Sky – Same (Vol. 1) (1979)

FrontCover1Sky were an English/Australian instrumental rock group that specialised in combining a variety of musical styles, most prominently rock, classical and jazz. The group’s original and best-known lineup featured classical guitarist John Williams, bass player Herbie Flowers, electric guitarist Kevin Peek, drummer Tristan Fry and keyboard player Francis Monkman.

In 1971, John Williams (already one of the most acclaimed classical guitarists in the world) released the fusion album Changes – his first recording of non-classical music, and the first on which he played electric guitar. Among the musicians working on the album were Tristan Fry (an established session drummer who was also the timpanist for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and had played Timpani on The Beatles ‘A Day In The Life’) and Herbie Flowers (a former member of Blue Mink and T. Rex, as well as a busy session musician who, amongst other things had recorded the bassline for Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’).

The three musicians became friends, kept in touch and continued working together on various projects during the 1970s. One of these was Williams’ 1978 album Travelling, another substantially commercially successful cross-genre recording. As well as Fry and Flowers, the record featured former Curved Air member Francis Monkman (who in addition to his progressive and psychedelic rock background as guitar and synthesizer player, was a trained and accomplished classical harpsichordist).

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In 1979, Monkman performed on Louis Clark’s album (per-spek-tiv) n., on which he collaborated with an Australian session guitarist called Kevin Peek. Peek was a musician equally adept at classical guitar and pop/rock styles, having built up a reputation both as a chamber musician and as a long-standing member of Cliff Richard’s band, as well as for working Manfred Mann, Lulu, Tom Jones, Jeff Wayne, Shirley Bassey and Gary Glitter.

The success of Travelling inspired Williams and Flowers to set up Sky, their own long-term cross-genre band. Fry and Monkman were swiftly recruited, with Kevin Peek being the final addition. The band began writing and recording instrumental music drawing on their collective experience of classical, light pop, progressive and psychedelic rock, light entertainment and jazz. After a protracted search for a record company, Sky signed with the small European label Ariola Records.

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Although Sky was run democratically (with all members contributed music and/or arrangements), the presence of John Williams in the lineup was regarded as the band’s biggest selling point and was emphasised in publicity. Williams’ concurrent solo instrumental hit – “Cavatina – Theme from The Deer Hunter” – also helped to raise the band’s profile. However, this selling was counterbalanced by some negative reviews from critics accustomed to Williams’ classical performances, who remained unimpressed by his new direction with Sky.

Sky’s self-titled debut album (released in 1979) was highly successful in Britain and Australia, quickly reaching gold record status and eventually topping out as a platinum record. The album featured versions of Eric Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1” and an Antonio Ruiz-Pipò ‘Danza’ , as well as original compositions by Monkman and Flowers. Monkman’s ‘Cannonball’ was a minor hit single, and the keyboard player also contributed the twenty-minute second-side composition “Where Opposites Meet” (intended to combine and display the band’s diverse influences) (by wikipedia)

This is the debut album from the session musician supergroup Sky. The idea behind this band was to assemble virtuoso instrumentalists and adept composers who possess an appreciation for classical music, allowing it to infiltrate their own playing and writing. The concept was admirable, and was manifested more fully in future albums; however, on this recording the songs never seem to unfold completely.

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With the exception of Kevin Peek’s fiery adaptation of Antonio Ruiz-Pipó’s Spanish guitar piece “La Danza,” this album plods along with no apparent destination. Melodies seem undeveloped but trudge forth nevertheless, presumably for the sake of completing the album. Given the presence of world-class guitarist John Williams, his contribution is hardly detectable, and Francis Monkman’s omnipresent harpsichord becomes tiresome midway through the album. And the monotonous rhythm of bassist Herbie Flowers and drummer Tristan Fry does nothing to alter the tediousness of these pieces. It would be a stretch to call this progressive or classical rock; it is merely instrumental pop/rock. (by Dave Sleger)

I can´t agree with this review … maybe this album is not a masterpiece, but´s it´s the beginning of one of the finest classic-rock formations from this time … with a lot of very interesting sounds … especially in “Where Opposites Meet” … or: listen to the guitars on “Danza” … what a sound …  !

