In 1970, Maurizio Majorana, Carlo Pes, Roberto Podio, and Antonello Vannucchi, known collectively as I Marc 4 (or just “Marc 4”), released I Marc 4, a library music album credited to Fotriafa, better known as Stefano Torossi.
The fourth of at least ten albums with the same title, I Marc 4 (GLP 1005) on Italy’s Nelson Records features a dozen tracks including “Paperino soldato,” “Scarpe grosse,” “Giochi infantili,” “Giostra di periferia,” and “Suoni armonici” on the side one and “Sambasso,” “Happy Beat,” “Ray Ban,” “Chivas,” “Rum and Coke,” and “Asfalto in Agguato” on side two.
An audio file of I Marc 4 performing “Ray Ban,” credited to Stefano Torossi, is on SoundCloud:
Long out of print, the vinyl LP is a highly sought collector’s item that is extremely rare. However, seven of the twelve compositions attributed to composer Fotriafa, otherwise known as Stefano Torossi, are on The Beat Sound Of The Fabulous I Marc 4, four-CD compilation released by Italy’s Poliedizioni Records in 2010. The comprehensive 97-track collection features the music of Maurizio Majorana, Carlo Pes, Roberto Podio, and Antonello Vannucchi, in addition to a host of prominent composers, including Sandro Brugnolini, under the alias Narassa, Massimo Catalano, Giuseppe De Luca, Romolo Grano (Santany), Paolo Renosto (Lesiman), Edmondo Rossi, and Stefano Torossi (Fotriafa).
During their successful tenure from the Sixties through the Eighties, I Marc 4 also worked with noted composers including Gianni Ferrio, Ennio Morricone, Piero Piccioni, Armando Trovajoli, and Piero Umiliani. “Worked” in this case has a very elastic and somewhat hazy definition as a result of the various machinations artists were forced to engage in in an era where contracts typically prohibited composers and musicians from doing recordings for competing labels. In the case of I Marc 4, an agreement was reached between the group and various friends in the industry to use their names as a method to get paid not just as performers and editors but also as composers.
When queried recently about the relationship between the group of composers and I Marc 4, Stefano Torossi commented:
On several occasions there was a thematic suggestion on our part, but the actual writing, arranging and performing was all Marc 4.
Stefano Torossi’s “Happy Beat,” from the second volume, appears on The Psych Jazzy Beat Of I Marc 4, a compilation by Italy’s Black Cat Records, and is also on YouTube:
The 4-CD collection, divided into three loose-fitting categories: Psych Beat (volumes one and two), Soft Sound, and Samba Bossa Jazz, feature the group’s work with many of these composers and maestros.
Alessandro Casella commented on the impact of I Marc 4 and how they were able to find success in one of the essays accompanying the CDs:
Vannucchi, Pes, Podio, and Majorana became very good friends and because of this they were able to create a distinctive sound quality and a musical harmony that few have ever been able to achieve in Italy. The artistic freedom that several musicians allowed them in recording sessions gave them ample space for improvisation and helped them to obtain a certain “groove” that was then developed in the film soundtrack.
FEB 2015 UPDATE:
An audio sound clip for I Marc 4 (GLP 1005) containing “Suoni armonici,” “Happy Beat,” “Ray Ban,” “Rum And Coke,” and “Asfalto in agguato” has just been posted on SoundCloud:
Psych Beat Volume 1
Psych Beat Volume 1 opens with, “Rum and Coke,” one of seven songs credited to composer Stefano Torossi spread across three of the four volumes of the collection. The 25-track first CD also features seven compositions credited to Romolo Grano, four to Edmondo Rossi, and four solo or co-compositions by Massimo “Max” Catalano, a composer and trumpet player who made more than a dozen albums with Stefano Torossi, starting with their recordings as members of The Flippers in 1960.
“Beat Generation,” composed (and performed) by two of the four members of I Marc 4, pianist Antonello Vannucchi and bassist Maurizio Majorana, is online:
Other tracks on Psych Beat Volume 1 include two credited to composer Sandro Brugnolini (originally under the alias Narassa) and two more to Stefano Torossi under his Fotriafa alias, “Chivas” and “Asfalto in agguato.”
Psych Beat Volume 2
The Psych Beat Volume 2 album showcases nine co-compositions of Giuseppe De Luca, five credited to Paolo Renosto, and four to Romolo Grano. The 22-track second CD Psych Beat Volume 2 also includes two more credited to Stefano Torossi, “Ray Ban” and “Happy Beat.”
Psych Beat Volume 2 features eight tracks or collaborations by Carlo Pes of I Marc 4. Besides playing guitar, Pes composed more than twenty tracks on the The Beat Sound Of The Fabulous I Marc 4 compilation.
An audio file for the 1970 version of Carlo Pes and Giuseppe De Luca’s “Berkey,” a track from the I Marc 4’s Special Effects vinyl LP, is here:
The third part of The Beat Sound Of The Fabulous I Marc 4, entitled Soft Sound and features 24 tracks including six by Edmondo Rossi, solo and with co-composers, five from Giuseppe De Luca and fellow writers, four credited to Romolo Grano, three to Massimo Catalano and collaborators, and another pair with Sandro Brugnolini officially credited as the composer.
