Artist

JUMBO

1970-72:
Alvaro Fella (vocals, acoustic guitar, sax, keyboards,  percussion)
Daniele Bianchini (guitar)
Dario Guidotti (flute, mouth harp, acoustic guitar, percussion)
Sergio Conte (keyboards, vocals)
Aldo Gargano (bass, guitar)
Vito Balzano (drums, percussion, vocals)

1973:
Balzano replaced by:
Tullio Granatello (drums)

A very important band that would have deserved much more success than they really had at the time, Jumbo were formed in Milan around singer-songwriter Alvaro Fella, previously playing as bassist with the group from Vercelli Juniors. Fella was noticed and signed by Numero Uno, with which he issued two singles in 1970 under the name Jumbo, both sharing the same B-side (Due righe da te) anc containing two cover versions, Montego Bay and In estate, italian version of In the summertime.
In the first of these singles the backing band featured Franz Di Cioccio and Flavio Premoli from Quelli (later Premiata Forneria Marconi) and Mario Lavezzi (some years later with Il Volo).

After a new contract with Philips, Fella recorded in 1971 his debut LP, with help from the musicians who'd been in the first Jumbo line-up: Daniele Bianchini, Sergio Conte, Dario Guidotti, Vito Balzano and bassist Alberto Agazzi, soon replaced by Aldo Gargano.
The style was rather thin and the album was mostly based on acoustic guitar compositions with little space for electric group parts. There are some good moments like Amore sono qua and Dio (re-recorded on second album), but the result is not impressive and on a lesser level than their following works.

The record was released in 1972, followed after a few months by the second album, DNA, an incredibly mature work. Especially when compared with the previous one, it's obvious that this is their real first album as a group. 
It's composed of four extended tracks, with the long Suite per il Signor K taking the whole of side one. The beginning is in the same style as on the first album, based on acoustic instruments (guitar, flute, piano) but suddenly a distorted electric guitar introduces a much more aggressive sound, led by Fella's harsh voice and strong lyrics. One of the best Italian prog albums for sure!

Last album in 1973, after a drummer change with Tullio Granatello from Novara replacing the original member Vito Balzano. Vietato ai minori di 18 anni? is their most ambitious work, containing strong lyrics and fragments of avantgarde-inspired music, with the help of Franco Battiato. Come vorrei essere uguale a te and Specchio deal with difficult subjects as homosexuality and social alienation and the result is intriguing and rewarding even if less immediate than DNA. The strong contents of the lyrics caused the band being banned by radio programs.

The band was very popular live and kept playing for some years, in 1975 they released a last commercial single, playing at Milan Parco Lambro festivals in 1975 and 1976 (this time with Roberto Biancone on sax and Valter Frazzi on keyboards, replacing Guidotti and Conte).

After a not successful reunion attempt in 1983, documented on the Violini d'autunno CD, the band reunited again in late 1989 with original members bar Sergio Conte (replaced by Paolo Dolfini) for a one-off concert in Paris with IQ and Magma, organized by a French fan of theirs, and the very nice evening is documented on the brilliant Live in Paris CD. 

2001 has seen the release of another CD, called Passing by, containing 1991-2001 recordings by guitarist Daniele Bianchini (always the driving force behind the reunion attempts) aided by some of the band original members, like Alvaro Fella, Dario Guidotti and Tullio Granatello, more new age oriented and mainly instrumental, but containing some very good moments.
In 2007 BTF released the DVD Anthology, containing interviews, pictures and videos documenting the group's career.

After leaving Jumbo, flutist Dario Guidotti played in the first line-up and debut LP of Treves Blues Band, and since 1978 with the group Cacao, releasing an eponymous album for the Pilgrim Fathers label (PFH-27701) in 1981.
Singer Alvaro Fella released in 2016 Coraggio e mistero in collaboration with Consorzio Acqua Potabile.

 

 

LP
Jumbo Philips (6323 012) 1972 single cover with laminated front
lyric inner
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM LP 167) 2014 reissue of 1972 album with inner - grey/black splattered vinyl
DNA Philips (6323 017 L) 1972 gatefold textured cover with inner - some copies have a smooth cover
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 082LP) 2007 reissue of 1972 album with gatefold cover
Vietato ai minori di 18 anni? Philips (6323 025 A) 1973 gatefold textured cover with inner
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 084LP) 2007 reissue of 1973 album with gatefold cover