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Personnel:
Herbie Flowers (bass)
Tristan Fry (drums, percussion)
Francis Monkman (piano, synthesizer, harpsichord)
Kevin Peek (guitar)
John Williams (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Westway (Flowers) 3.39
02. Carillon Flowers) 3.29
03. Danza (Ruiz-Pipò) 2.58
04. Gymnopedie No. 1 (Satie) 3,41
05. Cannonball (Monkman) 3.42
06. Where Opposites Meet (Monkman) 19.22.
06.1. Part 1 (3.38)
06.2. Part 2 (2.24)
06.3. Part 3 (5.28)
06.4. Part 4 (5.39)
06.4. Part 5 (2.21)

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Various Artists – Celebrating Jon Lord – The Composer (2014)

FrontCover1Jon Lord is remembered as the founder of Deep Purple and one of the seminal rock keyboardists of all time. But Lord was also a respected composer, something he pursued alongside and throughout his tenure in Deep Purple. His untimely death in 2012 from a pulmonary embolism cut short a stellar career that was much richer than many realize.
With this album, Lord gets his due. An impressive cast of characters came together to perform select works live in the Royal Albert Hall. The result is something best described as cinematic. As individual pieces, the drama, energy, and emotion shines through. As a live concert it is a wonderful celebration of one man’s life work. (by innocentwords.com)

The passing of Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord in 2012 was sad for the obvious reasons, but also because he was about to release a just finished re-imagining of his “Concerto for Group and Orchestra,” a piece Deep Purple first played live at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969, and one that is often cited as the first true meeting of classical and rock. Lord was a big part of the heavy orchestral prog rock sound of Deep Purple, and he could rock when needed, or take center stage and play pretty as the soundtrack for a majestic autumn wind. He played with other bands as time went on, including Whitesnake, but in his later years he increasingly pursued his aspirations as a classical composer.

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Which brings us to this set, one of two volumes derived from a historic tribute concert held April 4, 2014 at Royal Albert Hall that marked the 45th anniversary of when Lord’s “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” first debuted there. Surviving members of Deep Purple were on hand for the tribute, as well as Paul Weller, Whitesnake’s Micky Moody, Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and many others, including the Orion Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann. The evening opened with a classical set from the orchestra, which is what we have here, then went to a more rock-oriented second act, before concluding with a set by Deep Purple — the rock and Deep Purple portions of the evening are available as Celebrating Jon Lord: The Rock Legend, the other volume of this tribute set.

Among the highlights of this opening classical portion are the majestic “Fantasia” (from Sarabande), complete with horns, and a beautiful “All Those Years Ago,” which features vocals from Micky Moody and illustrates just how much vision Lord really had for a classical/rock fusion, and in retrospect, how Deep Purple personified that vision. (by Steve Leggett)

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Personnel:
Miller Anderson (vocals on 04.)
Mario Argandoña (percussion on 01., 04., 06. + 07.)
Steve Balsamo (vocals on 03.)
Matthew Barley (cello on 02.; =$:)
Jerry Brown (drums on 01., 05. + 07.)
Margo Buchanan (vocals on 06.)
Murray Gould (guitar on 01., 05. + 07.)
Nigel Hopkins (piano on 01., 03.  05. + 07.,  organ on 02.)
Jeremy Irons (speaker on 08.)
Paul Mann (piano on 08.)
Jacqueline Martens (violin on 02.)
Micky Moody (guitar on 03.)
Darragh Morgan (violin on 06.)
Neil Murray (bass on 01., 05. + 07.)
Anna Phoebe (violin on 03.)
Kathryn Tickell (pipe om 02.)
Rick Wakeman (synthesizer on 05.)
Wix Wickens (keyboards on 01. + 07. piano on 06. )
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The Orion Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann

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Tracklist:
01. Fantasia (from Sarabande) (Lord) 4.14
02. Durham Awakes (from Durham Concerto) (Lord) 8.54
03. All Those Years Ago (Lord/Balsamo) 6:47
04. Pictured Within (Lord) 9.09
05. Sarabande (Lord) 8.36
06. One From The Meadow (Lord/Brown) 9.58
07. Bourrée (from Sarabande) 7.22
08. Afterwards (Lord/Hardy) 4.20
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Trace – Same (1974)

FrontCover1Trace was a Dutch progressive rock trio founded by Rick van der Linden in 1974 after leaving Ekseption. They released three albums before merging back into Ekseption.

