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5 Jan 2017

Perigeo “Genealogia” 1974 Italy Prog Rock

Perigeo  “Genealogia” 1974 Italy Prog Rock
Of the big three italian jazz-rock bands from the seventies (along with Arti & Mestieri and Area), Perigeo is certainly the most average. They don’t blend jazz and symphonic; they play only instrumental tracks; they don’t show particular political ideas. For these reasons, they are considered the least interesting of the big three; probably the less italian musically. They even seem to be completely overlooked by many fans of the genre. And it’s a real pity ‘cause the band is composed by very talented musicians who play a very elegant and refined jazz rock. They even know very well how to go wild and crazy at times. 
Genealogia (1974) is their third record and follows the classic Abbiamo Tutti un Blues da Piangere (1973). The 1974 album sounds to me more varied but unfortunately the band leaves behind any vocalising. On the other hand, fortunately, they manage to create an unique atmosphere with the addition of acoustic guitars and saxophones. The most interesting track is the fantastic self titled opener which sounds a lot like a medieval dance, somehow unusual in the jazz rock genre. Other highlights are the explosive Polaris with its light crescendo and excellent work on electric piano and the strong (In) Vino Veritas (the longest track of the album being over 6:40 mns) where they give you a taste of their electric guitar playing. Pretty good the harder sound of this intrument and the slightly dissonant arrengements. The most proggy performance here. 

The closing numbers Old Vienna and Sydney’s Call are the least relevant while Via Beato Angelico is a nice soft tune opening with keys liquid effect and then enter a pleasant quasi-latin incursion thanks to congas. 

Not a masterpiece, perhaps. Sure it is one of the band’s crowing achievemts. Rockier than anything from their past…………… by Andrea Cortese…………… 

This third album from the Rome band Perigeo is probably the most acclaimed, and indeed it deserves its reputation. Unlike their first two album, the still-unchanged line-up (let’s count the percussionist Mandrake a guest) was careful not too repeat too closely the formula of Azimut and Abbiamo, and Genealogia is certainly quite different, although it’s clear from the start that we’re still in the lovely Perigeo realm. Released in late 74 on the same Italian RCA branch, it sports a very contrasting bare- land white artwork. Although leader/bassists Tommaso is still the main songwriter, he’s now letting over half the album for the rest of the group to write their own pieces and keyboardist D'Andrea writing two, while drummer Biriaco, guitarist Sidney and blower Fasoli one each. 
I don’t really agree with my friend Andrea Cortese about his assessment of Perigeo, 1- not only does bassist Tommaso sings on a few tracks of their early albums, but he does it so excellently well also, 2- of the three groups he mentions, Perigeo is probably the most jazzy, but has a penchant for Canterbury-type of JR/F (Area being too eclectic), 3- it depends from which angle they are seen as “least interesting”, for among the three he cites, Perigeo is the one that fascinates me most. 

Opening on the longest and title track, its starts out quite quietly on a dronal fuzz-organ that both Ratledge or Sinclair wouldn’t renege, but soon enough the track veers between Soft Machine and John Coltrane, especially D'Andrea ’s piano evoking McCoy Tyner. There are moments when you’d swear there is a violin, at others it’s clearly Tommaso with a bow on his contrabass, but overall, this title track is a bit Perigeo’s finest hour. Polaris is more RTF-inspired; while Torre Del Lago is a slow piano piece that slowly englobes the sax and the-said piano and Via Beato present a more Latino feel with added congas. 

On the flipside, In Vino Veritas (my fave with the title track, and one of the great truth in life), a piano- laden piece that could be Nucleus or Soft Machine, the D'Andrea-penned Monti Pallidi (a quiet affair) and Old Vienna (a red-hot Mwandishi-like fusion track that builds-up with successive instruments) are sandwiching the Fasolli-penned sonically spacious (I didn’t say spacey) Grandi Spazi with an excellent bass work underlining Fasoli’s sax. The closing Sidney’s Call is a track that allows a guitar exposition, a drum solo and some wordless vocals from Tommaso 

Definitely Perigeo’s most Canterbury-like album, Genealogia is as fine an introduction to the group’s music, but ultimately, you’ll probably have the first five or six, including this one, so you might as well start chronologically. …….by Sean Trane …………. 

