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Patrick Moraz - The Story of I CD (album) cover

THE STORY OF I

Patrick Moraz

 

Crossover Prog

3.43 | 124 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 446

Patrick Moraz is a Swiss progressive rock keyboardist with a classical musical education acquired at the Conservatory of Lausanne, in Switzerland. He also played jazz primarily before entering into the progressive rock world and he has also been highly acclaimed for his musical virtuosity. However, he is best known as the keyboardist of Yes, which happened between 1974 and 1976. With Yes he wrote some of the best Yes' pages on their album "Relayer".

Moraz moved from Switzerland to England in 1973 when he met Lee Jackson and Brian Davison and formed Refugee. Refugee was the band that replaced The Nice, when Emerson left the group to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer. With Refugee, Moraz performed on two albums, the studio album "Refugee" and the live album "Live In Concert". In 1974, he had the chance to replace Wakeman in Yes and performed on their album "Relayer". He also played in the world tour of that album. He appears on some Yes' tracks on their live album "Yesshows", too. In 1978, he began touring with The Moody Blues on their album "Octave" tour, replacing their former keyboardist Mike Pinder, and became a member of the band till 1991. Since then, Moraz has primarily concentrated on his solo works, particularly on his solo piano pieces.

"Story Of I" is the debut solo studio album of Moraz and was released in 1976. After the release and the world tour of "Relayer", Yes took the decision to do a break with the intention of each band's member can be able to make a solo album. However, at the time that "Story Of I" was released Moraz was no longer a member of the group. Wakeman had returned to Yes. The "I" of the title of the album is in reality a Moraz's personal logo, a kind of an inverted triangle shape with a sphere above it. But, the album isn't a self-titled album and its story isn't properly an autobiography of him.

"Story Of I" is a conceptual album based in a romantic story of a massive tower in the middle of a jungle. The tower lures people from all over the world because inside it, people are able to live their desires and fantasies. The only problem is that the people inside the tower can't be in love with each other. However, two persons inside it do so, and since the tower acts like a prison because the people are slaves of their own desires, both decided to escape from it.

It's interesting to say that Jon Anderson was involved with the concept of "Story Of I". When Anderson and Moraz were on tour with Yes, they saw a massive tower and they began to think what was inside of it and invented many theories about it, which they shared with each other. Anderson encouraged Moraz to make his solo work with a tower's concept.

"Story Of I" has fourteen tracks. All music was written by Moraz and all lyrics were written by John McBurnie. The tracks are all joined into each other and flow like a single piece. The only exception is between the seventh track and the eighth track, due to the technical impossibility of the 70's to go from side A to side B on a LP without a break.

"The Story Of I" was partly recorded in Geneva and partly in Brazil, where it fused progressive elements with Brazilian music. Several Brazilian percussionists and singers appear on the album along with more famous musicians. Musically, the material here is a blend of Jazz and Classical Music with certain references to percussion driven acoustics and Brazilian rhythms, based on Moraz's keyboard capabilities, from tricky, complex instrumental pyrotechnics to soft Folk Fusion affairs on keyboards and hand drums and light piano driven Classical introductions. There is a definite Fusion flavour throughout the album, especially on the synthesizer/guitar parts and the regular drumming, but the stylistical diversity allows the listener meet with Moraz's unique and wide musical taste. We have lots of cinematic interludes and heavy instrumental stuff, only interrupted by occasional vocal pinches. This is an album with a very complex music.

The list of the musicians on the album is particularly extensive and beyond Patrick Moraz (keyboards, piano, synthesizers, marimbaphone and additional assorted percussions), and the usual performance of vocalists, guitarists, bassists and drummers, it has also the addition of sixteen Brazilian percussionists of Rio de Janeiro.

Conclusion: I know "Story Of I" since it was released in the 70's, but I only bought it some years ago. "Story Of I" is usually accepted as Moraz's best and most progressive solo album. He is a very talented and virtuoso keyboardist that unfortunately always was underestimated. He had the serious problem to be always the number two. He was number two of Emerson of The Nice, Wakeman of Yes and Pinder of The Moody Blues. "Story Of I" is a unique album in the panorama of the progressive music of the 70's. It's an album of fusion progressive music with many influences from several styles that ranging from pop, rock, jazz, classical, oriental and electronic, with a very special touch of Brazilian traditional music, samba, which made of it a very special work. It's an incredible album that flows like a single piece with many musical changes. "Story Of I" is unfortunately an underrated, and in a certain way, a misunderstood album that deserves to be known because it's a very special and unique progressive masterpiece. It's highly recommended.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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