Osanna - Milano Calibro 9 (1972)

Back in February 1995, I was in Eugene, Oregon at the Eugene Hilton. There was a record convention being held there. It was quite an event, because unlike record stores, I kept running in to people I never knew where I was openly able to talk music to them (because the event seemed to consist of more serious collectors, rather than college kids who, at the time, thought that music began and ended with Kurt Cobain). While there, I noticed an OSANNA album, having been already amazed with "Palepoli", I snatched this earlier release, "Milano Calibro 9". It was an American release on the Peters International label. It was released in 1973, a year after the original Italian release. I also got it for cheap (something you can't always say of Italian prog LPs, unless it was American pressings of PFM albums).

On this album, the band matured quite a bit. Where on "L'Uomo", it was a combination of hard rock, blues, jazz, folk, and prog, on this album, they were able to combine those styles in a more mature and progressive framework. And this time, it's a soundtrack to a film. But despite the trippy artwork on the album cover that might make you think "Milano Calibro 9" was an art film, it was actually apparently a mob film (for one thing, "Calibro 9" translates as "Caliber 9", so you know right it way it has to deal with a gun). The band incorporates an orchestra, conducted by Argentine-born Luis Enriquez Bacalov (who was previously responsible for NEW TROLLS' "Concerto Grosso Per 1" and later IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA's "Contaminazione"). The American LP has all the song titles in English (so instead of "Preludio", "Tema", several "Variazioni"s, and "Canzona", they are "Prelude", "Theme", "Variations" and "There Will Be Time").

The album starts off with "Theme", which starts off with a bizarre sounding ARP 2600 synthesizer. There is some classical piano, the orchestra, then the band kicks in to a mindblowing jam. "Tema" ("Theme") is a more mellow, and pleasant piece, dominated by piano, orchestra, and ARP 2600 synthesizer. Nice piece. Then the album goes through several pieces entitled "Varazioni" (divided by roman numerals I-VII). These movements goes through many different moods and changes, although most of them are quite short. The second movement is also called "My Mind Flies". This is one of only two cuts with vocals. The band chose to sing in English, but as you know, the English language isn't the high point of these guys. Luckily it's stuffed with lots of bizarre, atmospheric and acoustic pieces, with that great flute, and more great loud, aggressive jams. The last piece, "Canzona" is also called "There Will Be Time". This is not a particularly progressive piece. This is the album's only other vocal track, and it's a pretty straightforward pop song, as seemed to be the common occurance on many Italian prog albums.

My big complaint of the album is I wished for lengthier compositions (luckily they fixed that problem with "Palepoli"), because I like the mood of many of the pieces, just wished it lasted longer. But I guess that had to deal with the fact this is a movie soundtrack. Still a great album. - Review by Proghead (Ben Miler)

Track Listings

1. Prelude (4:10)
2. Tema (4:50)
3. Variatione 1 (2:15)
4. Variatione 2 (4:58)
5. Variatione 3 (1:38)
6. Variatione 4 (1:31)
7. Variatione 5 (2:10)
8. Variatione 6 (2:49)
9. Variatione 7 (1:28)
10. Canzona (4:54)

Total Time: 30:43

- Elio D'anna / flute, piccolo, tenor sax, baritone sax
- Lino Vairett / vocals, 12 string guitar, harmonica, hammond organ,synthesizer
- Danilo Rusici / guitar, 12 string guitar, pipe organ, electronics
- Lello Brandi / bass
- Massimo Guarino / drums
Releases information

Original title: "Preludio Tema Variazioni E Canzona"

LP: Fonit LPX 14 (1972)
LP: Fonit/ Pellicano PL 420 (1980) with the title "Milano Calibro 9" and the diverse cover
CD: Fonit Cetra CDP 420 (1989) cover ???
CD: Warner Fonit 82332-2 (90's) with the cover of PL 420
CD: BTF/ Vinyl Magic VMCD 092 (2004) with mini LP original cover


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