It’s been a joy listening to this album this past week. It’s one of those records that gets my full attention as I try to take in all the flavours and sounds.This reminds me of some of WEATHER REPORT’s more atmospheric songs, but also there is a definite Canterbury flavour here. Check out the fuzz organ and there’s also some wicked guitar at times, while the bass player uses a bow once in a while making you think someone’s playing violin. It’s a very unique sounding recording that at first may seem to be nothing more then breezy jazz music. Far from it. Lots of sax, electric piano and bass as well in this one. 
“Genealogia” opens with lots and lots of atmosphere. It changes after 2 minutes as piano, sax, fuzzed out organ and light drums take over. Great sound here. The fuzz leaves after 3 ½ minutes as sax, bass, light drums and electric piano create wonder. Some bowed bass after 5 minutes continues for a couple of minutes then the fuzz returns. Amazing song. “Polaris” opens with a good rhythm as electric piano comes in and then sax. This is such a pleasure just listening to the way these guys play. Fantastic ! So much going on. Some fuzz late. “Torre Del Lago” is led by piano throughout although sax comes in before 1 ½ minutes. Beautiful track. “Via Beato Angelico” takes a while to get going as we get some outbursts and strange synths sounds,lots of atmosphere. It changes to a catchy soundscape before 3 minutes,very jazzy. Some excellent guitar 4 minutes in as sax plays along. 

“(In) Vino Veritas” opens with piano, drums, guitar and sax before we get fuzz.The drumming and sax work is outstanding to follow as the bass throbs.The guitar starts to rip it up. Fuzz is back 6 minutes in and it ends with some dissonance. Nice. “Monti Pallidi” features lots of piano,sax and drums. Gorgeous track ! “Grandi Spazi” opens with lots of atmosphere and sparse piano melodies. Bass comes in and sax after 2 minutes. Mellow tune. “Old Vienna” sounds like Canterbury with the electric piano, bass and light drums. Great sound ! Sax comes in, and then the guitar starts to make some incredible noise.The bass is prominant. “Sidney’s Call” sounds so good once the bongos and guitar come in. Sax plays over top. Drums come pounding in at 2 minutes and sax joins in as we get a new melody. Drums and sax take turns in the spotlight. A calm 4 minutes in as we get some vocal melodies with gentle guitar and sax……….. by Mellotron Storm ………. 

I came across this album totally by surprise at a recent record fair, thinking I may have snapped up a bit of a highly regarded Italian progressive classic! I was initially hugely disappointed to find that, although Perigeo are an Italian band, they don’t play the usual sort of passionate and emotional prog associated with that country, rather an intoxicating and captivating form of jazz-fusion, highlighted by electrifying performances and a manic Canterbury styled touch of sophistication. 
At first I found this album to be a little by-the-numbers and quite charmless. Everything sounded in the right place, competently played by a bunch of great musicians, but I just wasn’t clicking with it. Then on a drive into work on my nightshift, through sheer lack of inspiration and with nothing else to listen to, I put the album in the CD player and suddenly, it all worked for me. Like `Soft Machine’s black and moody `5’, an album I feel is quite similar to this one, it was the colder weather and dark night ambience that made more sense with the music I was hearing. There’s a frequent sad and reflective tone to the music that made perfect sense so late in the chilly night. 

`Genealogia’ is best taken as a complete piece, all the wonderful instrumental compositions shifting between ambient electronics, driving sax, jazz-rock fusion, varied electric piano/fuzz organ/moog, and lovely emphasis in some parts on warm acoustic and searing electric guitars solos. There’s a subtle and restrained touch, with occasional noisier outbursts picking up the pace when needed. Always prominent bass player Giovanni Tomasso also performs some effective wordless vocals on three of the tracks. I also thought there was a few sections with wild violin, but from what I understand that’s actually him using a bow along his bass! Highly original, and gives the album a truly unique sound all it’s own. 

