Originally published in 1973, Richard Bachís Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a modern classic of a novel which has caught the fancy of several generations of young (and not so young) people for often completely different reasons. Stepping out of the printed page, it also became the subject of a Hal Bartlett movie (soundtrack courtesy of Neil Diamond), as well as countless other artistic representations in various fields.
The allegory of the seagull Jonathan, who refusing to follow his akin, content to just spend their lives looking for food, rather dedicating his existence to the exasperated improvement of his flight ability, can be seen from many different social and even ideological points of view, but surely represents the wish of not just conforming to societyís demands to simply toe the line.
The Algebra project follows the plot of the book chronologically, but while some events are clearly exposed, other are presented in a non literal way. Musically speaking, the basic structure of a concept album can surely be seen as belonging to progressive rock, embracing at once different influences from jazz to folk, from fusion to opera, from classical music to a more traditional songwriting approach, never forgetting the strength of the typical Italian melody, which has been so appreciated abroad over the years.
The project also features some illustrious guests whose credentials shine in the firmament of progressive rock, beginning with Steve and John Hackettís cameos (the former Genesis guitarist plays a short but stunning solo on Il molo deserto, while his brother adds his wonderful flute playing to three tracks). Two of the most characteristic singers of the 70ís also can be heard within: the dreamy voice of Le Ormeís Aldo Tagliapietra (who introduces the protagonist of the story) and the raving singing of Osannaís Lino Vairetti, who is instead asked to render Jonathanís frustration when he canít manage to improve his flight skills.
But the project also showcases artists of completely different backgrounds such as Italian-Serbian songwriter Goran Kuzminac, who shows Jonathanís sadness when he is emarginated from the Elder seagull, or rocker Graziano Romani, who jabs out the protagonistís grimness when faced with a change in his spiritual growth, recounting the meeting with the seagull who will cast him towards the much sought-after perfection.
An absorbing sonic adventure which, in the space of just less than one hour, will allow to the listener join in on a trip with no limits, in an unlimited idea of freedom.