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Best of 2021

Piero Umiliani

L'Uomo e la Città / Africa / Continente Nero / Polinesia / Pianofender Blues (5CD in bundle)

An inevitable revelation for anyone unaware of them, Dialogo launches their brand new Piero Umiliani Legacy Series, with stunning reissues of "L'Uomo e la Città", "Africa", "Continente Nero", "Polinesia" and "Pianofender Blues", some of the celebrated Italian composer's most important and creatively visionary works which have been remastered from the original analogue master tapes.

This bundle includes the first five volumes in the new Piero Umiliani Legacy Series, namely the following:

Piero Umiliani "L'Uomo e la Città" (1976, CD)
M. Zalla (Piero Umiliani) "Africa" (1972, CD)
Piero Umilani "Continente Nero" (1975, CD)
Piero Umilani "Polinesia" (1975, CD)
Rovi (Piero Umilani) "Pianofender Blues" (1975, CD)

Piero Umiliani "L'Uomo e la Città" (1976, CD)

**CD edition, remastered from the original analogue master tapes.** In the intricate panorama of Italian library music, the themes of city, factories, metropolis, work, urbanization and technology have always been among the most fascinating (and used), relying on dozens of fundamental records by composers such as Alessandro Alessandroni, Farlocco, Gerardo Iacoucci, A.R. Luciani, Narassa and many others. The attempt to provide a plausible soundtrack to a continuously and rapidly ever-changing world, especially in the hectic seventies, has often produced masterpieces that combined avant-garde techniques with sounds, risky experimentation with easy-listening songs, the traffic chaos and assembly lines with the silence of the night, the end of the work shift with Sunday’s rest.

Piero Umiliani’s L’Uomo e la Città perfectly fits into this rich and varied field, an album where our Man is accompanied by a jazz musicians sublime parade that includes celebrities like Bruno Tommaso, Oscar Valdambrini, Dino Piana and Nino Rapicavoli, here delivering the most of a sound that is highly based on the richness of the wind instruments and on the rhythm of the Umiliani-led ensemble.

L’Uomo e la Città is a less risky effort when compared to other releases by Piero Umiliani, but that’s in favor of an extraordinary jazz tightness (Rete Urbana, Quartieri Alti, Città Frenetica), but the wish to amaze appears when least expected in the two excellent renditions of Centrali Termiche and Suoni della Città, among the best tracks of the album. (Stefano Gilardino)

M. Zalla (Piero Umiliani) "Africa" (1972, CD)

**CD edition, remastered from the original analogue master tapes.** In 1972 Piero Umiliani was above all the man of a thousand soundtracks and the first Italian jazz experiments; from his later career we’ll soon learn that wasn’t enough for him, showing just a tiny part of a more complex picture. Closed within the walls of his Sound Work Shop Studio, the Maestro was weaving much more complicated and satisfying plots, incorporating dozens of influences from a life spent experimenting and discovering new sounds.

Among the most fascinating ones, those who came from a continent like Africa, as much fabled as actually little known, but enchanting to the point that Umiliani dedicated to it the entire Africa - which is paired with its twin-record Continente Nero - and released it as M. Zalla, pseudonym used when it came to tidying up uncompromising and avant-garde music textures, as will later happen with masterpieces such as SuspenseProblemi d’Oggi or Mondo Inquieto.

Always keep in mind when this album had been released, in January 1972, before approaching its content: here the prog-tinged black rhythm of Africa To-Day, the ‘fourth world’ inspiration coming from Jon Hassell’Green Dawn, the ‘exotic’ references in Martin Denny’s style (Lonely VillageEchos), the electronic new wave (hearing is believing!) of Sortilège, the folk music (RiteFolk-Tune). Many years in advance, in Africa Piero Umiliani summarizes sounds and styles that will make the fortune of much more celebrated and popular musicians and artists. (Stefano Gilardino)

Piero Umilani "Continente Nero" (1975, CD)

**CD edition, remastered from the original analogue master tapes.** Released via the Omicron label in 1975, three years after AfricaContinente Nero is the perfect flip side of an album that significantly expanded Piero Umiliani’s music perspectives, incorporating partially explored rhythmic variations already used in records such as Percussioni ed Effetti Speciali and To-Day’s Sound or experimenting new solutions that drew from a musical heritage little known at the time such as the African one.