In 1973, after releasing their album entitled Trinity, the members of the band Ekseption asked Rick van der Linden to leave the band. At this time Ekseption were quite famous which led Philips, their record-company, to give van der Linden the opportunity to find a new band.

In January 1974 van der Linden started rehearsals with Peter de Leeuwe, who had been playing drums with Ekseption before. The pair split up again soon after, since van der Linden considered de Leeuwe to lack in skill. De Leeuwe was replaced in February by Pierre van der Linden (a second-cousin of Rick), who had left Focus in October, 1973. To complete the trio, Rick finally asked Jaap van Eik, a self-taught musician considered to be one of the best Dutch bass players, to join the band. Originally named Ace (in the tradition of Cream and Flash to highlight their supergroup status), they had to change the name to Trace when they discovered a British band had already trademarked the name.

On 9 September 1974 the trio released their first, self-titled album. Their second album, Birds was released on 1 January 1975, and featured future Marillion drummer Ian Mosley. A third album, The White Ladies, was released in 1976 with Rick van der Linden being supported by all of the former members of Ekseption save trumpeter Rein van den Broek. In 1978 van den Broek rejoined the group which effectively became Ekseption once again. (by wikipedia)

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Trace (1974). Left to right: Jaap van Eik, Pierre van der Linden & Rick van der Linden

Listening to Trace’s first album, it’s like a war. Notes sprawling and tearing up your inner ear like bullets fired straight out of a smoking machine gun.

Lightning Bach style, super tight bass/drum interplay. It’s Emerson Lake & Palmer…but without the gigantic ego, the lyrical bullcorn and the awful by-product filler that every album’s filled with.

Some bands are just TOO COMPETENT to write a page of history (and therefore, being understood) and Trace is one of the leader in this sad but mind-boggling category maybe with Echolyn or Par Lindh Project.

In fact, the product is purely an exercise, so it’s not accessible and therefore, dispensable. In no way these guys thought they would carry on or reform on day on the sake of making a few dollars. Because this band probably made some money by doing marathon concerts. Hard working, not physically attractive (Rick van der Linden looks like an anorexic Leif Ericksson) and ridiculously perfectionnist…dude, this record is tough to swallow and needs time to digest to full appreciation.

This is a major kick in Rachmaninov’s…er, piano I guess. (by Menswear)

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The inlets from the original LP from 1974

Personnel:
Jaap van Eik (guitar)
Pierre van der Linden (drums)
Rick van der Linden (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Galliarde (Italian Concerto BWV 971 in F Major)/Polish Dance (Bach/Traditional) 6.07
02. Gare le Corbeau (v.Eik) 2.02
03. Galliarde Italian Concerto BWV 971 in F Major)/Polish Dance (Bach/Traditional) 4.55
04. The Death Of Ace (from: Peer Gynt Suite (Grieg) 5.13
05. The Escape Of The Piper (R.v.d.Linden) 3.08
06. Once (R.v.d.Linden) 4.11
07.Progression (R.v.d.Linden) 12.02
08. A Memory (Traditional) 3.54
09. The Lost Past (P.v.d.Linden) 3.27
10. A Memory (Traditional) 1.40
11. Final Trace (R.v.d.Linden) 3.55
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12: Progress (single A-side) (R.v.d.Linden) 4.08
13. Tabu (single B-side) (R.v.d.Linden) 4.16

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(Los) Canarios – Cycles (Cyclos) (1974)

