Jack Lancaster & Rick van der Linden – Wild Connections (1979)

FrontCover1Two great musicians:

Jack Lancaster is a British composer, record producer and musician.

In the late 1960s, Lancaster co-founded the British rock group Blodwyn Pig with Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams and in the late 1970s he was a member of the British progressive rock group Aviator with former Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker, former Manfred Mann’s Earth Band guitarist Mick Rogers, and former Caravan and Quantum Jump bassist John G. Perry that released two albums on the EMI America Records label (Lancaster appeared only on the band’s debut). In between these high-profile projects, Lancaster collaborated with keyboardist Robin Lumley in the studio band The Soul Searchers with a line-up that included guitarists Gary Moore and John Goodsall, bassist Percy Jones, and drummer Bill Bruford. This group released one 7″ single Scaramouche b/w Head Stand in 1975 for EMI Records.

Lancaster performed on two Jazz Fusion records with Lumley that were released by RSO Records in the mid-1970s. The first was a rock version of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, The Rock Peter and the Wolf (1975), and the second titled Marscape (1976) that both featured the contributions of members of what would become Lumley’s future band Brand X (John Goodsall, Percy Jones, and Phil Collins on drums).

Jack Lancaster

In 1979, Lancaster and Dutch keyboardist Rick van der Linden released the electronic album Wild Connections on the Acrobat Records label that featured former Blue Mink drummer Barry Morgan and The English Chorale. 1980, Lancaster released a solo album on the Kamera Records label titled Skinningrove Bay that included Rod Argent, Clive Bunker, Phil Collins, Robin Lumley, Gary Moore, John G. Perry, Mick Rogers, Rick van der Linden and Bernie Frost.

Since then he has performed live on tour, composed for television and film, performed as a session musician and has produced, written and arranged recording sessions with artists including Gary Moore, Phil Collins, Rod Argent, Anthony Phillips, Hans Zimmer, Stéphane Grappelli, Brian Eno, The View, Vangelis and Rick van der Linden. Lancaster lives in Hollywood. (wikipedia)


Rick van der Linden (5 August 1946, Badhoevedorp, North Holland – 22 January 2006, Groningen) was a Dutch composer and keyboardist. Van der Linden first gained fame as a member of Ekseption, but he played in several other bands including most notably Trace, as well as solo. Van der Linden was best known for his reworkings of classical music in a pop music domain, often with jazz improvisations.

Rick van der Linden was born in the village of Badhoevedorp, not far from Amsterdam, the second of five van der Linden children. His family moved when Rick was only 5 weeks old to Rotterdam, where they lived until 1957. He started piano lessons at age 7, but gave them up two years later because he wasn’t enjoying them. When he was 11, his family moved again, to Haarlem where van der Linden attended the Triniteitslyceum. At 13, his father convinced Rick to try the piano again, so he was enrolled at the Haarlem School of Music. Two years later he became a private pupil of the Piet Vincent. At 17, he entered the Haarlem Conservatory where Aad Broersen and Albert de Klerk tutored him in the organ. Van der Linden finished his studies two years later and in 1965 passed exams at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, winning honours in piano, organ, harmony and counterpoint. Van der Linden thought he might become a teacher at the Haarlem Conservatory.


Meanwhile, in the early 1960s, van der Linden fell in love with rock and roll, along with jazz and ballet music. While still a student he took a job in a nightclub bar, playing foxtrots, boogie-woogie, ragtime, films soundtracks, blues, tango, pop, Strauss waltzes and cabaret tunes while studying the classical masters during the day. He also found time to write music for several local ballet ensembles. In 1964, he formed his first band, a piano trio, and later a brass jazz septet which played for fun and rehearsal only (never playing any gigs). After graduation, van der Linden joined the Occasional Swing Combo, a professional jazz septet which played extensively. Simultaneously, he was also touring the Netherlands playing with symphony orchestras, and appearing as soloist in concerti by Bach, Rachmaninov, Beethoven and Mendelssohn.

