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Keith Emerson

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Keith Emerson Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla album cover
3.60 | 100 ratings | 17 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2008

Songs / Tracks Listing

- The House of Ocean Born Mary :
1. Ignition (1:42)
2. 1st Presence (0:37)
3. Last Horizon (2:32)
4. Miles Away Pt. 1 (1:54)
5. Miles Away Pt. 2 (2:15)
6. Crusaders Cross (1:13)
7. Fugue (0:37)
8. 2nd Presence (0:18)
9. Marche Train (6:12)
10. Blue Inferno (1:12)
11. 3rd Presence (1:07)
12. Prelude to a Hope (2:23)
13. A Place to Hide (4:25)
14. Miles Away Pt. 3 (2:31)
15. Finale (5:57)
16. The Art of Falling Down (3:30)
17. Malambo from Estancia Suite (Alberto Ginastera) (5:33)
18. Gametime (2:39)
19. The Parting (4:44)

Total Time 51:21

Bonus DVD from 2008 limited edition :
1. Prelude to a Hope
2. Ignition
3. Create in the Blue Corner
4. Recording at the Greene Room
5. Burning in Borrego Springs
6. Miles Away
7. Finale
- Extras:
A. Photos
B. Live from Hungary 2006

Total Time 48 min. approx.

Line-up / Musicians

- Keith Emerson / grand piano, Hammond C3, custom Moog Modular synth, Korg OASYS, pipe organ, Reaktor software, diatonic accordion, slide whistle, vocals
- Bob Birch / bass
- Gregg Bissonette / drums, percussion
- Marc Bonilla / 6- & 12-string guitars, lead vocals, bass, Reaktor software, harmonica, co-producer

- Travis Davis / bass (19), harmony vocals
- Joe Travers / drums (16)
- Keith Wechsler / Jew's harp (18), co-producer
- Nathanial Bonilla / recorder (19)

Releases information

The suite "The House Of Ocean Born Mary" is inspired by a ghost story from Marion Lowndes

Artwork: Marc Bonilla

CD Edel Records - 0192328ERE (2008, Germany)
CD Varèse Sarabande ‎- 302 066 940 2 (2008, US)

CD + DVD Edel Records ‎- 0192328ERE (2008, Germany) Bonus DVD includes a mix of videos, interviews and storys about the Making Of from the CD plus a short live set from Hungary, 2006

2LP Edel Records ‎- 0192321ERE (2008, Germany)

Thanks to NotAProghead for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy KEITH EMERSON Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla Music

KEITH EMERSON Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla ratings distribution

(100 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KEITH EMERSON Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Zitro
3 stars 3.5 stars really!

He's back! Emerson's best moment since Brain Salad Surgery!

His playing is energetic, melodic, bombastic. His synthesizers are familiar, his hammond/church organs are nostalgic, and his piano playing is surprisingly tasteful. Add a great singer and guitar player with him for the good ballads and guitar solos. Sadly, the lack of dynamics from the drummer prevents me from giving this album 4 stars. You'll most likely miss Palmer when hearing this album.

Anyways, once Emerson plays those evil church organ chords in 1st presence, you'll be likely to grin if you are an Emerson fan. This is a big suite of 15 songs, not as improvisational as Karn Evil, but surely more melodic and easier to get into. For example, Miles Away Pt1-3 are all excellent songs that feature Marc Bonilla singing. Miles Away pt3 is especially great with a guitar solo at the end and some great background keyboards. Unfortunately, the finale is a tad disappointing and I wouldn't have minded if they ended it with a slightly extended version of Miles Away pt3. Another part of the suite worthy of notice is the ballad A Place To Hide where Emerson plays some excellent pianos and synthesizers.

The remaining four pieces are a mixed bag. Falling Down is a mainstream-sounding vocal-led song that is decent, but not outstanding. Malambo is an wild keyboard-driven cover that is as enjoyable as his 70s classical covers. Gametime is a terrible 'benny-the-bouncer' type of song that should be skipped (unfortunately, he keeps doing these unfunny songs), The Parting is a wonderful album finale/ballad that has some energy as well. The piano solo halfway is a definite highlight in the song: he rarely sounded this elegant before and it's a great new side of him.

Oh yeah, and there's a remake of 'The Barbarian' with heavy use of electric guitars as a bonus track. I prefer the original due to Palmer's performance in it, but this is an interesting version.

So, in conclusion, if you're a fan of Emerson, you have to get this, no excuses. If you don't like Emerson because he's too wild, you might like this more melodic album.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Miles away from Honky!