Without bothering with the usual alias M. Zalla, Umiliani reveal his birth name and surname for a second foray into a territory that pays homage to an entire continent. And it does so by taking inspiration not only from a tradition that starts from the divine Fela Kuti and reaches the amateur and field recordings by musicologists such as David Toop, invaluable documents of an artistic heritage still today almost impossible to map in its complexity, but also from the Afro-American jazz history by Art Ensemble of ChicagoJohn ColtraneMax Roach and hundreds of others.

It sounds clear in tracks such as Nuovi FermentiRivoluzionariRiscossa or Ultimo Stregone that show Umiliani’s extraordinary ability to grab a distant tradition essential traits and put them effortlessly into a personal imaginary world, as much exciting as the original one. (Stefano Gilardino)

Piero Umilani "Polinesia" (1975, CD)

**CD edition, remastered from the original analogue master tapes.** Piero Umiliani was capable of traveling not only in a physical sense but also with a long series of geographical-themed albums that have always been among his best productions, and his interests weren’t just limited to distant Africa, to its percussive sounds and unexplored territories - especially with the Africa and Continente Nero releases. In his vast and complex discography - including works recorded in his own name, in solo with groups and orchestras, but also under aliases such as RoviM. ZallaThe Soundwork ShoppersMoggiCatamo - there are excellent space-time excursions such as Genti e Paesi del MondoPaesi BalcaniciIl Mondo dei RomaniStoria e PreistoriaMedioevo & RinascimentoPanorami Italiani and Paesaggi, where the musician could free an unstoppable creative vein that combined an artistic path intimately bound to Italy and to its traditions with the world’s sounds (and even more, given the cosmic ventures of Tra Scienza e Fantascienza and L’Uomo nello Spazio).

Among his most adventurous efforts, Polinesia deserves a special mention, since it was fully recorded with glowing percussion and exotic suggestions that remind of Martin Denny, bringing to mind sunny white beaches, Oceania and the famous Bora Bora, defined by the well-known Italian writer and documentary maker Folco Quilici as the most beautiful island in the world. Prepare a colorful cocktail and enjoy the full moon, you already have the perfect soundtrack for that... (Stefano Gilardino)

Rovi (Piero Umilani) "Pianofender Blues" (1975, CD)

**CD edition, remastered from the original analogue master tapes.** “Music with a modern but discreet sound”. This is how Piero Umiliani himself described the content of Pianofender Blues, entirely recorded with the aid of two electric pianos (Fender, of course, and Wurlitzer), bass, piano, drums and percussion; yet another curious foray of the Florentine artist, here exploring territories different than his usual jazz, soundtracks and avant-garde experimentations.

Pianofender Blues is quite honest right from its title, and the melancholy of the sound produced by the world-famous American keyboard goes well with a much lighter repertoire that we could call, by using a vaguely old-fashioned locution, ‘easy listening’; an album that can be easily placed within Umiliani’s ‘less challenging’ production, together with other titles such as AtmospheresFischiando in Beat or Motivi Allegri e Distensivi, that testify their author’s versatility.

Originally released in 1975 under the name RoviPianofender Blues combines excellent instrumental technique with a sound inevitably born of those years, and enriches Umiliani’s long series of sonorizations - the so-called ‘music libraries’ - that have made him famous as much as his efforts within the jazz and soundtrack fields. (Stefano Gilardino)

Cat. number: DIACD917 / DIACD918 / DIACD919 / DIACD920 / DIACD921
Year: 2021

More by Piero Umiliani

Il Dono del Nilo (Lp)
LP | €12.90 €23.90
Discomusic (LP + CD)
LP + CD | €19.90
Orgasmo - Paranoia
CD | €16.50
Paesaggi (LP, Limited Edition)
LP, Limited Edition | €29.90
LP | €26.90
Playtime (LP)
LP | €27.90
CD | €16.00
L'Uomo e la Città
CD | €16.00
CD | €16.00
Pianofender Blues
CD | €16.00
Africa (LP)
LP | €24.90
Continente Nero
CD | €16.00
CD | €16.00
L'Uomo Elettronico
CD | €16.90
Da Roma a New York
CD | €16.50

More from Dialogo

Pupa O Crisalide (LP)
LP | €24.90
Microphone (LP)
LP | €24.90
CD | €15.00
Luna Cinese (LP)
LP | €24.90
Spirale (LP)
LP | €24.90