Report: AREA Reunion Tour Live at the 100 Club

AresTavolazzi, PaoloTofani, WalterPaoli on the 2011 AREA Reunion tour / Wiki/ Creative commons
AREA Reunion Tour Live
(100 Club. 11th April 2014. Report by Renato D'Aiello)

We has picked up such a buzz among Italian people about this gig, a sense of connection and re-connection surrounding it, we asked Renato D'Aiello if he could report on it and to explain some of the connections and the context. He writes:

It was indeed a reunion concert on last Friday at the 100 Club for the members of AREA, the historical prog rock band from the seventies, who evolved more and more jazzy from the 8th album Tic&Tac released on 1980 .

The guitarist Paolo Tofani, arrived on the stage alone to introduce the concert. He joined the band in 1973, just one year after the singer Demetrio Stratos and the drummer Giulio Capiozzo, started the band. Paolo left the band in 1977 to become an Hare Krishna’s monk. Now still a Hare Krishna devotee, he has been touring again since 2010 with bassist Ares Tavolazzi and pianist Patrizio Fariselli two of the old pals, plus the newcomer drummer Walter Paoli.

The concert started with an introduction by Paolo Tofani talking about the difference between Eastern and Western music, and his experiences in India meeting musicians like Zakir Hussain and Ariprasad Chaurasia. Paolo went on playing alone for 10 minutes demonstrating the possibilities of his unusual instrument “tricanta”, with one body of a guitar with 3 necks/set of strings The other members Patrizio Fariselli, Ares Tavolazzi and Walter Paoli joined Paolo on the first number Arbeit macht frei also the title for their first studio album released on 1973 with singer and founder of the band Demetrio Stratos, Giulio Capiozzo, first bassist Patrick Djivas, sax player Eddie Busnello.

Before they continued with the repertoire they played a recording of a mysterious track which sounded like a kind of deep and dark clusters of noises. It was actually the totality of all the records they'd ever recorded, condensed  into a  one-minute track!

The night continued with a selection of their big hits from the period when Tofani was in the band. They played then Cometa Rossa, a jazz/rock song based on a complex rhythm of 10/14, and a more rock groove based song called Nervi Scoperti where pianist Fariselli played some powerful solos.

As the fifth number of the evening they played a very touching slow original called Efstratoos ( which is Demetrio's real name) with bassist Ares Tavolazzi playing if he was singing on his bass.

The song was dedicated to the late Demetrio Stratos who died in NY at the age of 34 after 7 years of working and experimenting extensively with the band AREA having collaboration with various artist including London percussionist Paul Lytton and US poet and soprano sax star Steve Lacy .

The band played then Gerontocrazia and Elefante Bianco. The seventh song was La mela di Odessa in which Tofani was also reciting the story while playing guitar.

The last number started with Tofani asking the audience to take their house-car keys out of pocket and let them produce a sound. On top this audience generated percussion they started perhaps the most famous song called Luglio, Agosto e Settembre Nero. They left the stage after this number but as the audience clearly wanted more music they played a song called Zyg.

It was indeed a wonderful concert which brought us back in time few decades, were it all started. It was actually a great reunion for me too as I had the pleasure to play with drummer Walter Paoli, when he was 17 years old - incidentally, he did a particularly fine job at this reunion gig. I played with Ares Tavolazzi first on 1983 touring with a famous Italian songwriter, plus several jazz gigs and finally the pianist Fariselli, who very kindly came to join our jazz/fusion band Idra for a short period, back 25 years ago. How time flies.

Renato D'Aiello's AREA album choices:

Arbeit Macht frei 1973 Cramps records
Event 76 Live album feat: Paul Lytton , Steve Lacy
Tic &Tac 1980 feat: Larry Nocella tenor sax

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