Algebra – JL

In my original Algebra write-up for their GEPR entry written 11/21/01, my concluding statement was, “Algebra are currently recording new material for a second album entitled Il Gabbiano Jonathan Livingston. They say it will be released soon.” Well, “soon” is a relative term in the world of Prog. This isn’t the first band I’ve heard say they’re recording and will be releasing a new album “soon”, then have many years go by until I’ve forgotten all about the promise, only to have it suddenly show up. In these modern times, life (and day jobs) do get in the way of art. Such is the case with Algebra‘s 2009 release of JL, clearly the final title for what they had been calling Il Gabbiano Jonathan Livingston. Yeah, either way, it’s Richard Bach‘s 1970 seagull story set to music.

JL is a pretty big step up in quality from their first album Storia di un Iceberg, in recording quality and musical composition both. It’s mostly because of the vocals, I guess, but it recalls more than anything else for me Le Orme, circa Uomo Di Pezza. It’s got everything … Hammond organ, flutes, saxes, synthesizers and guitars, and of course Italian lyrics. It’s pretty clear these folks really like ’70’s Italian prog, and this album is nicely done the style. Just enough recording quirkiness to not sound too “slick”, yet also not too amateurish (a frequent problem on Storia di un Iceberg). Some just-slightly out of tune guitars drive me nuts on a couple of songs, particularly “I gabbiani non volano al buio”, but as I’ve said elsewhere, I think I’m particularly sensitive to this … probably you won’t even notice.

Bottom line is that JL is a pretty good album, and if you’re a fan of ’70’s Italian prog at all, you should check out this modern recapturing of that feeling. Quite nice. I imagine if I understood the vocals, it would add another dimension to the album … note for those Italian speakers out there! You can buy JL (or Storia di un Iceberg) via the BTF web site, see link below.

I should also mention that Algebra has continued to make contributions to tribute albums. Their most recent were their covers of “Dear Diary” for the 2006 Moody Blues tribute album Higher and Higher, “Que Hacer” for the 2006 Luis Miguel tribute album Mas Che Never, and “This Train Is My Life” for the 2010 Marillion tribute album Recital for a Season’s End. — Fred Trafton

Click here for the Algebra web site
Click here to purchase Storia di un Iceberg or JL from the BTF web site

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