CD
Vietato ai minori di 18 anni? Philips (846 642-2) 1990 reissue of 1973 album
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VMCD 084) 2004 as above with mini gatefold cover, obi and booklet
  Universal (0602527121796) 2009 new reissue with mini-LP single cover - part of the box set Progressive Italia - Gli anni '70 vol.1
Jumbo Philips/Mellow (512 117-2) 1992 reissue of 1972 album - now deleted
  Universal (0602527319468) 2010 new reissue with mini-LP single cover - part of the box set Progressive Italia - Gli anni '70 vol.3
DNA Philips/Mellow (512 118-2) 1992 reissue of 1972 album - now deleted
  BTF/Vinyl Magic (VMCD 082) 2004 as above with mini gatefold cover, obi and booklet
  Universal (0602527319360) 2010 new reissue with mini-LP single cover - part of the box set Progressive Italia - Gli anni '70 vol.4
Live Mellow (MMP 108) 1992 1990 live concert in Paris by reformed line-up
1983 - Violini d'autunno Mellow (MMP 119) 1992 unreleased 1983 recordings by reformed line-up
1991-2001 Passing by Private pressing 2001 1991-2001 recordings 


VARIOUS ARTISTS COMPILATIONS
Collezione Numero Uno
(with In the summertime)
Numero Uno (ZSLN 55012) 1970 singles compilation, with Edoardo Bennato, Formula Tre, La Verde Stagione, Anna Maria Rame, Bruno Lauzi, Flora Fauna e Cemento, Computers
Quelli della Numero Uno
(with Due righe da te)
Numero Uno (CFD 01080-10) 1999 10 CD - box set with tracks from singles


SINGLES (with picture sleeve)
In estate
Due righe da te
Numero Uno (ZN 50033) 1970  
Montego bay
Due righe da te
Numero Uno (ZN 50104) 1970 same B-side as previous single
Vorrei
Il re dei re del rock and roll
Atlantic (T 10672) 1975  


PROMO-ONLY AND JUKEBOX SINGLES (with blank cover)
La strada che porta al fiume Philips (AS 153) 1972 promo white label 
backed with Umberto Balsamo/Se fossi diversa 
Miss Rand Philips (ASC 1060) 1972 promotional four-track EP
track from DNA - also includes Patty Pravo/A modo mio, Gens/Anche un fiore lo sa, David Shel Shapiro/Affittasi
Il ritorno del signor K
No!
Philips (AS 245) 1973 promo white label 
both tracks from Vietato ai minori,,,
Come vorrei essere uguale a te
Part I & II
Philips (AS 246) 1973 promo white label 
both tracks from Vietato ai minori,,,

 

Rather difficult to find, all the Jumbo LP's were released by Philips with lyric inners. 
First album has a single cover, with lamination on
front. It was recorded in six days and first issued in a limited pressing of just around 1000 copies. It was probably repressed later after the success of the following two albums.

Both DNA and Vietato ai minori di 18 anni? have textured gatefold covers, the latter being particularly difficult to find in perfect condition as the delicate dark cover is usually worn. Some copies of DNA also exist with smooth cover.
DNA was recorded in a week and released in a first batch of 5000 copies, Vietato ai minori di 18 anni in two weeks, being their most elaborate work also on a technical point of view, and the first pressing was made in 10000 copies.
The three albums have been reissued on vinyl by BTF. No foreign vinyl issues exist.

A Japanese CD reissue with mini-gatefold cover on Philips "European Rock Legend Series" exists for DNA (UICY-9113) and Vietato ai minori di 18 anni? (UICY-9114) 

The Passing by CD can be ordered through the band's website (see details below).
The 2004 CD reissues of
DNA and Vietato ai minori di 18 anni? have been released by BTF in their "Italian progressive" series with mini-LP gatefold covers and illustrated booklets.
All the three albums have been reissued again by Universal in 2009-2010 as part of the series of box sets entitled Progressive Italia - Gli anni '70.

Jumbo - LP

DNA - LP

DNA - inner gatefold 

Vietato ai minori di 18 anni? - gatefold cover

In estate - 7" single cover

Montego bay - 7" single cover

Vorrei - 7" single cover

1983 - Violini d'autunno - CD

Jumbo Live - CD

Passing by - CD

Anthology - DVD

 



Click on pictures to enlarge

1970 promo picture Live in 1995

 

Jumbo's guitarist Daniele Bianchini has a website on the band at http://www.danibyjumbo.com.
Flutist Dario Guidotti still plays with Cacao, www.cacaoband.com

 

 

Thanks to Daniele Bianchini, Dario Guidotti, Laura Albergante, Pino Orlandi for some information and pictures on Jumbo