Of New Trolls E Orchestra Machiavelli – Verona – 20 maggio 2021
New Trolls are an Italian progressive rock band, known for their fusion of rock and classical music. Their history is filled with line-up changes, band name changes and struggles between band members.
The band was founded around the mid-1960s, when musicians Vittorio De Scalzi, Nico Di Palo, Mauro Chiarugi, Giorgio D'Adamo and Gianni Belleno decided to form a band called New Trolls, after the name of the previous band of one of them, The Trolls.
After a first series of concerts in local clubs, New Trolls gained popularity to the point they were chosen as supporting act for the Rolling Stones, on their Italian tour dates. Soon after, they released their debut single, "Sensazioni" (1967), the first of a very long series of chart hitting songs. The band was one of the best live acts in Italy at the time, and Hendrix-inspired guitarist Nico Di Palo was one of the first Italian guitar heroes.
Their first full-length album, Senza orario Senza bandiera, came in 1968 with lyrics written for it by famed singer-songwriter Fabrizio de André. This release was very successful at the time. A second album, simply titled New Trolls, followed two years later (1970) as a compilation of their singles. By the end of the same year New Trolls would have faced their first line-up change, when Mauro Chiarugi left the band. The other members managed to go on as a quartet.
In 1971 they released the album which was to become their trademark: Concerto grosso per i New Trolls. The album was a fantastic example of early symphonic rock experimentation, with classical music arrangements written by composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov. As the first effort in Italy to merge rock music with classical treatments, this album is still considered one of the most important Italian progressive rock releases ever.
The second line-up change came by 1972, when bassist Giorgio D'Adamo was replaced by the Italo-Canadian Frank Laugelli. With the new line-up the band released Searching for a land, a double album with some live tracks and mostly sung in English. This new record was a disjointed album and not a great success, as most of the English-sung albums by Italian artists. That same year brought another New Trolls album: Ut, introducing a heavier sound similar to hard rock. Even though the release was successful, creative differences emerged and the band broke into two parts, with Di Palo and De Scalzi going in two different ways. A legal struggle began for the use of the band name ensued.
Vittorio De Scalzi reunited with Giorgio D'Adamo, effectively forming another band called New Trolls. The De Scalzi incarnation of the band released a single Una notte sul Monte Calvo, a popular rendition of Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, as New Trolls. A legal battle followed and the next album was released with the title N.T. Atomic System as a result, keeping the style of New Trolls prior to Ut. Despite some accounts on the web De Scalzi never intended to call the band New Trolls Atomic System. An Italian court ruled in De Scalzi's favor and Di Palo and the other three band members released their next album with a question mark replacing the name of the band. The quartet was later dubbed Ibis, a band oriented towards hard rock.
The De Scalzi led lineup, often mistakenly referred to as New Trolls Atomic System, released their first album in 1973 with arrangements similar to the ones used previously in Concerto grosso per i New Trolls. In 1973 De Scalzi founded Magma Records which released the album. De Scalzi himself played the flute, keyboards and guitar in this work. The second album, Tempi dispari, was a live instrumental jazz-rock fusion album, completely different from the previous New Trolls sound. With the court case settled De Scalzi was again able to use the name New Trolls, despite this Tempi dispari was rather unsuccessful.
The disappointment of Tempi dispari triggered the breakup of the De Scalzi led incarnation of New Trolls. Amazingly, De Scalzi rejoined his old friend/rival Di Palo and drummer Belleno for a new chapter in New Trolls' history. Bassist D'Adamo remained and singer/guitarist Ricky Belloni was hired to complete the line-up. In 1975 the band released a live album on Magma simply titled N.T. L.I.V.E. which contained songs prior-breakup and some excerpts from the forthcoming studio album Concerto grosso no. 2, which was released in 1976. Concerto grosso no. 2 revisited the style of their best selling album, but this time the critics considered it to be "pale" and too "pop-vein". Magma Records eventually released both "Concerto grosso" albums in a single package.
1978 brought a new member to the band, keyboardist Giorgio Usai. Then the band slowly begun to abandon its progressive style in favour to a mainstream pop rock sound that gave them many more hits (Quella carezza della sera and Aldebaran among them). The New Trolls kept in this line until the early 1990s.
From then on, the name New Trolls has appeared sporadically in the music scene. Along the 1990s Vittorio De Scalzi recruited several musicians to make tours playing old New Trolls songs. Some album remakes and best-hits collections have appeared too. In 1999 Di Palo, Belloni and Belleno tried to regroup the band (again) but came into legal conflict with De Scalzi.
In 2001 a two-disc set was released credited to De Scalzi: La storia dei New Trolls. Recorded live, the first disc includes reworkings of old tracks, while the second is a complete rendition of Concerto grosso per i New Trolls with full orchestra.
By 2002 the band led by De Scalzi kept touring with La storia dei New Trolls repertoire. Di Palo and former band members regrouped as Il Mito New Trolls, only touring and performing old songs, not releasing any record yet.
2007 saw what is currently the latest reunion of De Scalzi and Di Palo. Reuniting elements from both members' bands, the reformed New Trolls released Concerto grosso: the seven seasons, a continuation of their classical/rock blending "Concerto grosso" series. For this issue, the band returned to English lyrics, written by Shel Shapiro. The record was produced and released by the band's own label, Aereostella.
Later that year, New Trolls were disbanded because of artistic divergences between the members.
Vittorio De Scalzi continued with the New Trolls Atomic System, Nico Di Palo formed two different bands, Tritons and Ibis, while Gianni Belleno recorded some singles under the pseudonym Johnny Dei Tritons and continued to play live with a band named Il Cuore Dei New Trolls. The releases of the subsequent years are:
First reunion. The reformed New Trolls released:
There was another division. The members continued as two separate bands (La Storia Dei New Trolls and Il Mito New Trolls):
Second reunion (but Il Mito New Trolls was continued by Ricky Belloni). Since then the band has released:
The band is divided two again. (La Leggenda New Trolls and UT(Uno Tempore) New Trolls):