FrontCover1LOS CANARIOS from Spain started off as a typical, run of the mill pop/rock band (probably not unlike Los Bravos, but I’m not sure) and released three albums from 1968 to 1972. I’m sure fans of the pop CANARIOS were in for a total rude awakening when they released this double album, “Ciclos”. The band totally went off the prog deep-end and went and adapted Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” in a prog rock setting. The main guy of this band, Teddy Bautista included lots of great analog keyboards like the Moog II-P modular, Mini Moog, VCS-3, ARP 2600, Mellotron M400. Other members included Alain Richard on drums (and tons of percussion), guitarist Antonio Garcia de Diego, Mathias Sanvellian on additional keyboards (piano, organ, RMI electric piano, harpsichord, etc.), and bassist Christian Mellies. Add that with a choir (both male a female), a couple of male vocalists (I bet the not-so-great singer was one of the band members), and a female soprano, provided by an Indonesian named Rudmini Sukmawati (in which photos of her make her look Gothic, one scary picture of her makes her look like Marylin MANSON!).

This is a totally complex and densely layered album which you’re not likely to get on the first listen. Lots of really amazing analog synths. In between classical themes are rather bizarre and twisted use of synthesizers. One part finds the band being really silly by having a barbershop quartet sing “Plastic Christmas” with lyrics that go: “It’s another plastic Christmas / Santa Claus has died / One more thing to celebrate”, suggesting they felt Christmas had became a big load of crap (they should try Christmas here in America some 30 years later, which got so bad I tend to leave the radio and television off that time of year because of the hype and overcommercialization, not to mention worn-out Christmas carols).

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My only real complaint goes to “Himno a la Armonia Implacable del Fin” (on the fourth and final movement entitled “Cuarto Acto: El Eslabon Recobrado”), I think that piece downright sucks with the overly dramatic and cheesy male operatic vocals and choir. I can live without that, but the rest of the album demonstates why not only is this regarded as one of the best prog albums to come out of Spain, but one of the best prog adaptations of classical aside from Il ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA’s “Contaminazione”. My other complaint is CANARIOS never followed up “Ciclos” with perhaps another full-blown prog album, perhaps this time, original band compositions. This was unfortunately their only prog album. Aside from “Himno a la Armonia Implacable del Fin”, I truly think this is one of the all-time great prog take on classical music. Totally essential album. (by Proghead)

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This could be one of the Top 10 best ProgRock albums I ever heard. Besides the (probably) 30 different instruments [including a Theremin — :-)], the lyrics, the vocals, actually add to the complexity of the album. Incredible dynamic and mood range, from lyrical to abrasive, from stunning Spanish guitar (acoustic, 6 and 12 strings) solos to raucous, outright in-your-face synths and percussions, this album is absolutely breath-taking. The fact that I really love Vivaldi, is incidental, in this case. I still have goose-pimples. The accompanying booklet (in Spanish) is also a creation of love and a pleasure to read. This, friends, ought to be what ProgRock is all about. This is a masterpiece. (by rozsa)

The story of this little known progressive rock gem is almost as interesting as the music itself: a true, sprawling four sides of pure symphonic grandeur of the scope and ambition of “Tales from Topographic Oceans” or “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” The Spanish band started out as the pop/rock group Los Canarios and had several releases which did well, but were of little interest to prog fans. Then around 1973, leader Teddy Bautista split with his bandmates and retained the name, shortening it to just Canarios. He surrounded himself with all new people and decided to create an epic work for the ages. Today, “Ciclos” is little known and rarely discussed, but I think this is likely the most significant Spanish progressive rock title of its time. As Hugues points out, even the fact that such a project could come to fruition given the political/social oppression of Spain in this period makes it very existence incredible. The high-minded plot themes deal with the circle of life and the history of humanity.