Strange electronics (moog?) begin the 8-minute title track on side A, before piano and commanding saxophone enter. I’d swear that was a violin throughout the constantly repeated grand theme, sounding very medieval! The sax becomes more fiery, sounding like something performed by the various Canterbury bands (probably why this album reminds me so much of Soft Machine’s `5’). Very repetitive track, it becomes dizzying, with a real wild abandon. Jazzy drumming, catchy sax melody and shimmering electric piano on `Polaris’, with throbbing bass and harsh electronic effects swirling around. There’s a real explosive urgency to this one! `Tore Del Lago’ has delicate piano and mournful sax. With gentle sighed wordless vocals, it’s one of the most beautiful pieces on the album. `Via Beato Angelica’s sweet acoustic guitar and pulsing electronics give way to an upbeat Latin- styled Santana groove, especially with the hot electric guitar solo and effective use of the congas. 

The dirty drama of side B’s `(In) Vino Veritas’ has maddening Canterbury electric piano, out of control wailing sax, and tearing electric guitar! Listen for the knockout bass playing and furious drum-work on this one too, the band completely loses it! The gentle comedown of `Monti Pollidi’ is a relief from the previous track, alternating between an evocative sax theme and whirling electric piano/bass/percussion subtlety. `Grandi Spazi’ is an ambient dark-jazz piece with a very dank bass sound and somber sax. More Soft Machine-like urgency on `Old Vienna’ with a fuzzy electric guitar and piano showdown, frantic bass playing and percussion, before a slightly abrupt ending. The album finishes on the initially sedate `Sidney’s Call’ with eerie sighs, gentle congas and lovely acoustic guitar before turning into a sax heavy workout in the middle, complete with drum solo. It then falls away into a wordless enveloping lullaby to finish the album on. 

Housed in a bare plain-white sleeve with a pleasant and simple illustration on the cover, with music performed by a talented and inventive group of musicians, `Genealogia’ is wonderful late-night jazz-rock/prog with a darkly immersive ambience……. by Aussie-Byrd-Brother …… 

Biography, translate from Italian 

It is not the belated historical revisionism carried out by certain critical caught against the perigee, to leave us somewhat puzzled: the action of re-evaluate, after all, is quite common, even granted when desired. What, to date, it is really incomprehensible, is the prodromal action of the revaluation, which is the systematic devaluation and merciless operated to the disadvantage of a complex as the Perigeo, whose creative and technical substrate thickness were greatly undoubted, not say obvious. 

Yet, it seems incredible, a group of snooty purists believed the Perigeo able to subvert the traditional jazz in favor of a greedy commercialism of consensus. In time, their accusatory frenzy remained isolated: they, the purists, were forced to revise, to back, to change his mind. Just like they did with Miles Davis. But what does the American trumpeter? Got to do, it got to do, because Miles Davis is now the United States as the perigee is Italy. “Azimut” , the debut album, was a completely new product for Italy: something similar was listened to for three years only in the United States, thanks to Davis, playing with power tools, had changed the conception of jazz back then, that was actually quite standardized, inventing the jazz-rock formula and taking in groups baptism as Weather Report and Return to Forever . It happened, however, that many scienziatoni jazz accused him of having distorted the scope of jazz music in favor of a greater availability of the genre. And when he began to play in front of audiences rock (at Fillmore East or the Fillmore West , for example), alternating with psychedelic bands, folk and everything else, they were horrified even more. And then? Well, they rimangiarono throughout the following years, in a climate of untimely re-historical examination. 

Halfway around the world, three years later, the perigee suffered the same fate. 

In the work that follows we pregeremo to make you (re) discover a giant of Italian jazz-rock (the Perigeo), we’ll have to talk to you about some of its offshoots not really satisfactory ( Perigeo Special and New Perigeo ), we will be happy to tell you about a beautiful group ( Apogee ) that is inspired, if not musically, at least conceptually. 

