Toni Esposito (aka Esposito)

Band members                             Related acts

- Antonio "Toni" Eposito -- drums, percussion


  supporting musicians: (1976)

- Francesco Bruno -- guitar

- Gigi De Rienzo -- bass

- RObert Fix -- woodwinds

- Renato Marengo -- vocals

- Stefano Sabatini -- keyboards

- Lina Sastri -- vocals




- Moby Dick

- Alan Sorrenti 



Genre: progressive

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Procession of the Hierophants

Company: Peters International

Catalog: PILPS 9012

Country/State: Naples. Italy

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 808

Price: $40.00


I don't know a great deal about '70s Italian progressive music so I can't tell you much about Naples-based drummer Antonio "Toni" Esposito.  That also explains how this ended up in my record collection - it I'd done a bit of research I would have quickly figured out this was jazz-rock, rather than progressive material.   Anyhow, Esposito was apparently well known on the local Naples music scene and after a five year stint in the rock band Moby Dick, by the early-'70s was playing and recording with a slew of local, national, and international acts.   In 1974 he scored a contract with the Italian Numero Uno label.  1976's "Processione sul mare" was his second solo release.   The New York-based Peters International label somehow latched on to the collection, retitling it "Procession of the Hierophants" for the US market (yes, I had to look it up - a hierophant is a tarrot card and also refers to a person who brings religious congregants into the presence of that which is deemed holy).  Produced by Renato Marengo, the album found Esposito working with guitarist  Francesco Bruno, bassist Gigi De Rienzo, woodwind player Robert Fix, and keyboardist Stefano Sabatini.  As mentioned, the overarching sound is instrumental jazz-rock with focus on Esposito's percussion moves (which I frequently found irritating).   Some of the tunes weren't half bad; particularly when some of the sidemen were allowed to take over the spotlight - guitarist Bruno was quite good (check out 'Fiaba Moresca'), as was bassist De Rienzo ('Festival On the Mountain').   That said, ultimately the bulk of these eight tunes were simply too jazzy for my pedestrian tastes.



"Procession of the Hierophants" track listing
(side 1)

1.) Flea Market (instrumental)   (Toni Esposito) - 5:01

'Flea Market' (the original Italian title was 'Mercato Di Stracci', opened the album with an upbeat jazzy number that gave all of the band members an opportunity to showcase their technical proficiency.   They'll be folks that love it, but it was a little too dischordant for my tastes.   rating: *** stars 

2.) Fiaba Moresca (instrumental)   (Francesco Bruno - Toni Esposito) - 4:33

Showcasing Francesco Bruno's wonderful, classically-inspired acoustic guitar, the instrumental 'Fiaba Moresca' was one of those tracks that can instantly bring your blood pressure down.  The biggest complaint here was Esposito's irritating percussion work.   It simply distracted you from Bruno's lovely melody.   rating: **** stars  

3.) Bancarella (instrumental)   (Gigi De Rienzo - Toni Esposito) - 2:19

Sporting one of the album's more conventional melodies, the instrumental 'Bancarella' sounded like a slice of incidental music for a long forgotten film.  rating: *** stars

4.) The Parting (instrumental)   (Toni Esposito) - 4:33

Built on Esposito's martial drumming, 'The Parting' managed to bounce between a charming melody and being one of the album's more experimental efforts.  Once again, Bruno's acoustic guitar work provided the song highlights, while Esposito's percussion sound effects were simply irritating.   rating: *** stars


(side 2)
1.) Festival On the Mountain
(instrumental)   (Stefano Sebatini - Toni Esposito) - 5:25

The original title was 'Festa Sul Monte' ...   The side two opener found Esposito and company diving headlong into adult contemporary jazz, accompanied by the usual irritating percussion.  Luckily the second part of the song  picked up the tempo with Fix and keyboardist Sabatini getting to showcase their moves.    rating: *** stars

2.) Winter Song   (Robert Fix - Toni Esposito) - 3:59

'Canzone D' Inverno' spotlighted Fix on woodwinds with the song title serving as an apt description for the song's  icy feel.   Bruno's jazzy electric lead guitar again provided the song highlights.    rating: *** stars

3.) Sunrise Over the Quarter (instrumental)   (Toni Esposito) - 2:32

'Sunrise Over the Quarter' (originally entitled 'L' Alba Nei Quartieri'), found the band mixing funk moves (well as funky as an Italian jazz-rock outfit could be), with increasingly loud street sound effects.  Nice way to quickly get a headache.   rating: ** stars 

4.) Procession of the Hierophants (instrumental)   (Toni Esposito) - 5:09

The title track served as a showcase for Esposito's percussion moves - he could be heard playing what sounded like everything known to man.  The funny thing is this time out he managed to find and hold an interesting, almost Caribbean rhythm for the song's full five minute duration.  If you've ever heard Mickey Hart's soundtrack "The Rhythm Devils Play River Music" you'll have a feel for what this one sounds like.    The song was tapped as an Italian single - guess Italian labels were far more daring than their US counterparts.   rating: *** stars


Not exactly my musical cup of tea, but there will be folks who love it.  Hard to imagine it sold well in Italy where it was accompanied by a single, let alone the US.


By the way, the Italian single was:


- 1976's 'Processione sul mare' b/w ''Mercato di stracci' (Numero Uno catalog number ZN 50347)