Sjef Oellers 28-April-2001 Ping Pong

This is a weird album. I expected this to be jazz rock, but the lack of musical direction is even worse than on some New Trolls albums. The opening track, "Il Miracolo", is a pretty horrible pop ballad. Candlelight stuff. The next track, "Plastica e Petrolio", is difficult to classify: a bit jazzy, the Italian band Delirium comes to mind, although in the middle the sax does some almost free jazz noodling. A short Soft Machine-like riff enters but too soon they return to the refrain of the song. The third track is a ballad again, with some orchestration and cloying flute. Candlelight stuff again, but the spacey, jazzy interlude in the middle part of the song is quite nice. "Il Castello" has a slightly sinister and at the same time slightly funky feel to it. Orchestration is added to enhance the dark atmosphere, but then out of nowhere, a straight jazz (a bit like Miles Davis on Milestones) intermezzo enters, and after some time the opening theme returns. The fifth track is a ballad again, sounding much more pleasant this time. Quite folky and sounding very similar to Celeste. The best track is the 10 minute "Suite in 4 Tempi". It opens with some very nice, well played jazz rock (flute, guitar and piano solos). In the middle section the song slows down to a lovely acoustic, melancholic folk song. But almost effortlessly the song becomes jazzier once more. Done quite well. My only minor complaint is a short and not very interesting drum solo. The seventh song, "Viene Verso di Me", is again chameleon-like from a musical viewpoint. It starts as a lovely acoustic folk song, but the refrain is formed around an ELP Hammond riff. Next, a Roland Rahsaan Kirk-type flute solo comes in briefly, but then the ELP riff returns again, etc. Good track. The last song "Caro Giuda" sounds like another band and it's total crap. It sounds like a bad Eurovision Songfestival song. Horrible. Despite the fact that there is some great music on the album, I have to say that it is extremely uneven in quality. Proceed with caution

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