The Perigeo was founded in 1971 by the will of John Thomas, bassist, composer and arranger with a solid background behind jazz. In the past he had played in the “Quintet of Lucca” and boasted collaborations both with European jazz musicians, as Americans, true icons of American jazz system: between 1960 and 1964 had recorded with Lee Konitz, Chet Baker and Barney Lewis, and he had played with Gato Barbieri, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Steve Lacy, Lionel Hampton. In giving life to the Perigeo, he moves from the conviction to create, on a tissue of purely jazz mold, a contaminated sound from other musical genres, leaving room for improvisation and individual initiatives of each component. Contact, therefore, the pianist Franco D'Andrea (who has worked with Nunzio Rotondo, Gato Barbieri, Jean-Luc Ponty, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Clarke, Lee Koniz and Johnny Griffin, was one of the few Italian jazz musicians mentioned in the encyclopedia of jazz Leonard Feather) and the young drummer Bruno Biriaco (among the best musicians of the time, joined the group just twenty years old, when they are still studying piano, composition and conducting). “In 1971 I came from a very musical period and approved existential fact, since I just went to Rome and I had no money to get going, I decided to make the shift worker. After a bit 'of time, in which I learned many things (including playing the electric bass), my life as a musician needed a jolt. Listening to Bitches Brew by Miles Davis was brilliant and I decided that this little achievement I had done up to then playing the "jazz jazz” was not enough for me anymore. I needed to break new ground, to get motivated, and so I decided to form a group that could play a different tune. However, I had no clear ideas. The first musician with whom I felt I needed to share this adventure was Franco D'Andrea, with whom I had already played some time ago. Subsequently, we have thought of Bruno Biriaco and did some auditioning, some sessions, some evidence of “musical embryos.” And so, in my bathtub, Via Beato Angelico, with a nice glass of wine, I called Frank and told him, “I’m listening to the audition today and are excited: you want to do this adventure with me?” And Franco agreed. And this is the beginning of the history of Perigee (Thomas) . “I too had felt the fascination that emanated this idea of Miles Davis. I appreciated even the most crazy things he did, the live at the Fillmore for example, that for me are the absolute masterpieces. I was fascinated electronics use this abstraction that came out of this "pun”, the electric piano. From the beginning, however, I realized that the sound of this instrument could be only one base. That is, it was not enough sound, although new and interesting. The idea was: “This is a good base but we have to work on it forever create different contrasts and chiaroscuro.” After a while 'I was able to mix sounds, but also use them separately. They came out of the unpublished things because, at the time, the sounds were not already made. Then, we were craft and there fabbricavamo sounds alone “ (D'Andrea). The saxophone was chosen Claudio Fasoli (owner of the "modal” technique, improvisation based on the stairs and not the Agreements, with a past in “Mansuardi” and collaborations with Dizzy Reece, Daniel Humair and Kenny Clarke) and, interestingly, on guitar a guitarist with a blues-rock background, Tony Sidney (US, transplanted to Italy, former member of “the Mothers Superior” , with whom he participated in the Viareggio Festival in 1971). “I had just escaped from the conservatory, where I studied for two years classical music (I loved and still love baroque music). I wanted to devote myself to the electric guitar and explore new things. John had heard me play in a band (which were not Mothers Superiors) and invited me to Rome, where I had the opportunity to hear their little test. Needless to say, I was deeply impressed. At that moment, I realized that they, this nascent nucleus of Perigee, were not a train, were quick to which I had absolutely up on the fly ” (Sidney). In August 1972 the band debuted live at the Compass Marina di Pietrasanta and the following September “Azimut” comes out, an album that destroys years of mannerism and formality: a jazz fabric, the complex engages rock contamination, funky, even new age, and he proposes a totally new musical discourse that catches some critical acclaim, and that totally captivates audiences pop, met at the Festival d'Avant-Garde, the Be-in in Naples, at the Third Festival of Contemporary Music of Civilanova Marche and Music Festival Popolare di Roma (for the consent of jazz musicians first manner, have to wait a bit 'of time, just like with Miles Davis). The perigee is not the only group to introduce a music “contaminated” but, in the early '70s, is certainly the first to do so by moving from its beginnings jazz. Each of the musicians ample space to reveal his skills as a soloist, both in line with the suggestions of the same Thomas, as with current rules, that “impose” an extended duration of the tracks. “Q hen I formed our group, I said that it could live only the second democratic rules, because it is in compliance with the individual personality that you give the best of themselves. Today I am proud to say that Bruno, Claudio Franco, Tony and I were able to us, each of us is an integral and irreplaceable part of the group, helping to give it an image, and the same is able to identify with. Each of us has remained a soloist, that instead of vanishing into a whole, has seen it valued his creative abilities, technical, interpretative ” (Thomas, album notes “ It is not that far away ” ) . In 1973, the group performed at the first edition of Umbria Jazz and publishes “We all have a blues cry” , an album that, while steering toward rock sound, that their the Record Critics Award as best Italian jazz album. Things started to change. In January of 1974 the group faces a shoulder toured the Soft Machine, which excels in terms of consensus, and performs in Milan, the King Festival Naked-Lambro Park and Rome, to Pop Meeting and the Villa Borghese Festival. In that year they publish the third album, “Genealogy” and continues his personal contamination speech even offering to mold Latin sounds. “The creative process of the perigee was changed. The first album consisted of compositions by John, while the second was for 70% of John, with something Franco and Bruno ( Nadir and Ritual . Note) . From Genealogy on, John invited everyone to bring the material. I remember that I moved from Milan to Rome for 15-20 days and that, in the RCA studios, we devoted ourselves to the development of this repertoire. A lot of hard work, of entire weeks. Just think that in the reunion of '93, to propose that repertoire, we had to try a whole week. This testifies that the perigee of the work was of enormous severity, not only of style, but of enormous artistic effort. I do not remember a date, only one concert of the perigee, in which - despite playing an average of two concerts a day for 20-30 days in a row - there was a power outage and commitment on improvisational piano, executive and intensity ” (Fasoli). 