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Teddy Bautista

“Ciclos” contains only four songs, each covering an entire side of this double album. The music is a free reinterpretation of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and a serious attempt to meld together classical music with symphonic progressive rock. I say reinterpretation because this is not purely a rock band covering a piece of classical music. Everything is subject is change here and the four pieces show a wealth of creative writing and arrangements. The band brings in all various styles to play with: symphonic prog, jazz rock, avant-garde, operatics, and melodic pop/rock. The end result ends up being something not far from the Italian prog of the same period: ambitious, bold, a bit naïve, and sometimes a bit over the top. The “everything but the kitchen sink” approach is on display here. It’s a complex album and in my view a great success, but it takes time to reveal itself to the listener. Like some other reviews I’ve read, the album did not appeal to me at first. Had I written a quick review it would not have been complimentary. But the more you play this one, the better it gets, which is why I rarely write quick reviews. Sections of the album are beautiful beyond belief, other sections rock hard, and other sections leave you scratching you head at what you just heard. Not bad at all!

“this album is much more than just a cheesy rock adaptation. The band put a lot of effort to mix elements from jazz, blues, opera, and even the modern avant-garde classical into Vivaldi’s original. Listeners are treated to harpsichords competing with blues and jazz-infected electric guitars, moog synths that let loose a flurry of notes from Vivaldi’s original composition before jumping into funky seventies fusion, classical guitars that gently play melodic interludes as the drummer bangs away inspired by John Cage’s compositions for percussion. These guys simply loved to mix different genres of music together.” -Steve Hegede

As some have pointed out, it can be a bit garish and cringeworthy at times-this is a fair criticism. The keyboard sound choices in particular can be a little cheesy and may make the album too dated for some. In a pure sound sense it does not hold up quite as well as the Yes and Genesis titles mentioned above. But, for those who don’t insist on refined restraint in their prog adventure, “Ciclos” is a pure roller-coaster ride that may leave you breathless with listening pleasure. It is certainly not the least bit ashamed to wear its heart on its sleeve. Tightly performed and with reasonably deep, punchy sound, the album lays out a convincing and jamming rock base over which it displays incredible window dressings: I most love the oodles of unique instruments, the little baroque elements, the occasional operatic vocals and choirs, and the adventurous avant-garde excursions. The album can seem inspired by Topographic Oceans although Yes were more seasoned, and Oceans final product more “musically mature” than this one. My personal guess is that most people who like classic era Yes, Genesis, or Banco will be very happy to have acquired Canarios. I consider this title nearly essential to a deep prog-rock collection. (by Finforrest)

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One of the best albums of the prog rock genre. Ciclos is an adaptation of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” They don’t make a note-by-note interpretation, but they add some typical prog rock elements, such as the use of Mellotrons and Moog synthesizers, played with virtuosity. This recording is a more accurate interpretation of a classical piece than “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Emerson Lake & Palmer. There’s a lot of color in this recording, with vocals in English, Spanish, and Latin, plus the presence of opera singers, electric guitars, and electronic keyboards. This one has been long out of print, but it’s worth it for fans of progressive rock. It’s an underground classic of the genre. (by Juan Sjöbohm) by Juan Sjöbohm

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Personnel:
Teddy Bautista (keyboards)
Antonio García De Diego (guitar, vocals, keyboards)
Christian Mellies (bass, synthesizer, theremin)
Alain Richard (drums, percussion)
Mathias Sanveillan (keyboards, violin)
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Leandro Blanco (vocals)
Claude Guillot (vibraphone)
Rudmini Sukmawati (vocals)
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Trio Portenyo (flamenco trio) (on 02./”Serenata Extravagante”)

Arranged and conducted by Alfredo Carrión and Teddy Bautista

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Tracklist:

01. First Transmigration (The Remote Paradise) Primavera 17.02
– a) Genesis (Bautista/Mellies/Richard/Sanveillan/Diego)
– b) Prana (Grito Primario) (Bautissta)
– c) Primera Visión de un Mundo Nuevo (Vivaldi)
– d) Himno a la Armonía Magistral del Unverso (Vivaldi)
– e) Primeros Pasos en un Mundo Nuevo (Vivaldi)
– f) Metamorfosis Extravagante (Vivaldi)

