The long-lived and influential Italian progressive band Banco del Mutuo Soccorso was influenced by such British progressive giants as Yes and Gentle Giant while also drawing heavily on classical and folk music. Although the group simplified their sound in later years, from 1972 to 1976 the group produced a series of eclectic, densely arranged progressive classics.
Formed in the early '70s, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso featured the dual keyboard attack of Vittorio Nocenzi, the aggressive guitar of Rudolfo Maltese, the quasi-operatic vocals of Franceso di Giacomo, and the solid rhythm section of Maurisio Masi (drums) and Tiziano Ricci. Their first album, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso (1972), featured jazzy elements but focused heavily on a classical sound that led many to compare them to ELP. The band continued in this vein for Darwin! (1972), Io Sono Nato Libero (1973), and Come In Un'ultima Cena (1976). Banco (1975) was compiled of English-language remixes of material from their original albums. Garofano Rosso (1976) and Di Terra (1978) were almost all-instrumental and found the group exploring further into the classical realm. Canto Di Primavera (1979) simplified the band's sound to a degree, evidenced further on the live Capolinea (1980).
The group pursued a more pop-friendly sound in the 1980s before breaking up after Grande Joe (1985). They re-formed in the early '90s, releasing Da Qui Messere Si Domina La Valle (1991), a re-recording of their first two albums. Il Tredici followed in 1994, while an unplugged set, Nudo, was released in 1997. Live in Concert, a double CD of the reunited group playing in 1999, was released in 2000. ~ Geoff Orens