In 1975, after a mini tour with Antonello Venditti, the 5 point to the foreign market where they perform playing at “Ronnie Scott” and at the “Marquee” in London. But the surprises are not over: do shoulder to Weather Report, during their tour Europe and perform at the prestigious Montreux Festival (from which will be extracted one of the few live document of the band). “ The valley of the temples” , of 1975, also houses the percussionist Tony Esposito, who already was performing live with the band. After a brief period in the world of cinema - with the publication of a 45 containing two new songs from the more commercial sound, contribution to the soundtrack of the film “Movie Rush. Fever Cinema "by Ottavio Fabbri - the perigee leaves for Toronto to record” It’s not that far away. “ With the album title, he explained the bassist "in lludiamo evidently different things, but mostly to our music world. Our music has been variously labeled: "Jarz-rock”, “progressive-rock” and so on. Labels that do not reject and do not accept. It’s just the music we wanted and knew how to do, immediate translation into sounds of our feelings, our feelings … If it is considered necessary to classify it is done well, but then we do not pretend loyalty to a model that is not our. We tried to graphically express this title with the cover that, apparently, consists of a ground collage of photos of another planet taken from a satellite … In reality they are just the walls of an old house in Sperlonga, in a 'hour and a half from Rome “machine (Thomas, album notes ” it is not that far away “ ). The musician, who had declared "the l Perigee is alive and well” , is belied by the facts: what will be the last album of the perigee. A difficult concert situation (both at the organizational level, it is safe, made ever more precarious because of the frequent clashes between the public and police services), as well as various economic difficulties and some personal problems, forcing the group to the dissolution: “ Money despite everything, there are always little. Someone has emotional problems, someone else health, someone still apparently has no problem but it is worse than others ” (Thomas, album notes “ It is not that far away ” ). There’s just time for a farewell concert, in Pescara, in August 1976, well documented in the album “Live in Italy” published in 1990. “O each and every one of us is an integral and irreplaceable group, contributes to give him a picture and the same is able to identify with. Each of us has remained a soloist, that instead of vanishing into a whole, has seen it enhanced its capabilities creative, technical, interpretative. Perhaps the group could survive even with a few different element, but for ” irreplaceable “ I mean that would never be the same. Worse or better I do not know, but certainly not the Perigeo whom you know ” (Thomas, album notes “ It is not that far away ” ). 

