Skip to main content

Prog/Symphonic Rock Review: Giannotti-The Great Unknown

Release Date: 10th September 2014
Label: Northford Pines Music
Website

Giannotti is the US based crossover progressive vehicle for the musician Robert Giannotti, formerly of the band, Jasper Wraith. Robert was a founding member of Jasper Wraith in the early 70’s, a band that were very influenced by Yes/Moody Blues and others of that ilk. He left Jasper Wraith and for the best part of 4 decades, and did little in a musical capacity apart from some studio work, preferring to concentrate on his photography. In 2010 he completed a recording studio and set about writing and recording his debut solo album, The Great Unknown, which was finally finished, and released, in 2014.

I am extremely glad that this particular release landed on my review desk as it is a gem, which I was hitherto totally unaware of. The album is a 7 track release with a total playing time of around 58 minutes. The longest track on offer is the title track, “The Great Unknown” with a running time of just under 12 minutes (11:57), and at 5:29 minutes, track 6, “Corridor of Doors” is the shortest.

The musicians involved in The Great Unknown were Robert (guitar, flute, bass, keyboards and drums), George Clini (drums), Mike Soldan (drums and bass) and an array of vocalists, Nicole, Natalia and Jack Tanner, as well as, Ryan and Collin Graveline.

Opening the album, The Great Unknown, is “Intentions – Letting Go” (8:44) and it is a stunning introduction to the music with its symphonic start and excellent guitar soaring high above everything. As it progresses with an acoustic strummed guitar, melodic electric guitar, flute, keyboards and great vocals, this is a very satisfying listen. Over the 8+ minutes there are various influences float across your mind, including The Moody Blues, Yes, Jethro Tull and ELP. Now, don’t get the wrong idea with this comparison list, as Robert I believe is playing the music he really likes and his early influences seem to infiltrate here and there, but at no time is there the sense of “copying” from the past. “Intentions – Letting Go” is a stunning opener and makes you eager to sample what follows.

“Voyage” (8:20) starts with some atmospheric, almost dark, acoustic guitar which slowly merges into a more upbeat tempo. Emotive vocals from the guest vocalists are melodic and harmonious and fit the music very well. Some electric guitar starts to be heard off in the background, but remains subdued, as the vocals carry the track along. Just after the halfway point, the electric guitar gets to “show off” a little in front of some excellent keyboards. This is a very atmospheric track and has a plaintive flute passage carrying the track off and away.

There is more of the excellent guitar work at the start of track 3, “Dance of the Gnome” (6:13) and immerses the listener just prior to some wonderful flute phrasings, suggesting an almost pastoral feel. This instrumental flows gently along until the flute provides another terrific passage and at the 4 minute mark, the track “hardens” a little with an almost abrasive guitar theme. The gentleness of the track returns as it fades out.

The title track, “The Great Unknown” (11:57) has a sort of ambient based backdrop over which there is a stunning electric guitar theme, interspersed with the flute. This is another beautiful track with those powerful melodious vocals. A slow building track which eventually moves into an extremely atmospheric area when the soaring guitar reappears. A gentle fading outro ends a very pleasing passage of music and upon reflection, draws influences from Pink Floyd.

“Sacred Ground” (8:45), “Corridor of Doors” (5:29) and “A World Away” (8:20) includes an almost choral style to the first of these tracks, symphonic overtones and amazing flute providing pastoral imagery to the second and sees the final track having a more symphonic, choral style, and is a beautiful building song to the finale of the album.

The Great Unknown is a majestic piece of work from Robert, with the fleeting influences from bands of the past coming and going, but never intruding throughout the 60 minutes. As the music flows over you, you can be transported back several decades and enjoy sublime aural satisfaction. Make no mistake that there seems to have been a massive oversight of this album when released, and I am very glad I was given the chance to hear and review it. How it was passed over, I really do not know, but my advice is very simple, and that is, “Get out and buy this album.” Let’s ensure that Giannotti get a huge boost in the sales of this superb, but overlooked, debut.

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Intentions – Letting Go, The Great Unknown, A World Away

Tracks:

1.  Intentions – Letting Go
2.  Voyage
3.  Dance Of The Gnome
4.  The Great Unknown
5.  Sacred Ground
6.  Corridor Of Doors
7.  A World Away

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk
May 9, 2016
Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Rock Review: Aunt Mary-New Dawn

Release Date: 12th February 2016 Label: Wind-Up Website
Aunt Mary, as a name, somehow suggests an “older” band and it came as no real surprise to find that they are a Norwegian prog band from the 70’s. The band were considered by many to be one of the best prog bands in Norway with their brand of music a mixture of heavy hard rock tunes plus clear indications of a more symphonic nature, although that only really showed itself on their 3rd, and last, studio album, Janus, in 1973. Last that is, until now, with the release of New Dawn. This would appear to be an apt title for a release which follows 24 years after an album of blues covers, released in 1992. 

At their height, Aunt Mary were “up there” with the likes of Deep Purple, Ten Years After, King Crimson, Jethro Tull and many more. After the release of Janus in 1973, the band split up but did a few sporadic appearances, as well as releasing the blues covers album mentioned earlier.

3 years ago, the Norwegian guitar legend and producer, …

Alternative Rock: mariaFausta -Million Faces

Release Date: November 12, 2017
Label: Independent
Website mariaFausta is a European alternative rock vocalist. Recently her album Million Faces became available. I knew that she would probably sing with an accent and she does. Here is the thing with that aspect of a recording artist, either you cannot get past it or you like it, there is no middle ground. After that process and you decide you like it, you realize it is part of the charisma and make up of what the artist is presenting. For my ears things landed on the positive side in all aspects.

Maria’s sound is a varied approach that works very well. It certainly is alternative rock and one of the most original and different albums I have heard in 2017. I hear a ton of instrumental music and sometimes find it difficult with redundancy regarding my words. That is something that all writers worry about. You are cognizant of that fact at all times. Well let me tell you, this music was a total joy to hear and then have the opportunity to p…

New Age Instrumental Review: Anaya Music-AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music)

Release Date: February 2, 2018 Label: Anaya Music Website
Around this time a year ago I had the experience of listening to Anaya Music and providing coverage of Eternity.  It was an uplifting experience and a memorable listen as I recall.
Now with February drawing closer AONKI – Gateway of Love (Cosmic New Age Music) will arrive.
Once again, the recording features several exceptional collaborations between Anaya Music and a live virtual symphony orchestra recorded in the heart of Prague, the capital of the Czech republic. The orchestra combines members of the finest ensembles in Prague, including the Czech Philharmonic.
I think they should rename the orchestra to “The Live Spiritual Orchestra.” If you have been exposed to Anaya Music you will understand what that means. If this is your first journey with this music you will find out very quickly. Either way, this is spiritually uplifting music that leaves a smile on your soul. It’s like the term digital footprint, there is an everlasting m…