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Sergio Alvarez - Naturalezas Disonantes CD (album) cover


Sergio Alvarez

Symphonic Prog

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'An overlooked Latin-American keyboard wizard'

After the great keyboardwork by Seventies Argentinian progrock bands Crusis and MIA, here's a more recent Latin-American answer to Seventies Symphonic Rock keyboard wizards Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman: Sergio Alvarez. He was born in the Argentine city Necochea in 1967 and grew up in a musical family, his father was a bandonion player and conductor of his own Tango Orchestra in the Fifties. In his early childhood he started to play piano, together with his elder brothers. In 1987 he founded the formation In Extremis that existed 10 years and produced one album entitled Solo Seduccion (1995), a blend of rock, pop and progressive. In the late Nineties Sergio his music is firmly rooted into the Classic Symphonic Rock tradition like Genesis, Yes and ELP, to be heard on his acclaimed first solo CD Pasaje A La Revelacion in 1999. It was voted as the best Argentine release in that year and received lots of positive reviews by the progrock press in many different countries. In 2000 Sergio made his second album called Escenas De Ficcion. At the same time Sergio made a live show as support-act of the legendary English keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman in the Gran Rex Theatre in Buenos Aires, in front of 4000 spectators on the occasion that Wakeman was touring South America. In 2003 he performed a small tour in Europe playing in different stages in Barcelona (Spain), Metz and Paris (France) and Amsterdam (Holland) and three years later Sergio released his third solo album called Naturalezas Disonantes, in the same year he performed on the annual Baja Prog Festival in Mexico. In January 2007 Sergio released a DVD entilted Sergio Alvarez Live At Auditorium Theatre Necochea. And then he started to work on a micro musical project for television and beginning to compose his next album, organizing future shows in Argentina and preparing international concerts for 2009.

Unfortunately I cannot find further information about Sergio Alvarez after 2009. I only stumbled upon video footage on the Internet Sergio Alvarez playing famous soundtracks (like Gladiator), very impressive with a huge array of keyboards, like his heroes Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson!

On his third solo album entitled Naturalezas Disonantes Sergio half of the ten compositions (7 instrumentals, running time 55 minutes) contains tradional keyboard driven symphonic rock (often obviously inspired by Banks but also Emerson and Wakeman) with flowing shifting moods like in the tracks Leaving Of The Urban Territory (fluent synthesizer flights, strong break with a guitar solo ' produced by his keyboards - and swinging piano and a slow synthesizer solo, culminating in a compelling atmosphere), Absurd Promises (great keyboards, from tender or sparkling piano to pleasant synthesizer work and moving guitar runs), When The Road Is Far Ahead (bombastic organ and synthesizers), Without Time (powerful organ sound, classically inspired synthesizer work and wonderful interplay between electric guitar and piano) and the titletrack (tasteful jazzy Fender Rhodes electric piano sound, a swirling organ solo and fluent synthesizer flights).

But in comparison with his two previous efforts, Sergio has broaden his musical horizon, the other half of this album contains a lot of varied songs.

A dreamy ballad with warm vocals and pleasant synthesizer runs (but a bit irritating rhythm box sound) in Let's Wake Up Now.

A sultry climate with ominous keyboards.

The distinctive sound of Indian tablas, and a captivating Morish sounding synthesizer solo in Travel From Orient.

New Age oriented atmosphere with dreamy piano and soaring keyboards in the a bit smooth The Landscape Of The Sensibility.

A beautiful solo piece featuring Grand piano (from tender to sparkling) in The Fragrance Of The Good Air.

And majestic classical orchestrations in the final track The End Of The Revalation.

My conclusion: I prefer Sergio to make interesting musical experiments like Travel From Orient rather than smooth New Age but in general I am very pleased with Sergio his accessible sounding keyboard driven album. This Argentine keyboard virtuoso knows how to arrange tasteful and varied songs with a good balance between the keyboards and the rest of the instruments. I presume this third solo album is his swansong.

My rating: 3,5 star.

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Posted Friday, September 21, 2018 | Review Permalink

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