Musician's Corner

Here we are once again, looking at some of the non-Genesis related material which has been occupying the CD/DVD players here at TWR HQ recently.

The major item that has emerged into the TWR archive recently is a marvellous set of archival DVDs featuring material from keyboard legend; Rick Wakeman. I have been a fan of Rick’s ever since I first saw him with Yes back in 1977 and have always tried to follow his career ever since. His solo shows are always a wonderful mix of music and on occasions comedy too.

This series of six DVDs traces Rick’s career through the heady days of the 1970’s and not so heady days of the 1980’s . Lovingly put together by Rick himself ably assisted by long time music fan and all round good egg, John Kirkman, and released on the Voiceprint label, home to Anthony Phillips’ back catalogue. Each of the six DVDs in the set focuses on a different aspect of Rick’s career opening with the marvellous performance of The Myths & Legends Of King Arthur & The Knights Of The Round Table on ice (yes - ON ICE) at Wembley in 1975. Always the showman, Rick demonstrates here in this classic performance exactly why he is loved and loathed in equal measure depending on which side of the fence you are on when it comes to Progressive rock. This is followed up by other treats such as the performance for the BBC of the next opus in Rick’s catalogue: No Earthly Connection at Farnham Maltings no less! The rest of the set give Rick’s fans further treats but for me the real highlight of the set is the final disc in which Rick talks at length to John Kirkman about his career and the rationale behind the release of this set. His comments about how such material and the fans who have lovingly collected it over the years have been treated both by TV and record companies should be compulsory viewing for any band member or record company executive dealing with such things and make for a refreshing change in attitude towards how archival material is viewed and indeed how it should be looked after. Rick has always been my favourite keyboard player, and after watching this set I have gone back to listen to many of his albums with renewed enjoyment - excellent stuff!

Rick Wakeman: 1975 Live At The Empire Pool King Arthur On Ice RICKWDVD01.
Rick Wakeman: Live At The Maltings 1976 RICKWDVD02.
Rick Wakeman: Live 1980 Swedish Television Special RICKWDVD03.
Rick Wakeman: 1984 Live At Hammersmith Odeon 1981. RICKWDVD04.
Rick Wakeman: Night Music RICKWDVD05.
Rick Wakeman: Rarities Plus Interview RICKWDVD06

I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Marco Lo Muscio whose New Horizons CD I reviewed a while back at Steve Hackett’s gig in Rome. Marco very kindly provided me with a copy of his new album, Dark And Light and I have great pleasure in reviewing it here.

The album opens with a delightful piano rendering of one of my favourite Anthony Phillips tracks; Lutes Chorus, which Marco translates brilliantly for solo piano. This is in turn, followed by another favourite; Set Your Heart At Rest from Steve’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream album. A glorious version this one, full of heart and emotion. A series of homages to various composers begins with Gymnopedie No 0 a brilliantly observed performance in the style of Erik Satie. Others in the series include Night Song, a tribute to Bill Evans and another wonderful re-working of Horizons which works amazingly well on piano.

As usual, this is an album of two halves and the second half features Marco’s work on the pipe organ. I thought this was an unlikely combination on his first album but have to admit it worked remarkably well and here we have more proof that if you have the musical talent; then anything is possible. The selection opens with a superbly funereal transcription of All is Mended by Steve, which really reverberates in the memory long after you have heard it. This is followed by a transcription of a piece by my favourite keyboard player; Rick Wakeman. “Jane Seymour” from his Six Wives of Henry VIII album. Well… taking on something like this from a master such as Rick really shows how talented Marco is and this is a stunning version! The rest of the album is in similar vein containing tributes to various musical heroes (and heroines) of Marco’s and each and every piece is a joy to hear.

Dark And Light is an album that anyone with a passion for excellence in music will thoroughly enjoy and I heartily recommend it!

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Marco Lo Muscio: Dark And Light Drycastle Records DR-026

Also while in Italy recently I finally acquired a copy of Mario Giammetti’s latest book in his series of tomes on the various members of Genesis. Placed in my hands by Mario himself, his latest work focuses on the career of original Genesis guitarist, Anthony Phillips.

Titled, The Exile ( a somewhat misleading title I think) the book is everything that I have come to expect from Mario’s work. Sadly, being in Italian, I can only get a basic idea of the content of the text but knowing Mario’s dedication to the cause, I am sure that it contains as much detail as any fan of Anthony’s work could wish to have. Replete with a superb selection of photographs, many of which I have never seen before this is another marvellous work from the Genesis maestro - bravo, Mario!

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Mario Giammetti: Anthony Phillips - The Exile Edizioni Segno ISBN 978-88-6138-125-4 . 20 Euros.

I had the pleasure of meeting quite a few fans whilst in Italy and yet another one added something to my collection of books on the subject of Genesis. I had seen Claudio Fracasso’s book on the Foxtrot album reviewed in an edition of Mario’s Dusk Magazine a while ago now and was delighted once again when Claudio himself pressed a copy into my hands at one of Steve’s gigs.

Simply titled, Foxtrot (although subtitled inside as “A journey into the world of Genesis”) this book does exactly what it says on the cover. Claudio’s work is an in depth examination of the Foxtrot album, one of the band’s best known works. Examining an album such as this takes a lot of work and Claudio has certainly benefited from having the assistance of one of the most dedicated Genesis fans around; Mino Profumo. The result is a fascinating look at one of Genesis best loved albums. An excellent job and one which fans will find fascinating.

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Claudio Fracasso: Foxtrot Edizioni Segno ISBN 978-88-613-8062-2. 10 Euros.