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Nova - 1977 Wings Of Love

ALBUM: Wings Of Love
LABEL: Arista
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2006, BMG (Japan), BVCM-37772


LINEUP: Corrado Rustici - lead vocals, all guitars, glockenspiel, triangle, gong * Barry Johnson - bass, lead vocals, wind chimes * Elio D'Anna - all saxophones, flutes * Renato Rosset - fender rhodes piano, acoustic piano, mini moog, poly moog, clavinet, hammond organ * Rick Parnell - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 You Are Light * 02 Marshall Dillon * 03 Blue Lake * 04 Beauty Dream - Beauty Flame * 05 Golden Sky Boat * 06 Loveliness About You * 07 Inner Star * 08 Last Silence

Italian progressive guys from Cervello and ex-Osanna move to foggy London, form a jazz rock band releasing their debut on a small indie and ending up on Clive Davis' Arista Records. Now first of all, I'm not really into jazz fusion. Some Brand X here, The Rippingtons and Yellowjackets there, and if I'm really in an adventurous mood - Soft Machine, but for the most part it's not my favourite of styles, yet Nova were different which is why I'm bringing them to your attention. With each consecutive album, Nova moved into more commercial realms and a shorter song style that will have appeal for those into melodic progressive sounds such as pre- 'Infinity' and 'Dream After Dream' era Journey as well as late '70s Santana. On 'Wings Of Love' their third album, Nova added former Lenny White collaborator Barry Johnson on bass and ex-Atomic Rooster Ric Parnell on drums for a record that I feel stands as the band's finest effort.

The Songs
With crystal clear production from Narada Michael Walden (Jeff Beck), Nova move effortlessly between celestial progressive pop and funky slap bass fusion with an emphasis on melody. 'You Are Light' opens the record with a breezy jazz influenced pop number with a touch of west coast highlighted by Elio D'Anna's soaring sax and very Santana-esque guitar work from Corrado Rustici. Really nice and I'm ready for more. 'Marshall Dillon' follows with the records only straight fusion styled number, good but not great since these guys were much better and breaking boundaries as on 'Blue Lake' - an achingly beautiful ballad reminding me of the first two Ambrosia albums believe it or not, especially in the vocal department. Eastern philosophy played a big role in Nova's music as evident from the lyrics centered on the theme of 'inner beauty and the god within' mysticism, but the music is so good, it's easy to over look this flaw, drink the Kool-Aid and follow the light. 'Golden Sky Boat' on side two combine's lush atmospherics with colourful fusion and prog pop to great effect. 'Loveliness About You' once again takes me back to that early Ambrosia sound while 'Inner Star' is the most early Journey-like tune here and as mentioned before, Rustici's guitar work burns like a star across the sky on this cut and throughout the entire album.

In Summary
I rate this album highly and suggest looking for the recent Japanese CD reissue featuring the original UK cover art. While you're at it, check out the previous album 'Vimana' and their final record 'Sun City' both of which are outstanding although their debut 'Blink' leaves much to be desired in my opinion. Late on the scene, Clive Davis was obviously looking for a piece of the prog rock pie when he signed both Nova and Happy The Man. Notorious for his meddling and influence, with Nova, Davis succeeded where so many have failed, offering tuneful fusion that still sounds fantastic today.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 15 2009 07:41:06
For more on Corrado Rustici superb guitar work, check out Michael Narada Walden's two solo LP's from 1979 and 1980 respectively ('Dance Of Life' and 'Victory'), released on Atlantic Records.

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