02. Second Transmigration (The Next Abyss) Verano 16.32
– a) Narración Extravagante (Bautista/Carrion)
– b) Primeras Preguntas en un Mundo Nuevo (Vivaldi)
– c) Canto al Niño Neurótico (Vivaldi)
– d) Himno Crítico a la Primera Adversidad (Vivaldi)
– e) Desfile Extravagante (Bautista/Mellies/Richard/Sanveillan/Diego)
– f) Proceso Alienatorio (Bautista)
– g) Serenata Extravagante (Bautista)

03. Third Transmigration (The Future Border) Otoño  17.50
– a) Pequeño Concierto Extravagante (Bautista)
– b) Paginas de Plata de un Diario Intimo (Vivaldi)
– c) Anti-Himno a la Programacion Cibernetica (Vivaldi)
– d) Monasterios (Vivaldi/E.Bautiasta/T.Bautista/Diego)
– e) Proceso Ciberetico (Vivaldi)
– f) Villancico Extravagante (Vivaldi)

04. Fourth Transmigration (The Recuperated Link) Invierno  21.55
– a) Hibernus (Bautista/Sanvveillon) (Vivaldi)
– b) Crisis (Vivaldi)
– c) Ballet de las Sombras (Vivaldi/Bautista/Mellier)
– d) Himno a la Armonía Implacable del Fin (Vivaldi)
– e) Vanessa (El Aliento de la Osamenta) (Richard/Bautista)
– f) Nirvana Extravagante (Vivaldi)
– g) Diálogos a Alto Nivel (Vivaldi)
– h) Hiperdestrucción (Vivaldi)
– i) Apocalipsis (Bautita)

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Teddy Bautista in 2015

David Garrett – Rock Symphonies (2010)

FrontCover1After a self-titled release that flirted with pop crossover, violinist David Garrett dives deep into that world with his 2010 effort, an album that rocks like its 1766. Most arrangements are simple as Garrett takes the melodies from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and plays them furiously in front of an equally aggressive orchestra that’s augmented by electric guitars and a standard rock kit drummer. No great revelations to be had, but the tracks work well enough, recasting some of rock’s classics as Romantic-era works that are prime for television commercials designed to sell diamonds or wine to the post-Woodstock set. Rock symphonies exceeds its predecessor when it comes to the more clever cuts, such as the “Vivaldi vs. Vertigo,” a mash-up of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and U2’s “Vertigo.” And it’s fun how “The 5th” messes with Beethoven’s — heck, classical music’s — most famous piece and how his take on “Walk This Way” references the Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. version before turning into a fiddle-led hoedown. Keep in mind, the showy Garrett is a polarizing figure in the classical community, so don’t expect your snootier friends to agree, but if your kids spend way too much time behind the violin, this just might turn them on to rock & roll. (by David Jeffries)

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Personnel:
Jeff Allen (bass)
David Garrett (violin)
John Haywood (piano)
Franck van der Heijden
Jeff Lipstein (drums)
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Orianthi (guitar on 04.)
Marcus Wolf (guitar on 02., 08, 10. – 14.)
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City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

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Tracklist:
01. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Grohl/Novoselic/Cobain) 4.06
02. November Rain (Rose/McKagan/Stradlin/Sorum) 3.59
03. The 5th (v.Beethoven) 3.33
04. Walk This Way (Perry/Tyler) 2.57
05. Live And Let Die (McCartney) 3.25
06. Vivaldi vs. Vertigo (Clayton/Vivaldi/Evans/Mullen/Hewson) 3.15
07. Masters Of Puppets (Burton/Hammett/Ulrich) 3.47
08. 80’s Anthem (Bongartz/Garrett/v.d.Heijden) 3.33
09. Toccata (Bach) 3.52
10. Asturias (Albéniz) 2.57
11. Kashmir (Page/Bonham/Plant) 3.36
12. Rock Symphony (Garrett/Haywood) 4.31
13. Peer Gynt (Grieg) 2.33
14. Mission Impossible (Schifrin) 3.16
15. Rocking All Over The World (Fogerty) 3.45

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Same (1970)

FrontCover1Keith Emerson and Greg Lake met in December 1969 when The Nice and King Crimson, two rock bands that Emerson and Lake each were a respective member of, co-headlined a series of concerts at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, California. Emerson looked to form a new band, and Lake wished to leave King Crimson. During a soundcheck before one of the shows, Emerson described the first time he and Lake played together: “Greg was moving a bass line and I played the piano in back and Zap! It was there.” The pair had met twice before in England in 1969 when The Nice and King Crimson performed at the Jazz and Blues Pop Festival in Plumpton and Fairfield Halls in Croydon.

