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Various Artists (Tributes) - Encores, Legends & Paradox - A Tribute To The Music Of ELP  CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Tributes)

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars I don't have a definitive opinion about the so-called tribute albums because most of them are only an excuse for old or unknown artists to get some bucks without having to create music.

Some of the tribute albums are only a copy of the original songs without adding any contribution from the copyist (can't say artist), and others are so changed that seem a failed experiment, but there are a few in which the new musicians add interesting things to the already good music without changing the spirit of the song and because of this they release an album worth to buy.

Encores, Legends & Paradox is one of the last kind of Tribute albums, very good interpretations of ELP classics with attractive changes and a band full of excellent artists that really make an effort to release a different version of the original song respecting the author's creation.

Lets be honest, if it was only for the chance to listen 23 great musicians that include members from Yes, King Crimson, Dream Theater, Mahavishnu Orchestra, UK, etc, would be enough reason to buy the album, because guys like Jordan Rudess, John Wetton, Robert Berry, Igor Koroshev, Peter Banks, Trent Gardner and Erik Norlander among others surely have a lot of talent to provide, but it's not the only reason to take seriously this release because the quality of the music is outstanding and the performances are excellent in most cases, but lets check some songs:

Karn Evil 9 (Robert Berry/Simon Phillips/Jordan Rudess/Mark Wood): At a first impression may sound very similar to the original version, but the arrangement is totally different, even though is clearly progressive, the music has a classical Rock orientation. Emerson's keyboard performances are mostly inspired in the firm sound of early modern composers (mainly Russians), but in this album Jordan Rudess seems more baroque, almost like Rick Wakeman does in his solo albums. The mixture is very good.

Toccata (Trent Gardner/Pat Mastelotto/Peter Banks/Matt Guillory/Wayne Gardner): This song is absolutely different to the original version, probably faster (if this is possible) with a touch of Jazz Fusion. Mastelotto's drums are not as strong as Palmer's but perfect to the Fusion atmosphere.

Knife Edge (Robert Berry/ Simon Phillips/ Marc Bonilla/ Erik Norlander/ Glenn Hughes): The only song with Glenn Hughes as a vocalist, and of course has a Hard Rock orientation. Hughes voice is not as powerful as Lake's (at least in this track), and IMO is not the correct election for this song, Listen to the short guitar solo by Marc Bonilla, it's totally and absolutely delightful.

Hoedown (Robert Berry / Simon Phillips / Jerry Goodman / Jordan Rudess / Marc Bonilla): Great version, with a mixture of folk and Jazz, Jerry Goodman's violin plays a basic role in the song specially in the first part, when bass and guitar are added, the song gets that classic fusion sound, somehow similar to Mahavishnu.

The Sheriff (Trent Gardner / Mike Portnoy / John Wetton / Peter Banks / Mark Robertson / Wayne Gardner): Except for a few chords in the beginning of the song and Wetton's voice (very similar to Lake's), The Sheriff sounds as a different song, probably one of the weakest in the album because of Wetton's poppy singing in some parts of the track, as if he tried to sound like Greg Lake singing Invisible Touch instead of an ELP song, weak but still not totally bad.

The Barbarian (Robert Berry / Simon Phillips / Igor Koroshev): In this song, Igor Koroshev's contribution is very important, even though he respects the cold and firm style of Keith Emerson, he adds extra speed, some baroque chords and a little bit of life to the dark mood of the original version.

There's not much more to talk about it because Encores Legends & Paradox is a tribute and we know enough all the tracks, but I believe the work is well down and sometimes is nice to have a different perspective of the songs we know so well.

4 solid stars for an album that combines great artists, good taste and excellent performance, a rare tribute that's worth to buy.

