Working the club scene along the I-94 corridor between Chicago and Detroit, Puzzle developed a reputation as a hot live band and following their hook up with Motown, released two fine albums worthy of your attention.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: The Second Album
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: John LiVigni – vocals, drums, percussion * Anthony Siclliano – bass * Joseph Spinazola – piano, organ * Bobby Villalobos – lead guitar * Bob Williams – trumpet, wind chimes * Larry Klimas – saxophone, flute
TRACK LISTING: 01 You Took Me Wrong * 02 Mary Mary * 03 State Of Mind * 04 Everybody Wants To Be Somebody * 05 Haiku * 06 My Love * 07 Now That You Love Me * 08 Concept Of Her (Prelude, A Moments Rest, Visions) * 09 NYC
With their unprecedented success in the field of soul music, the Motown label decided to expand their musical reach by signing rock bands and eventually developing the alternate label-Prodigal that carried Rare Earth and Tattoo just to name two of the more visible groups in their catalog.
Prior to that smart move, Motown took a stab at progressive rock believe it or not with the Italian group Libra and the Chicago based Puzzle. Working the club scene along the I-94 corridor between Chicago and Detroit, Puzzle developed a reputation as a hot live band and following their hook up with Motown, released two fine albums worthy of your attention.
Unlike label mates Libra, the music of Puzzle was far more accessible combining pop and jazz styles with classical tendencies and ‘The Second Album’ is the better of the two.
Some comparisons to Illinois bands Chicago and Chase are easy to make with Puzzle’s use of horns as well as Shadowfax‘s ‘Watercourse Way’, but here the emphasis is on melody.
And there is some beautiful material including the obligatory concept piece in three movements ‘Concept Of Her’ which starts out quite classical before moving back and fourth between jazz and pop similar to some of Gino Vannelli‘s more experimental work.
Elsewhere, the record plays give and take between bright jazz rock influenced pop songs and straight ahead west coast material that should please even the most jaded fans of this style.
Two albums was enough it seems and following the break up of Puzzle, vocalist John LiVigni changed his name to the far more serviceable John Valenti releasing two solo albums; the second ‘I Won’t Change’ we’ve covered here at Glory Daze. It’s worth the effort to track down as well as the Puzzle albums which unlike his solo work has yet to see the light of day on CD.
Entire Album (Non Select Tracks)