Arti + Mestieri

About Arti + Mestieri

The sextet Arti & Mestieri was formed in 1974 in Torino, Italy, by drummer Furio Chirico, following his departure from the Trip. Drawing membership from the cream of the local jazz-rock scene, Arti & Mestieri frequently found themselves sharing a bill with Area, the long-running kings of that particular arena. However, their renown was such that they also opened for a number of visiting acts, most notably Gentle Giant. Arti & Mestieri's debut album in 1974, Tilt, received a lot of attention but only hinted at the group's true capabilities -- a live album from this period appeared on the Vinyl Magic label in 1990 and, despite poor sound quality, offers a far more captivating portrait of the group in full flow. It was the following year's Giro di Valzer per Domani that established Arti & Mestieri as a force to be reckoned with, all the more so since the recruitment of former Procession vocalist Gianfranco Gaza. Two vocal tracks on the band's debut had proven among the weakest songs in sight; Gaza brought a new and welcome dimension to the sound, so much so that the band's label, Cramps, even released a single from the album, "Saper Sentire," backed by the instrumental "Valzer per Domani." Despite this breakthrough, it would be another four years before a new Arti & Mestieri album appeared. Released in 1979, Quinto Stato, while featuring many of the same players as its predecessor, was nevertheless a disappointment, a very pedestrian jazz-rock excursion that preceded the band's breakup. Chirico released two further albums under the Arti & Mestieri banner, 1983's Acquario and Children's Blues two years later, before he turned his attention to teaching and building his reputation as one of Italy's foremost drummers -- he is the only Italian ever to appear at the American Modern Drummer Festival, in 2002. He has also released a handful of solo albums. Of his bandmates, guitarist Gigi Venegoni also launched a solo career, cutting at least two albums under the name Venegoni & Co. Arti & Mestieri re-formed in 2001 around Chirico, Venegoni, and fellow founders keyboard player Beppe Crovella and bassist Marco Gallesi. Accompanied by Quarto Stato-era keyboard player Marco Cimino and violinist Corrado Trabuio, the re-formed band released a new album, Murales, in 2001. ~ Dave Thompson

Torino, Italy
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