Report this review (#35112)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is basically a heavy interpretation of ELP's music.The likes of Mike Portnoy and Marc Bonilla 'attack' the music with great relish.In fact read the list of musicians who play on this ..its mighty impressive! I will give credit in that they have changed the music enough to make it a reasonable alternative to the originals.It may even appeal more to fans of say Tool and Dream Theater who find a lot of seventies prog a bit 'weedy'.This is much heavier as I said before and you have lead guitar on nearly all the tracks which changes the character of the music significantly.Overall this a good solid tribute album and certainly no waste of any serious prog fan's money.
Report this review (#36077)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars This was the first tribute album I bought, as I was somewhat suspicious of them. However, when I saw this one in a London shop I was intrigued - not only by the music but also by the list of musicians appearing on the CD cover - and I've never regretted my purchase. As a matter of fact, I listen to this record quite often, alongside (obviously!) 'the real thing'. Unlike many other tribute albums, which dumbly imitate the originals without even trying to breathe any new life in them, "Encores, Legends and Paradox" (a brilliant title indeed!) offers some genuinely exciting reworkings of classic ELP tracks.

One of the album's masterminds is Robert Berry, who actually worked with Emerson and Palmer in the short-lived Three project, so he knows a thing or two about the originals and the way they were conceived. Berry plays on most of the tracks and sings on the opening "Karn Evil 9": his voice is pleasant but somehow nondescript, and certainly no match for Lake's. The other vocalists are Magellan's Trent Gardner, to which more or less the same applies; Dream Theater's James La Brie, who performs, of all tracks, on the immortal "Tarkus", one of Lake's strong points; Lake's clone himself, John Wetton, who sort of struggles with the difficult "Bitches Crystal"; and, last but not least, Glenn Hughes, one of the very few vocalists who can match Lake's talents, and whose performance on "Knife Edge" gave me goose pimples the first time I heard it. Although Hughes's voice is usually higher-pitched than Lake's, here he adopts a baritone range and the results are nothing short of astounding!

Instrumentally speaking, the album gathers some of the best musicians in the world of progressive and hard rock, including legendary session drummer Simon Phillips (listen to his brilliant work on "Karn Evil 9"), Jethro Tull's Martin Barre and Doane Perry and three outstanding keyboardists such as Igor Khoroshev, Derek Sherinian and Jordan Rudess. Some of the tracks turn out to be rather different from the originals, as is the case of "Toccata" and "A Time and A Place", which is much faster, with swirling keyboards and LaBrie's wailing vocals.

A very strong record overall, and a recommended purchase for all prog fans (unless they happen to really hate ELP with a passion!).

Report this review (#54499)
Posted Thursday, November 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Of the many tribute CDs I own, this is possibly the best.

Why? The musician's here do not, for the most part, try to recreate the original songs, but interpret them into their own styles. This despite the fact that at least three of the musicians here (Robert Berry with 3, Marc Bonilla with The Keith Emerson Band and Boys Club, and Glenn Hughes with Boys Club) have toured with Emerson, and know his arrangements well. Except for Knife Edge which only has a few rhythmic changes, and Tarkus which has been edited down to a much too short version, the songs all sound copletely reworked.

The standout tracks to me are Toccata, which seems to retain only a few melodic bits from the original while retaining and perhaps expanding it's wild feel, and A Time And A Place with Martin Barre and Doane Perry from Jethro Tull and James LaBrie from Dream Theater helping to make this a heavy prog masterpiece.

Criticisms, well, Robert Berry's changed lyrics for Karn Evil 9 sound awkward, and the mixed up lyrics to The Sheriff make no sense. And poor Tarkus.