We all know Keith Emerson from The Nice in the 60's and as one third of ELP in the 70's. Here he is again attacking his array of keyboards as a leader of his own band, The Keith Emerson Band. This band appears to be primarily a duo with singer and guitarist Marc Bonilla. The sound of this album is clearly modelled on that of ELP. But there is also a strong hard rock/AOR influence due to the vocals and electric guitar work of Bonilla. Keith's keyboard playing is as it should be, very distinctive and instantly recognizable.

The first 15 tracks together make up a suite called The House Of Ocean Born Mary which is based on a ghost story that both Keith and Bonilla had read as children. This epic is up to par with Pirates from Works Vol. 1 and An Officer And A Gentleman from Love Beach but clearly not up to par with Tarkus or the masterpiece Karn Evil 9. The remaining four tracks are independent songs which I find slightly less good compared to the epic one. Gametime is an embarrassing honky-tonk piano song in the category of Are You Ready Eddie? which should have been left off the album in my opinion.

The vocals of Bonilla often remind me of John Wetton and his guitar work is a very nice complement to Emerson's keyboards. This presence of electric guitar is something I often found missing in ELP's music. Bass and drums complete the band and everything is played with skill.

In my opinion this album is not as good as ELP's comeback album from the 90's, Black Moon. But with the exception of Black Moon, which is an album I like a lot, this album is the best Keith Emerson had done since Brain Salad Surgery in 1973, which is more than 30 years ago! We should be happy that ELP's swansong - the weak In The Hot Seat - was not to be the last we heard from Keith Emerson. Needless to say The Keith Emerson Band album is miles away from his catastrophic first solo album, Honky.

The DVD that comes with the CD is an interesting look behind the scenes during the creation of the album and also feature a some nice live footage.

Recommended to fans of ELP - good, but not essential for everyone else.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I can easily say that this is the best of Keith Emerson's solo albums. Finally, after all these years, he seems to be back to putting out the kind of bombastic keyboard albums that his fans have been waiting for.

The songwriting, for the most part, is not up to the level of theclassic ELP albums, but it sounds like Keith has finally overcome the wrist problems that have been plaguing him for decades. His attack on the ol' Hammond is as ferocious as it's ever been.

The main piece on the album, a suite of songs called The House Of Ocean Born Mary has some very good sections, but like Porcupine Tree's The Incident, it doesn't always flow well from one section to the next. It sounds like many small songs slapped together to create an "epic". And some sections, most notable Marche Train drag a bit.

Guitarist Marc Bonilla adds some great guitar, especially in Finale, and his voice often sounds, probably deliberately, like a young Greg Lake.

The absolute highlight, predictable is a Ginastera (Emerson aficianados all know that Keith loves this composer's work). Here is the piece that's as great as the old ELP works, and better than ELP's Works.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars I discovered the great man while I was laying in bed in hospital in May 1972. I was listening to a great radio programme (there weren't plenty in Belgium in those days, nor in these ones actually) available late on Saturdays. Believe it or not, the whole of the magical "Tarkus" was aired. And as a twelve years old child, I just succumbed.

This introduction to tell you that I know this exceptional musician for quite a while. I saw the giants live in Brussels (May '74) during their wonderful "Welcome Back My Friends?".

But if you have read some of my reviews, you know by now that a name (being "Yes", "Tull" or "Genesis") does not suffice to allow wonderful ratings. So was it with some late ELP albums, and overall with most of Keith solo outputs.

When I read some reviews telling that Keith is back, that this album is the best of any band member after their break; I just say that it was not difficult. Carl just performed (very) poorly, Greg's solo career is non- existent and Keith was a serious disappointment as far as I'm concerned.

So, this one is indeed the only record which can be seriously taken into account in Keith's solo career.

Great synth parts of course, gentle and classic piano play ("Prelude To A Hope"), some fine added vocals by Marc ("A Place To Hide"), fine compositions, melodic moments, splendid keys performance. What else? Well, nothing else! This is so fine after so many dark and unproductive years.

I can only be rather happy and thankful to the great man to have released such a good album after so many average ones. The fine guitar play from Marc is a true asset to this album as well ("Miles Away, Part 3").

Most of this release is referring to some sort of epic/concept song ("House Of Ocean Born Mary"). It is true to say that the few tracks outside of this "suite" or epic are much less catchy and could have been skipped IMHHO (the worse being achieved with "Game Time"). But we are all acquanited that jewels were sitting along poor stuff on any great ELP works. Right?

This is a solid album which I rate with four stars. Seven out of ten would have been more appropriate but I've been quite harsh on the man so, let's be more optimistic and raise this good work to the next level: four stars. A nice trip back to ancient times. I like it?

