass player Marco Gallesi, entitled Riff.
In 2005 another new studio work, called Estrazioni, and strongly connected with the earlier productions starting with its cover design. The record includes some tracks composed for a never released third album in 1977 along with more recent compositions, and is on a varied level but very promising indeed. The new line-up includes Marco Roagna (guitar) replacing Slep, and Alfredo Ponissi (sax), along with a guest appearance by the original guitarist Gigi Venegoni. The band is augmented in concert by guests Warren Dale on sax and flute and singer Iano Nicolò, frontman of the group Cantina Sociale, from Piedmont.

Also in 2005 the band played in Japan, at Tokyo's Club Città, and a live CD taken from those concerts, entitled First live in Japan, has been released at the end of 2006.

A box set meant to celebrate the first album Tilt and the entire group's career, entitled 33 was finally released in early 2008, a nice package including an LP, a CD, 2 DVD's and various inserts.

In 2009 Arti e Mestieri are working on a concept album entitled Piramidi - Quadri di un'esplorazione, inspired from the life of the explorer Giovanni Belzoni, and an EP, Il grande Belzoni, was taken from the forthcoming album


marram62 said...

marram62 said...

Arti e Mestieri biography
Outstanding fusion band from Italy. All the power delivered by the insane drumming of Furio CHIRICO is counterpointted by the beautiful violin passages, as well as the killer guitar work. On their early albums, ARTI e MESTIERI made a dynamic, complex and elaborately crafted rock, folk, and fusion blend, that featured much violin and keyboards.

ARTI & MESTIERI, considered one of the most influent cult bands in the italian and european prog scene will astonish the audience confirming, 25 years after its release, that "TILT" is still a milestone for two generations of fans. Both albums that came out on CD, "Tilt" and "Giro Di Valzer Per Domani", are real masterpieces of the genre. A real must for all fusion lovers

marram62 said...

3.98 | 22 ratings | 23% 5 stars

Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Valzer per Domani (2:12)
2. Mirafiori (5:55)
3. Saper Sentire (4:40)
4. Nove luna prima (0:55)
- Da Nord a sud ()*
- Nove luna dopo ()*
5. Mescal (2:00)
6. Mescalero (0:35)
7. Dimensione terra (1:30)
8. Aria pesante (3:53)
9. Consapevolezza parte 1 (3:22)
10. Sagra (3:06)
11. Consapevolezza parte 2(1:12)
12. Rinuncia (2:48)
13. Marilyn (2:40)
14. Terminal (2:20)

* Bonus tracks not on original lp.

Total Time: 39:14
Line-up / Musicians

- Furio Chirico / drums, percussion
- Beppe Crovella / keyboards, mellotron
- Marco Gallesi / bass
- Gigi Venegoni / guitar, synthetizers
- Giovanni Vigliar / violin, vocals, percussions
- Arturo Vitale / sax, clarinets, vibraphone, vocals, clavinet
- Gaza Gianfranco / vocals