Report this review (#244498)
Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I totally agree with the other prog reviewers that thie ELP TRIBUTE is,maybee,the best of all the great MAGNA CARTA serie of this type of albums!It's great to see how sounds the ELP music with modern technology and especially the keyboards sound is astonishing!We realise once again that the brain and main instrument in ELP was the synthesiser and KEITH EMERSON was the main player!This modern versions have much to say in terms of virtuosity from the new and young musicians and also that ELP 's music is timeless!Impossible to say what tracks are the best,but at least ENDLESS ENIGMA version is magnificent!James LaBrie is pushing some excellent accords here and his voice really fits well with this kind of music! Robert Berry is simply excellent and overall the sound of the album is simply crunching!Great drums also o this album,and Carl Palmer has to be proud for his legacy-especially MIKE PORTNOY is totally unleashed,but SIMON PHILIPS brings a lot of finesse and maestro touch behind the drumkit!What is really surprising is that in years ELP's music didn't lost any second of actuality and charm!The compsitions are so strong and in this new version they get a new dimension!We feel a great enthusiasm and passion for all the players involved,that they are playing with so great pleasure and they bring a more than impressive tribute to their teachers and musical mentors!TRENT GARDNER,MATT GUILLORY,JORDAN RUDESS and ERIK NORLANDER are doing a spectacular job in each song on keyboards!It's difficult to hear a better ELP tribute,in my opinion this album is a major refference!4,5 STARS for a total triumph for MAGNA CARTA records label!
Report this review (#259762)
Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Paradox is right. Why have a covers tribute album that covers covers? Did't ELP write enough of their own music to qualify? I think so.

Why couldn't they do some of the accoustic songs - From the Beginning, Still...You Turn Me On, etc.? Why not choose something else like Pirates, Brain Salad Surgery, Trilogy, Karn Eval 9 (3rd Impression), et al?

Many of the tracks on this album I would consider of pedestrian ability. There are a few outstanding cuts - Karn Eval 9 (1st Impression), The Endless Enigma, and Tarkus. These tracks are absolutely wonderful. However, most of the rest are quite forgettable.

If you have an open mind, and are an ELP fan, get this. If you think that it is sacrilege to try and cover ELP, don't get this. If you want a few great versions of ELP, you'll like this, for the most part.

Report this review (#906132)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Toccata

There is sometimes talk of a "big five" or "big six" of progressive Rock - referring, not necessarily to the best five or six bands, but at least to those that are most well-known among the wider public - even though there is probably no consensus on exactly which bands should be included. If you would ask Magna Carta records they would probably tell you that the big six consists of Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Rush, and Emerson Lake & Palmer. At least it is precisely these six bands that this label has released tribute albums to.

Encores Legends & Paradox is a tribute to Emerson Lake & Palmer and is one of the better tribute albums in the series by Magna Carta. As could be expected, keyboard players play an important role here given the nature of the music of Emerson Lake & Palmer. Geoff Downes, Erik Norlander, Derek Sherinian, Jordan Rudess, and Igor Khoroshev are some of the keyboarders who pay their respects to Keith Emerson on this tribute. Emerson's influence on these players is undeniable.

Among the vocalists we find John Wetton whose career is intertwined with that of Greg Lake in interesting ways. Both Lake and Wetton were of course part of King Crimson at different times, and Lake at one point (albeit very briefly) stood in for Wetton in Asia (as documented on the live video Asia In Asia). Other singers involved in this tribute are Glenn Hughes, Robert Berry, and Dream Theater's James LaBrie. Berry, as ELP fans will know, was Lake's replacement in the band in the late 80's when they adopted the moniker of "3" for one album; To the Power of Three, released in 1988.

On the drum stool we find, among others, Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater and Doanne Perry from Jethro Tull. Interestingly, guitars are more prominent on these cover versions than they ever were on the originals. Original Yes guitarist Peter Banks contributes to a couple of tracks and long-time Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre contributes to one. Marc Bonilla is another guitar player involved and he would later go on to collaborate with Keith Emerson himself. They did a good studio album in 2008 under the name "Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla", and an excellent live album and video followed in 2011. (See the entry for Keith Emerson for these releases.) I have often thought that ELP would have benefited from the addition of a permanent guitar player and my view is confirmed by versions including more guitars. (Also Greg Lake have performed ELP material live with guitar players to great effect; see, for example, the very good DVD Greg Lake Live.)

All of the ten cuts cover tunes from ELP's first four albums, released between 1970 and 1973. As most fans would agree, this was the best period of the band, and the song selection reflects the band's greatness. No tribute album can ever be essential and Encores Legends & Paradox is no exception. But it is a worthy celebration of a great band and one of the better entries in Magna Carta's series of tributes released between 1995 and 1999.

Report this review (#1502053)
Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2015 | Review Permalink

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