“The Invited Guest” - Part three of our examination of the collaborative work by Steve Hackett where Alan Hewitt brings things slightly more up to date with a look at the projects Steve has been involved with since the 2000’s.
Steve has been a VERY busy boy over the last decade or so, not only with his own projects but also finding time to participate in an extensive range of others either as guest performer and/or writer. Steve is no stranger to this of course, as the preceding two sections of this feature show, but even so, his more recent output has been astonishing as we shall see and bringing Paul’s magnificent work to a close has proven far more difficult than it probably was for him to start as keeping track of Steve’s collaborative output these days is something akin to painting the Forth railway bridge but I’m game if you are folks! My thanks to Paul Gibbon for providing so much of this material and for the original idea for the feature.
Steve’s friendship with John Wetton spans over forty years and so no one should be surprised by his appearance on an album or two by John. Sinister does not live up to its name, however, and is instead a great collection of excellent songs as you would expect from someone of Wetton’s calibre. Steve only appears on one of these, the excellent Goodbye Elsinore.
John Wetton - Sinister. Giant Electric Pea Records GEPCD1029. 2001.
Next up is former Hackett keyboard player Nick Magnus’ third solo album; Hexameron. Without doubt one of the most underrated albums of the past decade, this is a stunning effort and would be just the same without Steve’s not inconsiderable contribution to it. Here Nick is joined not only by the brothers Hackett but also by Regenesis’ Tony Patterson and another former Hackett band member, vocalist Peter Hicks for an album that every prog fan should have in their collection.
Nick Magnus - Hexameron. Magick Nuns Records MNCD 1001. 2004.
Steve’s younger brother, John finally stepped into the spotlight properly with 2004’s Checking Out Of London, an album that was even awarded “album of the month” status by Record Collector Magazine no less. A plaudit thoroughly deserved as this one is a well balanced and entertaining collection of material featuring again the combined talents of Messrs Hackett along with another sterling performance from Tony Patterson making this one another must for real music fans.
John Hackett - Checking Out Of London. Hacktrax Records HTRX002. 2005.
Steve began his association with this Hungarian jazz outfit in the early 2000’s and it has continued to this day and this is the first album of theirs that he was to appear on. A fairly typical offering from the band.
Djabe - Sheafs Were Dancing. Gramy Records 2006.
An album of Christmas and traditional religious songs by Yes bass man Chris Squire? Surely this one shouldn’t work, should it? Well for those of you who may have forgotten, Mr Squire started his musical life as a chorister and with that in mind and the evident fun which the players had whilst making this one simply shines through. Steve is to be heard on every track on this one but the album should be enjoyed in its own right as a thoroughly rewarding piece of work.
Chris Squire - Swiss Choir. Stone Ghost Records CV009. 2007.
Jim McCarty has a lengthy pedigree in rock having appeared in several major rock combos over the years. This, his first solo offering is a fine collection of mellow rock music with a Prog tinge to it. The opening track; The Outsider, has some superb flute playing reminiscent of vintage Ian Anderson. Steve’s contribution is to be found on the album’s third track: Living From The Inside Out. An extremely enjoyable album and one which would be so even without Steve’s presence on it.
Jim McCarty - Sitting On The Top Of Time. Troubadour Records TRBCD010. 2008.
Steve had contributed to Gandalf’s 1990 album: Gallery Of Dreams which to my mind is still one of the best collaborative efforts he has made and so it was a logical step for Steve to eventually grace a concert stage with the man which he duly did at this gig in Vienna . Featuring a complete gig during which Steve makes several cameo appearances performing solo and Genesis material as well as a solid performance of Face In The Mirror from the Gallery… album, this is an enjoyable effort all round.
Gandalf & Friends - Live In Vienna. Prudence Records 398.8748.2. 2008.
Simon Collins has built up a deserved reputation for musical excellence and this, his second solo album builds on the foundations of the first. An excellent selection of first rate music including Steve’s contribution to the track Fast Forward The Future.
Simon Collins - U-Catastrophe. Razor & Tie 7930182988-2. 2008.
Another excellent album from Steve’s brother showcasing the acoustic side of his music. Another firm favourite of mine and one which is augmented by several appearances by Steve on acoustic guitar. Anyone who enjoyed the Bay Of Kings/Momentum albums will love this one.
John Hackett - Prelude To Summer. Hacktrax Records HTRX004. 2008.
Another live offering from Djabe with Steve taking the guest slot on several tracks. Available as a live CD and DVD this one is worth a listen.
Djabe - Sipi Benefit Concert. Gramy Records GR-080. 2009
An album by the band formed by long standing Genesis fan and writer of the excellent Italian Genesis magazine, Dusk: Mario Giammetti. A concept album based around the Jonathan Livingstone Seagull story, this one features a lovely cameo appearance by Steve on the track: The Deserted Pier.
Algebra - JL. AMS Records 173CD. 2009.
And there we have to bring this one to a close folks to allow space for other material. I shall try to bring this one up to date and up to a conclusion next time and in the meantime, thanks again to Paul Gibbon for getting the ball rolling with this feature.