Calliope

Generazioni

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The rather innocent title of Calliope's fourth album hides a troubled history plagued by lineup changes. This CD presents four tracks from a concert in December 1993 and three more from a live-in-the-studio performance in July 2002. During the intervening years, Calliope has lost and replaced all of its five members -- some more than once. As a result, the 1993 and 2002 bands are completely different and the latter has much younger members. What remains the same, though, is group founder Rinaldo Dori's music, even though Enrico Perrucci has taken over his leadership. The "new" group has selected three cuts from Calliope's first two albums. The 1993 half features three more, plus a composition that was previously unrecorded, "Luci ed Ombre." There is no point in trying to determine which incarnation performs best: both have all the necessary skills to pull off Dori's complex structures and romantic themes. The music of Calliope is typically prog rock and typically Italian. It relies on a healthy dose of Mediterranean charm and strong influences from the '70s stars of the genre (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, PFM). Standouts include "Pensieri Affascinanti," dense and eventful, along with the short instrumental "Lunario," relying on an inspired theme. But "La Terra dei Grandi Occhi" is the most satisfying track, replete with vintage mini-Moog solo, 6/8 vamp, and strong melodic content. Generazioni doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it makes a fine album (and well-recorded) while setting the table for the takeover by a younger generation.