One of the most important Italian prog-rock｜jazz-rock bands, able to propose an unique sound without parallel elsewhere. An original, intense and delicate blend between jazz and progressive rock, based on Mediterranean sounds with a great live communicative language.
Since the official debut in 1974, arti&mestieri｜Arti e Mestieri have been recognized in Italy and throughout the world as one of the legends in the progressive rock scene. Their unique musical style is sometimes referred to as "classic progressive rock", "classic prog" or “symphonic jazz-rock” because of their original and singular way of making music based on “mixture” of various kinds of music with the sound of advanced jazzy harmonies – with strongly inspired melodic lines and intense and passionate rhythm – in perfect balance between melody and rhythm, this is the arti&mestieri progressive style trade mark; their “singin-like” instrumental melodic lines with their original orchestrations were originally composed by 6 members from different musical experiences: rock, classical, jazz, etc.
The original lineup was made up of: Luigi Venegoni on guitar, Giovanni Vigliar on violin, Arturo Vitali on sax, Marco Gallesi on bass (Il Sogno di Archimede), Furio Chirico on drums (The Trip), Beppe Crovella on keyboards (I Mistici). In 1973, the band was formerly called "Arti".
The band began their career in 1974 thanks to the support of two key figures of that period: the manager Franco Mamone and the record producer Gianni Sassi (Cramps Records). Ahead in 1974, arti&mestieri performed at the Parco Lambro (The Italian Woodstock) in Milan in range of youth proletarian Festival (June 14-16) and, later on, in tour with p.f.m. and Area. The concert of arti&mestieri in front of a 45,000 people audience was a success, leading as well positive reviews from critics.
Still in 1974, the band came out with “Tilt (immagini per un orecchio)” a classic Prog album. The original progressive sound of the band was extremely appreciated and it was indicated as one of the first examples of musical styles, united with classic rock, progressive rock, jazz, rock and fusion; this was a big stature album, produced by the band’s guitarist Luigi Venegoni and Paolo Tofani from Area. Meanwhile, the concert activities continue with an italian tour with Gentle Giant.
In 1975, the band increased its size with the arrival of the singer Gianfranco Gaza (already with “I Procession” - died in 1986) and that allowed Giovanni Vigliar to devote himself exclusively to the violin and to avoid the singing parts.
With this formation arti&mestieri realized “Giro Di Valzer Per Domani” , a mature and homogeneous album, certainly the best of its production, that maintained the strong character of their style emphasizing more of the jazz-rock parts.
After a tour with Area, Emerson Lake & Palmer‘s Manticore got in touch with the band, but without reaching an agreement with the Manager of the band and consequently without reaching to sign a contract.
The long-playing, which had warm welcome by critics, was followed by four years of silence from the record company.
Immediately after the release of the album, Luigi Venegoni and Marco Gallesi left the band, to form – respectively - “Venegoni & Co.” and “Esagono”. The band then toured through southern Italy without guitarist, and with Gigi Fregapane on bass.
The band got back to the front in 1979 with “Quinto Stato”, that took its shape from a project by Furio Chirico and Marco Gallesi.
The album talks about the former social problems and issues of dissatisfaction among youth, as "Quinto Stato" means, in fact, the social exclusion and the impossibility of being inserted into a fellowship that has no more rules about 'values', if not those of the prevarication and quarrels at every level.
Very hard music and lyrics distinguish this work which, although not at the level of the previous, resulted convincing.
It is worth to quote the presence of Marco Cimino on keyboards, already member of the bands “Zauber and Errata Corrige”, and Flavio Boltro a great world famous italian trumpeter, while Gigi Venegoni, only appeared in a single song, before leaving the band to devote himself exclusively to “Venegoni&Co.” with which will produce two excellent albums.
After four years more in silence, arti&mestieri reappears in 1983, in a completely revolutionary form, with the album “Acquario” , featuring, along with Furio Chirico, Antonino Salerno (kb), Umberto Mari(bs), Luigi Tessarollo (gtr), Guido Scategni (wi) and Sirio Merlo (sax).
The jazz-rock proposed in this album is entirely instrumental, always moving with the times, with frequent pure jazz interplays.
Two years later “Children's Blues” is following, again as instrumental album, even more closed to jazz; here the lineup is changed again, featuring Chirico, Salerno and Mari, this time with Mario Petracca (gtr), Claudio Bonade’ (sax), Gigi Mucciolo (tb) and Johnny Capriuolo (tbne). Again to quote is the release of a Live CD in the first months of 1990. featuring the 1974 May concert in Turin, containing tracks from Tilt, and as a special addition, “Comin' Here To Get You”, track signed by Vigliar.
