Latte e Miele — Passio Secundum Mattheum: The Complete Work
(Black Widow BWRCD 165-2, 2014, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-07-09
Latte e Miele were an Italian symphonic progressive band that released three or four albums, depending upon on how you count them, in the 70s. Passio secundum Mattheum (1972), Papillon (1973) (both Italian and English versions), and Aquile e scoiattoli (1976). They were compared to ELP because of the heavy organ influence, but they never really took the world by storm. Through the efforts of Si-Wan in South Korea, Black Widow in Italy, and the resurgence of Italian prog there is renewed interest in Latte e Miele. So 40 years after the release of their debut album, they decided to remake it with new arrangements, a string quartet, additional musicians, and seven new songs. The result is actually one long rock symphony of nineteen movements with the original band plus a who's-who of contemporary Italian prog: Silvana Aliotta (Circus 2000), Paolo Carelli (Pholas Dactylus), Giorgio D’adamo (New Trolls), Aldo De Scalzi (Picchio dal Pozzo), Sophya Baccini (Sophya Baccini’s Aradia), Alvaro Fella (Jumbo), Paolo Griguolo (Picchio dal Pozzo), Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio Delle Clessidre), and Lino Vairetti (Osanna). Rather than playing instruments, these guests read different passages from the Book of Matthew as introductions to the various songs. Passio Secundum Mattheum is basically a rock interpretation of the Stations of the Cross without being in-your-face religious. There are times when the music is reminiscent of Le Orme and of course there are the Keith Emerson moments. For example, “Ultima cena (The Last Supper)” sounds a lot like The Nice’s “Intermezzo from Karelia Suite” and “Tocata per organo” evokes immediate comparisons to the first ELP album. But these are relatively minor complaints. Taken in its entirety, the sheer majesty of the music, arrangements, and choirs is a vast improvement on the original and worth its addition is anyone’s musical library.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more