When Emerson and Lake decided to form a new group, they initially approached drummer Mitch Mitchell who was at a loose end following the break-up of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell suggested a jam session take place with himself, Lake, Emerson and Hendrix; though the session never took place, it caused the press to report rumours of a planned-but-abandoned supergroup named HELP (an acronym for Hendrix Emerson Lake Palmer), rumours which survived for over forty years until Lake formally debunked them in 2012. Soon after, Robert Stigwood, manager of Cream, suggested Carl Palmer of Atomic Rooster and formerly of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Initially Palmer was reluctant to leave Atomic Rooster as the group were in its infancy, but he was persuaded by the “magic” he felt after a try out session with Emerson and Lake. Palmer recalled: “We hit it off really well, but I didn’t join right away. I told them I wanted to come back the next day and see if the magic would be there again. It was, and that was it. I was on board from that day forward”. Lake added, “We knew we had found the right guy. The chemistry was all there and ELP was born”. The group’s name was settled upon to remove the focus on Emerson as the most famous of the three, and to ensure that they were not called the “new Nice”.

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“It was the biggest show any of us had ever done. The next day, we were world-famous.”
—Greg Lake about the band’s show at the Isle of Wight Festival.

The three performed their first gig as Emerson, Lake & Palmer at the Guildhall in Plymouth on 23 August 1970. Their performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on 29 August that drew the most attention. A DVD of the performance was released in 2006 as The Birth of a Band. Following their show, the group secured a recording contract with Ahmet Ertegun, the president of Atlantic Records. Emerson believed that Ertegun signed the band “because we could sell out 20,000-seaters before we even had a record out. That was enough for him to think that a lot of people would go out and buy the record when it did come out.”

From July to September 1970, the band recorded their debut album, Emerson Lake & Palmer, at Advision Studios in London. Lake produced the album himself with Eddy Offord as their engineer. Three of its six tracks are instrumentals, including “The Barbarian”, an arrangement of the 1911 piano suite Allegro barbaro by Béla Bartók. “Knife-Edge” is based on the first movement of Sinfonietta by Leoš Janáček that features a passage from the Allemande of French Suite No. 1 in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. Palmer recorded a drum solo, “Tank”. Lake contributed “Take a Pebble” and “Lucky Man”, an acoustic ballad he wrote with his first guitar at the age of twelve. Released in November 1970, Emerson, Lake & Palmer reached No. 4 in the UK and No. 18 in the US. “Lucky Man” was released as a single in 1970 and reached No. 48 in the US, No. 25 in Canada, and No. 14 in the Netherlands. From September 1970 to March 1971, the band toured the UK extensively with shows in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The band’s performance at the Lyceum Theatre in London was filmed and released in UK theatres in 1972 with added psychedelic effects including characters from Marvel Comics (by wikipedia)

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Lively, ambitious, almost entirely successful debut album, made up of keyboard-dominated instrumentals (“The Barbarian,” “Three Fates”) and romantic ballads (“Lucky Man”) showcasing all three members’ very daunting talents. This album, which reached the Top 20 in America and got to number four in England, showcased the group at its least pretentious and most musicianly — with the exception of a few moments on “Three Fates” and perhaps “Take a Pebble,” there isn’t much excess, and there is a lot of KeithEmerson01impressive musicianship here. “Take a Pebble” might have passed for a Moody Blues track of the era but for the fact that none of the Moody Blues’ keyboard men could solo like Keith Emerson. Even here, in a relatively balanced collection of material, the album shows the beginnings of a dark, savage, imposingly gothic edge that had scarcely been seen before in so-called “art rock,” mostly courtesy of Emerson’s larger-than-life organ and synthesizer attacks. Greg Lake’s beautifully sung, deliberately archaic “Lucky Man” had a brush with success on FM radio, and Carl Palmer became the idol of many thousands of would-be drummers based on this one album (especially for “Three Fates” and “Tank”), but Emerson emerged as the overpowering talent here for much of the public. (by Bruce Eder)

