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Don Airey - A Light In The Sky CD (album) cover


Don Airey


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3.88 | 31 ratings

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3 stars Deep Purple in space!

Don Airey is perhaps most well known today for being the permanent keyboardist of Rock institution Deep Purple since Jon Lord's departure early in this millennium, but Airey has a long career of working with many distinguished bands and artists in the Jazz-Rock/Fusion, Heavy Metal and Prog areas. Some people on this site may know him for his work with Jon Hiseman's Jazz-Rock/Fusion group Colosseum II in the 70's (remember Dark Side Of The Moog?), but Airey has since provided his impressive keyboard skills to albums and live concerts by such great bands as Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne, Jethro Tull and Judas Priest. The list of famous guitarists with which he has played is truly impressive and include Gary Moore, Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, Brian May, Martin Barre, Glenn Tipton/K.K. Downing, Uli Jon Roth and Steve Morse! These are generally (and rightly) considered some of the best guitarists in the history of Rock! It is perhaps strange that Airey himself remains relatively unknown in comparison, but maybe Rock keyboard players are doomed to be less famous than guitarists?

A Light In The Sky is Don Airey's second solo album and the music here reminds of Deep Purple in the vocal moments and ELP in many of the instrumental passages. The mighty Hammond organ has pride of place here, but a plethora of other keyboards are used as well. Some songs utilizes violin and in places, like on the title track, Kansas may spring to mind. Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, Airey relies on unknown musicians here and he does not invite any of the famous people he has worked with over the years like he did for his first solo album (on which Gary Moore and Cozy Powell provided guitars and drums respectively). The vocalist here is clearly in the Deep Purple-school of singing and the same might be said of the rest of the band. Though, A Light In The Sky is clearly jazzier and "spacier" than anything by Deep Purple.

The album consists of 17 tracks, some of which are short interludes. Many of the songs flown into each other and there is little to distinguish where one song ends and another begins. However, I hesitate to call the whole album a suite. There are no real standout tracks as such and the album must be judged as a whole. I must say that while thoroughly enjoyable, it is not really memorable (though, I would say the same about most of the Colosseum II output). I constantly get the impression that this has come about as a series of jams rather than a committed writing process.

Good, but certainly not essential

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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