In 1966, the Occasional Swing Combo shared a stage with Rein van den Broek’s jazz combo The InCrowd, and van den Broek was impressed with the young keyboardist. He offered van der Linden the chance to join The InCrowd, which van der Linden accepted.

Rick van der Linden01Soon after, they discovered there was another Dutch band with the name “The In Crowd”, so they changed their name to Ekseption. In 1968, van der Linden attended a Rotterdam concert by The Nice, Keith Emerson’s neo-classical rock trio, where they played a version of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. Van der Linden was inspired to combine his love of classical music with modern presentation (see main article Ekseption).

Ekseption toured heavily, mainly through Europe, from 1968 to 1974, and won critical acclaim. Van der Linden left Ekseption in 1974 to form Trace, a smaller rock trio along the lines of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. In 1978, he returned to Ekseption for the first in a series of reunions, each less successful than the previous. He also played with Mistral (1977–1980, with Robbie van Leeuwen (ex-Shocking Blue)) and Cum Laude (1980–1989). He released several solo albums, most reworkings of classical music in the Ekseption style. He performed session work with artists such as Jan Akkerman, Joachim Kuhn, Deep Purple, Phil Collins, Vangelis, Jack Lancaster and Brand X. From 2002 to 2005 Ekseption was composed of primarily Canadian members. Van der Linden is quoted as saying that this was his favourite period of his music career as these band members worked well with each other and created a family-like atmosphere. For the first time, van der Linden was able to tour Canada as well as previous locations in Europe.

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His first wife was Penney de Jager, a ballerina/burlesque dancer whom he married 5 August 1971. A son (Rick Jr.) was born in 1972, but the couple eventually divorced in 1983. On 17 May 1989 van der Linden married Inez Zwart who was also a band manager and singer in Ekseption as well as in many of Rick’s solo works. After van der Linden’s death, Zwart continues to bring his music to the public.

Van der Linden had long suffered from diabetes with following eyesight impairment, and in 2005 had a successful eye surgery. On 19 November 2005 he suffered from a stroke which resulted in partial paralysis. He died on 22 January 2006 in Groningen, and was cremated in Assen. Almost 500 people attended his memorial service in Hoogeveen. (wikipedia)


Here is a little gem of an album, especially for those who like synthesised sounds. A collaborative venture between Jack Lancaster on lyricon and Rick van der Linden on the mighty Yamaha GX-1 synthesiser. I know Lancaster through his collaborative work with Robin Lumley on the pre-Brand X project Marscape. The late van der Linden was the excellent keyboard player with Ekseption and Trace. On this album he plays the over-the-top GX-1 synth, made famous by Keith Emerson on the Works album. Here, Lancaster and van der Linden go mad on some classical, fusion pieces showcasing their respective synthesised instruments. (progrockstuff.blogspot.com)

In other words: A forgotten hightlight of the Prog Rock era !


Jack Lancaster (lyricon)
Riock van der Linden (synthesizer)
Barry Morgan (drums)
The English Chorale


01. Early Morning Jones (Lancaster/Lumley) 5.53
02. Your Home (v.d. Linden) 5.02
03. African Violet (Lancaster) 5.13
04. Fortuna (Orff) 4.24
05. Wild Connections (v.d. Linden) 4.54
06. Claudia (v.d. Linden/Lancaster) 3.55
07. Aural Exciter (v.d. Linden) 2.33
08. Nyala (Lancaster) 5.24



With the exception of drums and choir, this album is completely synthesised on Lyricon and Yamaha GX1. The lyricon is an electronic wind instrument capable of the fullest range of expression. The sounds available on the Lyricon are practically infinite. GX1 is a tri-manual synthesiser with bass pedals; “Yamaha’s Monster!” Stevie Wonder called it “The Dream Machine” (taken from the original liner notes

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