Keith Emerson, one of the founding members of progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer, has died in what police are treating as a suspected suicide.

The keyboardist died at the age of 71 at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles on Thursday night.

No official cause of death was listed for Emerson, but police sources told Billboard the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head. Apparently, Emerson was depressed over a worsening — and irreversible — neurological condition that was costing him the use of his hands. (by cleveland.com)

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Personnel:
Keith Emerson (keyboards)
Greg Lake (bass, vocals, guitar)
Carl Palmer (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. The Barbarian (Palmer/Lake/Emerson/Janáček) 4.32
02. Take A Pebble (Lake) 12.32
03. Knife-Edge (Fraser/Lake/Emerson) 5.09
04. The Three Fates (Emerson) 7.43
04.1. Clotho
04.2. Lachesis
04.3. Atropos
05. Tank (Palmer/Emerson) 6.52
06. Lucky Man (Lake) 4.38

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He was one of the most important musicians for me
Keith Emerson:
2 November 1944 – 10 March 2016

David Garrett – Music (2012)

FrontCover1With one foot planted firmly in pop and the other less securely in classical, David Garrett appears, out of necessity, to be a permanent crossover artist, not merely an occasional dabbler in genres. As he has demonstrated in his previous albums, he wants to encourage fans from the world of rock to appreciate his roots in classical music, while attracting admirers from the classical sphere for his technical flair and clever arranging skills. Music, Garrett’s 2012 release on Decca, is a mix of pop hits — Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River,” Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” etc. — and adaptations of pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Clementi, and Khachaturian, among other selections that showcase his flamboyance and high energy. Of course, purists will dismiss this CD as a dilution of the originals, because the rock tracks are fairly constrained, even sanitized, in the effort to make them more piquant and delicate, while the classical pieces are coarsened by synthesizers, drum machines, and fake symphonic bombast (the Scherzo and the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth are to be lamented most for their mishandling). But showmanship is Garrett’s claim to fame, not subtlety, and he displays a curious blend of camp and sensitivity to his materials to make his over-the-top showmanship somehow forgivable, if not appealing to everyone. Still, casual listeners will get something out of this album, or at least recognize a few tunes that will point them to other recordings. (by Blair Sanderson)

Inlay1Personnel:
Jeff Allen (bass)
David Garrett (violin)
John Haywood (piano)
Franck van der Heijden (guitar)
Jeff Lipstein (drums)
Markus Wolf (guitar)
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The European Community Choir (choir on 15.)
David Foster (piano on 06.)
Ricciotti Ensemble
Arturo Sandoval (trumpet on 05.)

Booklet04ATracklist:
01. Viva La Vida (Martin/Berryman/Buckland/Champion) 4.16
02. Cry Me A River (Timberlake/Storch/Mosley) 3.13
03. Scherzo (Beethoven) 3.06
04. Human Nature (Bettis/Porcaro) 3.52
05. Tico Tico (d.Abreu) 2.27
06. Nocturne (Chopin) 3.11*Featuring –
07. Whole Lotta Bond (Page/Bonham/Jones/Norman/Plant) 2.58
08. Sonatina (Clementi) 3.15
09. Sandstorm (Salovaara/Virtanen) 3.16
10. Music (Miles) 5.09
11. Sabre Dance (Khatchaturian) 3.08
12. Double Harpsichord Concerto In C Major (Bach) 3.35
13. We Will Rock You (May) 2.54
14. Celtic Rondo (Traditional) 3.22
15. Ode To Joy (Beethoven) 3.58

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