In the '80s, Giovanni Tommaso creates two offshoots of Perigeo forming the “Perigeo Special” and “New Perigeo” . None of them is the least comparable to the original line. The first sees side by side, the five original members, a large number of distinguished guests including Rino Gaetano, Lucio Dalla, Anna Oxa, Ivan Cattaneo, Jenny Sorrenti, Nino Buonocore and Maria Monti. In the only album, “Alice”, five songs are instrumental (and up to the old repertoire) and as many as 8 (song formula, alas) are interpreted by such guests as well as from the same Thomas. 

In the group New Perigeo , the only Thomas is joined by Augustine Marangolo on drums, Danilo Rea on piano, Maurizio Giammarco on sax and Carlo Pennisi on guitar. The last 3 were massively contributed to the making of the album “ Perigeo Special” (from which the likely choice of the name “New Perigeo ” ). Despite the high technical skill of the musicians, the music offered is a fusion rather light, very peppered with pop, which seems to never take off. Before disbanding, the five record two documents (an album and a live Q-disc) and go on tour with Riccardo Cocciante and Rino Gaetano. 

After the breakup, Sidney recorded two albums “Play it by ear” (1979), and “Changing Shadow” (1984), follows Ray Charles in the tour Italian of 1990, signing a song against drugs ( “ Say No To Drugs” ) , and then going away from the active music. Biriaco, having finally established himself as one of the most important drummers in the jazz circuit (I also find ourselves in the company of James Senese in the second album of “Napoli Centrale”), and having played in Sax Machine , abandons his drummer career to devote himself to ’ as a composer, arranger and conductor. 

Fasoli and D'Andrea are now considered absolute stars of European jazz. After the dissolution of the perigee, the two have collaborated realizing in 1978 the album “Jazz duo” and “Eskimo Fakir” (the second with Bruno Biriaco ) and, in 1996, “Icon” with Enrico Rava. Fasoli, dissolved the perigee, the 80 collaborating more and more closely with international musicians like Henri Texier, Mick Goodrick, Lee Konitz, Jean-François Jenny-Clark, Aldo Romano, Ken Wheeler, Bill Elgart, Manfred Schoof, Michel Pilz, Palle Danielsson, Tony Oxley, Dave Holland, Giorgio Gaslini. He is the author of 20 work record as a leader (including presses cite “Infant Eyes” in 2000 with Lee Konitz and Ares Tavolazzi) and 7 as a sideman (including “From south to north” of 1992 together with Paolo Fresu and Enrico Rava three works with Giorgio Gaslini: “Multiples” and “Masks”, in early 90s and “Live” in 2000). Franco d'Andrea shape in '78 a quartet with whom he played until the early '90s (there collaborate artists like Tino Tracanna, Attilio Zanchi, Gianni Cazzola, Luis Agudo, Naco, Glenn Ferris, Saverio Tasca). At the beginning of '93 it creates a new trio, Current Changes, with trumpeter David Roar and percussionist Naco. Parallalemanete is driving an enlarged formation to 11 elements, Eleven. His current quartet includes saxophonist Andrea Ayassot, bassist Aldo Mella and drummer Zeno De Rossi. Since 1978 he has been teaching in the Veneto and Lombardy, while since 1993 is Professor of Jazz at the Conservatory Bonporti of Trento. He has recorded more than 200 records in Italy and abroad, including “Kick off” and “Airegin” both with Giovanni Tommaso and Roberto Gatto, “Nine Again” with Dave Liebman, “12 Gershwin in 12 keys” and “Inside Rodgers” both with Lee Konitz, “for Bix and Pops” with Enrico Rava. 

For his part, John Thomas, always addressed to contamination, forms the GDN trio, with Danilo Rea and American singer Noel McCalla (the initials of the three first names form the acronym which gives its name to the band), releasing a self-titled album . Later wrote numerous soundtracks (for cinema and for television), collaborates with many pop artists (Cocciante, Mina, Morandi, Gaetano, Graziani, Oxa), he becomes professor of jazz at the Conservatory of Perugia and directs seminars of Umbria Jazz Clinics in partnership with the Berklee College of Music. It also publishes several releases, with his quintet or solo, including “Via GT”, “To Chet”, “Over the Ocean”, “Strange strange stars”, “Third Step”, “Second Half” “the sweet life” (coupled with Rava), “Critic’s Picks” (the latter in the tOP 10 of the best drives in the world in 2001). 

