Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso – Io Sono Nato Libero

Most commonly compared with the defacto kings of Italian prog rock Premiata Forneria Marconi, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso has established their own footing in both the regional and international scene of prog. Among their more widely acclaimed works is ‘Io Sono Nato Libero’, an album which draws upon equal measures of classical music and jazz to create something beyond regular rock music. While ‘Io Sono Nato Libero’ certainly has reason to be regarded highly however, the album’s lack of consistency hurts what is otherwise a great record.

It can stand to reason that many Italian progressive rock bands share similar characteristics, and Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso is no exception to this. Essentially, there are the symphonic overtones originating in the British scene, mixed with an added theatrical effect and the very distinctive sound of the Italian language. Banco does somewhat distinguish themselves however by the fact that they have some lengthy jazz sections in their music. The best example of this is during the opening track ‘Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico’, which at sixteen minutes, takes up nearly half of the album’s length. Although the heart of Banco’s sound is rooted in dramatic symphonic prog rock, there are extended instrumental passages where the musicianship takes the forefront, and the composition becomes much more loose in nature.

Something that Banco has really going for them are the complex arrangements and compositional strength they have. Especially during the keyboard driven sections, Banco truly does sound as if they are playing classical music with rock instruments; multiple harmonies and counterpoints really seek to emulate the feeling of orchestral scope. ‘Tracia II’ shows the band’s penchant for complex orchestrations at its fullest; sounding like a synthesized rendition of Beethoven. Amidst this bombastic nature however, there are warm acoustic moments and even some memorable melodies from the warm voice of Giacomo. It’s well established that the band has some great versatility going on with ‘Io Sono Nato Libero’, but the album starts to show its weaknesses with how the band organizes these elements together. A wide and diverse sound is usually in the best interest of a prog rock band, but Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso’s somewhat indulgent nature does not work so well for the rapid, oftimes sudden changes in the sound. A carefully arranged classical moment segueing into a loose jazzy improvisation might look good on paper, but here, the band’s ability to transform the music quickly is rough, and leaves the album feeling somewhat inconsistent, and lacking the cohesion I would normally associate with a masterpiece.

Even with the evident flaws in ‘Io Sono Nato Libero’ included, it is easy to see why Banco has gone on to become one of the most well-regarded bands to emerge from the Italian progressive rock scene in the ’70s. Although they would arguably reach much greater heights than here, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso does not disappoint with this one.


1. Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero Politico (15:46)
2. Non Mi Rompete (5:09)
3. La Città Sottile (7:13)
4. Dopo… Niente È Più Lo Stesso (9:55)
5. Traccia II (2:39)


* Vittorio Nocenzi – organ, harpischord, synths
* Gianni Nocenzi – piano, keyboards
* Marcello Todaro – electric and acoustic guitars
* Renato D’Angelo – bass, acoustic guitar
* Pier Luigi Calderoni – drums, percussion
* Francesco Di Giacomo – vocals

Guest Musicians:
* Rodolfo Maltese – acoustic and electric guitars
* Silvana Aliotta – percussion
* Bruno Perosa – percussion

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