Review by lor68
3 stars After his last performance with ELP (the disappointing "In the hot seat") and a good solo album ("Emerson plays Emerson"), Mr Keith Emerson has come back here with his interesting duo, featuring M. Bonilla once again...well this latter vocalist is a good singer and it seems He's perfectly fitted into the AOR style! Well talking about the first suite- entitled "The House Of Ocean Born Mary"- it's not certainly equal to "Pirates" from "Works- vol 1" and sometimes is enriched by means of some interesting epic numbers, being the best tune here... the other songs are uneven and sometimes quite stupid (listen -for example- to his "honky-tonk" piano style within "Gametime"); instead "Falling Down" is a commercial song, which is not inspiring and quite disappointing too; and moreover the other two tracks, such as "Malambo from Estancia Suite" taken from a composition by Alberto Ginastera and the final tune "The Parting " are not mixed in a good manner, even though this latter song is useful to conclude the album by means of an intelligent and quite powerful ballad at the piano; and otherwise the performance by Emerson is always elegant in the album, all along its length, despite of a few stupid moments.

At the end his work here is not as good as the best albums by ELP, but you can find some interesting breaks-through inside, also thanks to the remarkable performance at the guitar by Bonilla...make your own choice, as usual!!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Keith Emerson is come back to what he does better: a dark fusion of modern classical music, inspired by Russians like Stravinskij and Mussorsky and americans like Gershwin and Copland that makes his music very suitable for movie soundtracks. The first 15 tracks are part of a single suite that sounds very close to the early ELP works. The references can be Tarkus and Trilogy. Marc Bonilla's voice sounds close enough to Lake's in both the relaxed and the rock moments. Greg Bissonette and Bob Birch make an excellent work on the rhythmic parts, often based on unusual tempos, while Bonilla's guitar is an excellent addition respect to the ELP times, as Lake was more used to play Bass and/or acoustic guitar, but guitar solos were very rare. After he starts disappointing his fans with Works vol.2 about 30 years ago, this is probably his first album back to excellence. My favourite track here is "Marche Train", however as I wrote before, it's part of a suite so there's no sense in mentioning a single part.

The last four track are not part of the suite, and looks like fillers for an album that otherwise would have been too short. A special mention to "Game time"; a boogie that reminds to the Honky Tonky Train blues time but is in line with Emerson's previous works. It sounds here as "Are you ready Eddie?" sounds on Tarkus: a nice joke. A break in a serious album.

Review by Gerinski
4 stars 3.5 stars. Just when nobody was expecting much from the old master anymore, here came Keith in 2008 with finally an album to please his old fans. This is probably the album which sounds closest to classic ELP since Works II.

This impression comes in big part from the fact that Keith recovers all his vintage trademark sounds, most notably his unmistakable Hammond but also the Moog leads, the pipe organ, some of the synth sounds from the Works period and of course the grand piano. On the other hand the drumming of Greg Bissonette is more conventional than the unique Carl Palmer, which gives the music a different feel (less interesting IMO), and the compositions themselves are less bold and, let's face it, less brilliant than Emerson's early 70's works.

The album is dominated by the 35 min theme "The House Of Ocean Born Mary", divided in 15 tracks most of them very short. The first 3 form an instrumental introduction conceived to evoque right away the classic ELP sound, the starter "Ignition" with effectist piano chops on a layer of background synths, the second "1st Presence" with the majestic pipe organ and the third "Last Horizon" with great Hammond sounding like in Tarkus.

"Miles away pt 1" tosses the turn to Bonilla, with a 7/8 clean guitar arpeggio and his vocals sounding very much like young John Wetton (which in turn means not too different from Greg Lake's), followed with "pt 2" where Bissonette joins with energic drumming, and "Crusader's Cross" which is its instrumental extension.

"Fugue" and "2nd Presence" are two very short interludes leading to the first relatively long part "Marche Train", a rocking headbanger with a beat similar to "Paper Blood" from the album Black Moon. Not my cup of tea although it features some really nice Hammond and I guess that in live shows it worked better.

"Blue inferno" is another short instrumental sounding similar to some fragments of "Pirates" from Works I, and "3rd Presence" as we have learnt by now is the 3rd interlude of pipe organ.

"Prelude to a hope" is a wonderful emotional piano solo with interesting chord combinations, followed by "A place to hide", a melodic slow-mid tempo song with vocals. "Miles away pt 3" retakes Bonilla's 7/8 guitar arpeggio and develops it to an electric guitar solo, and then we have the instrumental "Finale" which has a bit of everything in it, really nice yet not as grandiose and bombastic as you might expect to close an Emerson 35 min suite.