In 1993, the perigee shall sit in a formation of six elements with four-fifths of the original members (Naco is the percussionist chosen but lacks Biriaco - unable to television commitments - replaced by Roberto Gatto). “Before you ask other members if they wanted to get together, I had a little 'inner struggle, in the sense that I wondered if he should get together to make new things. Finally I made the decision - which at the time was shared by all - to give life to a reunion limited in time and not intended to open another professional and artistic chapter. A reunion with an evocative sense it felt like it was the only way forward: to redo some pieces of our old repertoire, with great modesty, without re-interpret too much because the re-interpretation - for me - would set in motion artistic existential problems they would completely bewildered me. That is, I wondered at the time: who am I today? (we’re talking 1993 note) Certainly not that of '72 and '77. I was changed and, obviously, they were also the other. So the decision was taken to affectionately meet again, nicely, to make 3 or 4 concerts, fished out the old repertoire, and to say goodbye at the end of everything ” (Thomas). 

The latest project of Thomas is branded in 2007 and is called “Apogee” . Proposes a formula even more daring than that revealed itself from Perigee: he looks at the experimentation and cross but this time complicates things by choosing a complex almost completely acoustic. The result is absolutely precious. Some of the songs convey the same pathos of the work carried out with the perigee. Have the match Daniele Scannapieco on sax, Bebo Ferra on guitar (replaced, in some dates, by Alberto Parmeggiani ), Claudio Filippini at the piano and Anthony Pinciotti on drums. “S s been 30 years since I untied the perigee and flew. My first thoughts go to the dear friends Franco, Claudio, Bruno and Tony with whom I shared five years intense and fundamental in my artistic life, and more. If after all this time our records continue to sell (lately suffered an unexpected surge) we obviously left some important evidence. It is not for me to judge the musical scope of that initiative, but I think now I can say, with the objectivity of the elapsed time, that certain intuition proved far-sighted. I often say that jazz is not just a style of music but also a lifestyle. Why behind the music choices we are existential motivations that if authentic, determine the thickness. In the past 2 years I have developed the idea of forming APOGEO and I began to jot down musical ideas, but I deliberately, and even waited patiently 2007 just to start this new adventure in the thirty years that separates me from the other, as if the numbers game had meaning. I chose the same organic, albeit with different elements, all splendid musicians with a huge talent. (.) A part of the electric guitar, other instruments are exquisitely "sound and this motivates me even more to get a new sound. There is no end to the search. The only real analogy with Perigeo is a certain "audacity” in the range between more or less conventional topics forms, to the harshest forms both rhythmically that harmoniously, and also the chance to play in the concert of totally improvised pieces that combine the various tracks, but this will happen only after a period of harmony “ . The five have made a live album released by the "Gruppo Editoriale l'Espresso” for the series “Italian Jazz”, recorded live in March 2007, the “Casa del Jazz” in Rome (reviewed, however, in no. 32 Musikbox ). 