Sandro Brugnolini’s “Amore giovanile,” performed by I Marc 4, is also part off a three-track set posted online drawn from the original July 1971 I Marc 4 album G.L.P. 1006. The rare Nelson Records vinyl also showcases “Dirottamento” (from Psych Beat Volume 1) and “Drumming Beat,” all attributed to Narassa, an alias of Sandro Brugnolini:
Samba Bossa Jazz
Samba Bossa Jazz, the fourth album composing The Beat Sound Of The Fabulous I Marc 4 set, features 26 tracks including Stefano Torossi’s “Sambasso” and the compilations’ closing track, “Suoni armonici.” The disc also has four compositions from Romolo Grano and two from Edmondo Rossi.
Romolo Grano’s “On The Train,” featuring the vocals of Edda Dell’Orso, is on YouTube:
The 26-track final disc of the compilation also has six originals credited to Lesiman, an alias for composer Paolo Renosto. Two, “Drumming” and “Geras” are on I Marc G.L.P. 1002, a 1970 LP that also includes “Filter” and “Boxes.”Listen to four I Marc 4 tracks credited to Paolo Renosto on SoundCloud:
All four Renosto tracks above as well as eight additional ones are on The Beat Sound Of The Fabulous I Marc 4 compilation.
More From I Marc 4
The Beat Sound Of The Fabulous I Marc 4 can be found in CD at Discogs and Amazon Italy, among other retailers. It’s also available as a digital download from Amazon and iTunes in most markets in Europe as well as the United States.
A slimmed down best of collection featuring a single CD with 24 cuts, The Psych Jazzy Beat Of I Marc 4, was released by Italy’s Black Cat Records in 2006. Both this and the 2-LP version from 2000 featuring the identical tracks as the CD release are available from Discogs. In addition, this is also now available as a digital download from iTunes in most markets.
Paolo Renosto’s “Ballan” appears on The Psych Jazzy Beat Of I Marc 4, as well as Psych Beat Volume 2:
Two classic soundtracks featuring the music of I Marc 4, L’uomo dagli occhi di ghiaccio from 1971, with composer Peppino De Luca, Edda Dell’Orso and I Cantori Moderni di Allessandroni on vocals, and Gino Marinacci on flute, and Carlo Pes’ Un uomo dalla pelle dura, from 1972 have been reissued in CD by Italy’s GDM label.
A film clip with music from both films is currently found on YouTube:
The twofer is also available in many markets as a digital download from both Amazon and iTunes.
An online audio EP for The Beat Sound Of The Fabulous I Marc 4 contains ten tracks from the 1960s-1070s, including:
- Massimo Catalano’s “Indagine”
- Stefano Torossi’s “Ray Ban”
- Carlo Pes and G. De Luca’s “Scherzo in chiave di basso”
- Antonello Vannucchi and Maurizio Majorana’s “Beat Generation”
- Romolo Grano’s “Compression”
- Carlo Pes and G. De Luca’s “Berkey 70”
- Edmondo Rossi’s “Passeggiata”
- Edmondo Rossi’s “Jimmi”
- Romolo Grano’s “On The Train,” featuring Edda Dell’Orso
- Romolo Grano’s “Summer In Love”
In 2013, Maurizio Majorana, Antonello Vannucchi, and Stefano Torossi released Back in Time: Retro – Vintage – Easy Listening on Italy’s Deneb Records. The digital download features sixteen tracks by the three longtime musical collaborators.
The full Back in Time album by Maurizio Majorana, Stefano Torossi, and Antonello Vannucchi is available at Amazon and iTunes.
The 1970 composition “Ray Ban,” performed by I Marc 4, was also reissued in 2013. The Black Cat Records’ hand-numbered 45 is one of a series of classic singles issued in vinyl.A fan-made video for I Marc 4’s bass-heavy, Italian funk gem, “Ray Ban,” is on YouTube:
I Marc 4 (GLP 1004) Slated for 2014 Vinyl Reissue
A vinyl reissue of Nelson Records’ October 1970 release I Marc 4 (GLP 1004) is due for release in the third quarter of 2014. The latest release by SONOR Music Editions follows the stellar Sandro Brugnolini Underground LP and digital bundle offering in June.
Six tracks, “Deep Bass,” “Fast Bass,” “Distortion-Mind,” “Sweet-Beat,” “The Trip,” and “Compression,” all Romolo Grano (aka Santany) compositions, have been graciously uploaded to SoundCloud:
Antonello Vannucchi is also featured on the 2014 reissue of Quartetto Di Lucca‘s 1962 self-entitled LP, playing vibes rather than piano, along with Giampiero Giusti on drums, Giovanni Tommaso on bass, and Vito Tommaso on piano. The CD and LP is currently available from DustyGroove among other music retailers.
Quartetto Di Lucca’s “Like Someone in Love” is on YouTube:
The six Romolo Grano tracks are also included on I Marc 4’s The Beat Sound Of The Fabulous I Marc 4 collection.
One final track from I Marc 4, “Hyde Park,” again featuring vocalist extraordinaire Edda Dell’Orso. This comes from I Marc 4’s I Soloisti di Armando Trovajoli (1969) album on SR Records, reissued in CD and vinyl by Italian label Plastic Records in 2000: