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Refugee - Refugee CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.12 | 200 ratings

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4 stars The chances of ex Nice members, Lee Jackson and Brian Davison finding a Keyboard player as inventive and virtuosic as Keith Emerson to collaborate with seemed slim indeed, but find one they did in the relatively unknown (at the time) Patrick Moraz.

Moraz is one of those rare musicians that have transcended technique and taken their playing onto a spiritual plane. Shame he spent all those years time wasting with The Moody Blues. However, if you think his playing is good on this album, check out his sublime 2003 solo piano release 'ESP' to hear what real musicianship sounds like.

The music on this first and only Refugee album is, in many ways, closer to ELP than the Nice. The prospect of being in another keyboard dominated trio and having to live up to the not inconsiderable reputation of The Nice as well as living in the shadow of ELP must have been a daunting prospect for Messrs Jakson, Davison and Moraz. But they rose to the challenge to create a rather unique album that, in a lot of ways, beats ELP at their own game. There's obviously shades of The Nice in Lee Jakson's trademark, gravelly vocals, (which I happen to like very, very much) but the music is more symphonic and expansive.

Highlights are the two "epic" tracks 'Grand Canyon' (in three movements) and 'Credo' (eight movements) both of which feature beautiful, reflective piano cadenzas and some excellent, expressive synth solos. The last five minutes of the 'Grand Canyon' is proghead heaven; overdubed synth, precision drumming, swirling Hammond organ. . .Ah! You get the picture.

'Credo' clocks in at 18 minutes and features some nice clavinet and electric piano playing - sounds not generally heard in The Nice or ELP. Once again, the last five or six minutes of this track has Moraz pulling out all the stops, (actually, there's a church organ on this song, so he literally pulls out all the stops) soloing on synths over a backdrop of clavinets, mellotrons and organ.

The most Nice-like track is probably the instrumental, 'Ritt Mickley', where once again Moraz gives Emerson a run for his money. If you're a lover of keyboard excess, then you should get a copy of this album.

You have been reading the ramblings of ThE mEnTaLiSt

| 4/5 |


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