"Tribute" - The new Steve Hackett album reviewed by Alan Hewitt.

An album of acoustic guitar music from Steve is always cause for celebration here but even by Steve’s standards his new album; Tribute, is something quite different. Steve’s love of the Baroque period of music and in particular, the works of the master J S Bach is well known. If Tribute were simply an album of transcriptions of the works of Bach and other masters, it would still be enough to merit a serious listen.

Tribute, however, is a horse of an entirely different colour. What we have here is not simply interpretations of earlier works, but also the recreation of the golden age of recorded music. Between Steve and Roger King, the golden age of the 1920’s and ‘30’s recordings is brought vividly back to life. Having heard the “Segovia Plays Bach” recording which Steve always mentions when this subject is talked about, I can testify to the fact that the end result here is an amazing tribute to that and other masters not only in terms of performance but also sound and above all: WARMTH!

I am sure that to connoisseurs, most of the pieces on this album are very familiar, but many of them to me were, completely new. Then again, that is the wonder of music, really, what is “old” to some is “brand new” to others and that is what makes music such a wonderful thing - it is always alive, never sterile; always challenging and thought provoking. As an interpreter of this music, Steve’s reputation already well known, must surely be secured by the release of this album. His compositional credentials in the acoustic and orchestral forms are impeccable and I for one would relish the chance to see him accompanied by an orchestra performing this music and other material from his impressive repertoire. In the meantime, however, the “small orchestra” speaks volumes once again.

The seamless nature of the music is evidenced by the way in which the existing tracks merge with the new Hackett compositions in such a seamless fashion and these new compositions will be familiar to Hacketteers from his recent acoustic trio tours. The Fountain Suite (Tribute To Segovia); Cascada (Tribute to Joaquin Rodrigo) and Sapphires (A Tudor Tribute) will all be instantly recognisable. Indeed, some of the other performances, most notably; Prelude In C by J S Bach will also have a familiar echo.

This is music that I personally could listen to forever and therefore it would be churlish of me to select one track over another, there is something of God’s plenty here for aficionados of good music here and once again, Steve has delivered gems of unparalleled lustre for our delectation - bravo, maestro!