All in all the suite is a fine piece of music with early ELP flavour and my main reservation is that it may sound more as a collection of fragments glued together than a really consistent long symphonic theme.

Then we have 4 more tracks starting with "The art of falling down" which sounds as from the Works period. The 2 following tracks maintain the ELP tradition: first we have an adaptation of the last movement of Alberto Ginastera's Estancia Suite, quite good but where I suspect that some (if not all) of the drumming is a sequencer, and the unavoidable "honky-ragtime" song, in this case the swing-blues "Gametime", a bit similar to "Tiger in a spotlight" from Works II, which thankfully is quite short.

The album closes with "The parting" which wisely combines ballad softness with raw energy.

Those who despise looking back to the past should probably better avoid this album, but for those who like classic ELP or keyboard-based prog in general this is certainly recommendable. The compositions are more restrained than in ELP's classics, and while back then they were really bold, now it can be considered that Keith played safe, but it's still a pleasant surprise from him to release this in 2008. Do not expect a Tarkus or Karn Evil 9 though. 3.5 stars which my head tells me I should probably round down to 3, but my heart tells me to round up to 4.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Since the first lead vocals on Miles Away pt.1 & 2 you can see that KE had found in Marc Bonilla almost another Lake. To say nothing of A Place To Hide! Probably Lake's tones & peaks of voice are easy-to-imitate - i.e. that you can see in Atomic Rooster's 1970 second album Death Walks Behind You ... (read more)

Report this review (#2441118) | Posted by black/note | Tuesday, August 25, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Prologue: Jimi Hendrix changed the rock with his electric guitar, Keith Emerson changed the prog, with his Hammond organ. And due to his legendary Moog solo in Lucky Man the world got familiar with that sensational synthesizer sound. But recent years Keith Emerson couldn't cope with his hand inj ... (read more)

Report this review (#1909421) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Monday, March 26, 2018 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I tried. I tried but, definitely, I'm not into ELP and these pompous keyboards. When it's not an emphatic keyboard solo, it's AOR / FM song a la Asia (not the good ones). And it sounds more like US prog than english prog. This carries no emotion to me, no melodies, only some power prog with all ... (read more)

Report this review (#414451) | Posted by renaudbb | Friday, March 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars i do realy think this is the best emerson release since black moon ,or least brain salad. there is all i need ,hammond ,piano,churchy organ,good melodies and BONILLA voice that remind me of GREG LAKE there's even the funny piece that recalls ARE YOU READY EDDY from TARKUS .This is really good ... (read more)

Report this review (#292726) | Posted by jean-marie | Friday, July 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars OK, I didn't pick up the album "Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla" for a long time because, well, 1) ELP's final album 'In the Hot Seat' was horrible 2) the name 'Keith Emerson Band' sounds like Carl Palmer's recent work: doing covers of ELP music 3) The album cover is less than inspirin ... (read more)

Report this review (#214557) | Posted by kirklott | Saturday, May 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars MAESTRO IS BACK! One thing about Keith Emerson is certain,nobody plays Hammond B3 like him,NOBODY!On this album his Hammond sounds even more menacing than ever,bonus track on american edition, reworking of Barbarian from first album is simply phenomenal.Most material on album is pretty decent,B ... (read more)

Report this review (#207309) | Posted by ljubaspriest | Sunday, March 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Melodically, the ideas are very much Emersonlike, apart from some commercial influences and the addition of Bonilla. In general, the album bores me a bit. It seems that the music is made to show how brilliant Emerson is and how brilliant Bonilla is. I don't have the idea the album is made for ... (read more)

Report this review (#205978) | Posted by Foolsdrummer | Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3 and a half stars really. The album is full of good intentions and any follower of vintage ELP will find at least something to please them For me however, that's where any weaknesses in the album lie - it seems like they have tried sound hard to recreate the sound and feel of ELP in their pomp ... (read more)

Report this review (#190634) | Posted by barp | Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Relatively short review on this one: This album starts of with great promise but takes a dive with track 9 (Marche Train). The first eight tracks are absolutely fantastic; they would have fitted in with all the albums of ELP's great era (Self-Titled through Brain Salad Surgery). I could swea ... (read more)

Report this review (#185614) | Posted by npjnpj | Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Keith Emerson Band is the best post-ELP project of all the band members!!! Real ELP fans can say : AT LAST!!! That's true: it took many years for any of ex-ELP members to create album which you can put on the same shelf with classic ELP masterworks. Keith Emerson reminded himself that he (sti ... (read more)

Report this review (#185371) | Posted by Patiquee | Sunday, October 12, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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