We interrupt our long and protracted report back from the International Pop Overthrow Festival (yes believe it or not we're still working on it – life's been one hell of a bitch this year) to bring you some sad news.
Whilst away in the USA on our annual sojourn to visit Debra47's family and friends we learnt the shocking and devastating news that Gianfranco 'Jan' Pinto, who played keyboards with our friends, the mucho groovtastic psyche and pop band The June, died suddenly on October 26th.
Jan augmented The June when they appeared live, adding crucial keys and vocals to swell out the band's live sound to approximate the rich, multifaceted swirling atmosphere achieved on record.
Unbeknown to us, Jan, an unassuming figure who mainly conversed with us in his native Italian was not only a major figure on the Italian Rock scene going back to the late 60's/Early 70's, but also as an elder statesman of the Italian scene itself and was not adverse to helping out any number of contemporary artists in his native country, including Perdio, Shout, The Soul Busters Band and of course The June.
Best known (particularly to friends I have into deepest prog) for being the keyboard player/vocalist and composer in the remarkable (guitarless except for bass) Italian Prog Rock band Madrugada. The band made two fascinating albums for Phonogram in the mid 70's, although they began as far back as 1970 when Jan must have only been a teenager. The second side of their self named debut album stands as quite a beacon amongst prog fans, which I recommend you seek out. I have a shaky copy digitised from vinyl, but their 2nd album 'Incastro' can be found in pristine form as part of the gargantuan 'Progressive Italia' on Volume 5 (itself a 6CD set). Find more info on this volume and the rest of the vast collection here.
Not content with having founded one of the premier prog bands of the era, Jan went on to work with Adriano Pappalardo (Aphrodite's Child), Roberta Flack and Brian Auger to name but a few. Interspersed with these high profile gigs were periods of teaching, music programming, arranging and solo work.
The June recognise that a talent as big as Jan's cannot be replaced, so 'live' they will continue with their original core 3 piece line-up. On record the keyboard parts will be played by Chris Raven (as they always have been).
Jan's passing leaves a big gap in Italian Rock and the lives of his friends, nearest and dearest – he will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.
Jan's own website: http://www.gianfrancopinto.com/
The June on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thejuneband
The June on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-JUNE/288144107878461