In the 90s, the band formed again with 5 original members: Furio Chirico on drums, Luigi Venegoni on guitar, Beppe Crovella on keyboards, Marco Gallesi on bass, Arturo Vitale on sax and Marco Cimino on keyboards. After a few concerts, Arturo Vitale left the band and has been replaced with violinist Corrado Trabujo.
In 2000 is released “Murales” : one of the most important arti&mestieri works.
In 2001 they release "Articollezione" - a collection of previously unreleased tracks of the first period, full of vocal melodies.
Later on, in 2003, comes out "Live 1974/2000 ", as a double cd.
In the next year, Marco Gallesi left his place to Roberto Cassetta (who played in tour with Carl Palmer and Ian Pace, and worked with Don Airey and Steve Morse) on bass and vocal; then a famous italian guitarist Slep (who worked with Mr Heckstall Smith and De Gregori in Germany and USA) replaced Luigi Venegoni, still collaborating with the band.
These two changes have been their turning point, carrying the band’s sound more towards their origins: a real progressive rock, expressing their sound more stronger and more energetic than ever.
In 2003, with Roberto Cassetta on bass and vocal and Slep on guitar, the group tirelessly performed concerts in Italy and took part in the Prog Day, one of the major US prog festivals, then releasing the albums "Prog Day" and "Extractions" in 2004.
On March 2004, with Marco Roagna replacing Slep on guitar, and Warren Dale on soprano sax as guest, arti&mestieri gave a superb performance at the Baja Prog in Mexicali – Mexico.
Saxophonist Alfredo Ponissi officially joined the band after the Baja Prog.
In 2005, arti&mestieri are again playing at the Baja Prog as festival headliners; this time the line-up includes a new vocalist, Iano Nicolo’ (singer of “Cantina Sociale”).
On June of the same year, arti&mestieri are invited for their first time to Japan, in the Land of the Rising Sun, for two concerts at the historical live theater CLUBCITTA’ in Tokyo. The audio of that live performance was recorded and then published as a CD named "First Live in Japan" by Disc Union in Japan, by MoonJune Records in the United States, and by Electromantic Records in Italy.
Lautaro Acosta, one of the most promising young italian violinists, joins officially the band in 2006, when the band also performs at “In Progress One..” , one of the most important progressive music festival in Italy.
In the middle of 2009 was released worldwide "Il Grande Belzoni": a mini progressive rock album, which contains one instrumental song and three sung tracks (two in Italian and one in English).
"Il Grande Belzoni" was inspired by the life of Giovanni Belzoni, italian explorer, a character that resembles the filmic hero "Indiana Jones". Belzoni has started to work as a "strong man" in a circus, then became an archaeologist, and finally, a famous egyptologist. The lyrics of the songs featuring in this album were written entirely by the well-known journalist and writer Marco Zatterin.
In the first half of 2010 arti&mestieri took part in the three major progressive rock festivals in Europe: the Prog'sud in Marseilles – in France, Verona Prog Fest and Rock in Umbria - in Italy.
In Verona Prog Fest, arti&mestieri performed with two special big guest stars from the English progressive rock scene: the violinist David Cross (King Crimson) and the saxophonist David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator); that made up an unforgettable concert in the international progressive rock history.
In the same year Roberto Cassetta was replaced by Roberto Puggioni, eclectic and very much appreciated bassist.
In 2011 Luigi Venegoni permanently returned in the band, and together with Marco Roagna, also on guitar, the band made its second return to Japan on November 5th.
arti&mestieri took part in the “Italian Progressive Rock Festival I” once again at CLUBCITTA’.
The music of that live performance was recorded and produced by SFERA Entertainment and Ma.Ra.Cash Records under the form of a special box set featuring 1 audio cd and 1 video dvd, along with the precious live footage of 2 Days Prog in Italy of September 2nd 2011, featuring the two great guests from King Crimson: Mel Collins on sax and David Cross on violin.
In the 2013 / '14, the band is fully committed to realize their new album, that will be their 5th concept album, as a payback to the fortieth anniversary of their career.
It will be featuring some of the original historical members, as well as the participation of one of the most appreciated accordionist and keyboardist in Europe, Piero Mortara, already historical member of Venegoni & Co.
The journey continues ...