In January 2008, the five elements of Perigeo meet in Rome at the Casa del Jazz, for a commemorative meeting held within the festival “I sing the body electric - 40 years of Jazz-Rock” (which will also involve other exponents of Italian jazz-rock, as Dedalus, center of gravity, area, and which will affect, to some live performances, the local Beer Station). In that context - where unfortunately there is no known (on the other hand was played, vintage videos were projected) - the five maintained outright possibilists on the reunion of the perigee. In particular, Tony Sidney is credited with having broken the ice, proposing first, in such enthusiastic, able to congregate. “What happened with the group, it was a very strange thing indeed. The words are almost impossible to explain this kind of feeling. Today I have a great dream: a dream to resonate together and are curious to see what we would be capable of creating, after 30-odd years, so with a lot more experience in the instrument (for me, I speak of the classical guitar and composition in general ) ”. (Sidney). “Every music is child of its time. If we were to bring together, in a non-improvised (as it was in '93), we should invent a Perigeo up-dated, contemporary. Otherwise, turn back and to feel like we were playing, I think one thing to dishonesty limits, the limits of the false ” (Thomas). “I think that now, after the experience gained over the years, if we would recover in together - on my own, with the intention of looking to the future and creating totally new things - it could be truly said of the big” (Sidney). “How can you bring together and doing things of the past? There is only one way, already proposed by Duke Ellington: try to live again, deeply and sincerely, the same repertoire for 50 years. Even Louis Armstrong did. This is a difficult but feasible path in music. But if we have an extra element the tone of the time, how do you propose that sound today? It would be a work of archaeologist. Then, or it is actualized everything - and then you should have an identity of purpose - or you risk a lack of authenticity. In this sense, and certainly do not want to advertise, I felt with Apogee with the same feeling I had in '72. I wanted to change and I set up a group that makes music conceived by me, he sees me satisfied with ” contemporary “ . If I - along with Tony, Franco, Claudio and Bruno - I had to find a hypothesis of ” actualize “ our language, scioglierei any project, rimboccherei my sleeves and I would be ready to start ” (Thomas). “Today the music has changed, also in the commercial sector, for which the presence of jazz musicians is much more frequent than once. I remember the comments of some Master towards this musical language, which even then was considered as ” not music “ , which is absolutely false because, when there are jazz musicians, emphasizing the quality is completely different. This made me think of many things of the past, and I realized that it was time to take up the instrument, which - if you hear about - I did for about a year now. And so, in my heart, I think objectively that today there is maturity and definitely need to propose something, maybe in those terms by John, given that faithfully reproduce what we’ve played in the past would be meaningless (Biriaco) . 

Fans will not have to wait long: September 30, 2008, at the Auditorium of Rome, Giovanni Tommaso celebrates 50 years in business. In that context, he plays with his current group, Apogee, and friends from the past including, unexpectedly, the perigee, which met in its original line-up for the first and only time by the melting time. The five proposed a medley in which are reproduced without any interruption, "The Valley of the Temples” , “Genealogy” , “Old Vienna” , “Via Beato Angelico” (all from the album “Genealogy” of 1974, except the first, eponymous album released the following year). It is a medley of 20 minutes but full of meaning: the emotion is very strong and is felt throughout, both on the part of the musicians, as the audience. 

It will not be less than a month that a new incarnation of the Perigeo will meet in Florence, 25 October 2008, this time for a real concert, and not by a simple appearance. Manca Franco d'Andrea unfortunately absent for “personal reasons” - as stated by the same John Thomas, who says a greeting passionate - replaced by Claudio Filippini , a young and talented pianist Apogee . The lineup, thrilling, draws from each of the 5 albums of the group: “Genealogy” and “Via Beato Angelico” (Genealogy, 1974); “Tarlumbana” , “Myosotis” and “Red Earth” (It’s not that far away, 1976); “We all have a blues cry” and “The Valley of the Temples” (the eponymous album, respectively, in 1973 and 1975); “36th Parallel” (Azimut, 1972). The absence of synth Franco D'Andrea , however, obliges the group to revisit the songs in an almost entirely acoustic (just like Apogee ): it follows that John Thomas never leaves the bass, while the pianist (and not also keyboardist) Claudio Filippini is completely put at ease (for him only four adjectives: humble, discreet, great, always relevant). The pieces are offered in key markedly directed toward jazz: Biriaco had seen us right, eight months before, the House of Jazz , when, hoping probable musical revivals, had declared that he would not have made sense to “reproduce what we’ve played in the past ”….by……Gianluca Livi….. 

Songs / Tracks Listing 

1. Genealogia (8:25) 
2. Polaris (5:00) 
3. Torre del lago (3:06) 
4. Via beato angelico (4:55) 
5. (In) vino veritas (6:45) 
6. Monti pallidi (3:31) 
7. Grandi spazi (3:36) 
8. Old Vienna (3:22) 
9. Sidney’s call (4:55) 

Line-up / Musicians 

- Bruno Biriaco / drums, percussion 
- Franco D'Andrea / acoustic & electric pianos 
- Claudio Fasoli / Alto & Soprano saxes, percussion (7) 
- Tony Sidney / acoustic & electric guitars, bongos (9) 
- Giovanni Tommaso / vocals, bass, double bass, Moog (1-4-8), percussion (2) 
+ Mandrake / percussion (2), congas (4)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..