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Rick Wakeman

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Rick Wakeman Rick Wakeman & the English Rock Ensemble: A Gallery of the Imagination album cover
3.44 | 41 ratings | 3 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2022

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hidden Depths (4:24)
2. The Man in the Moon (5:01)
3. A Mirage in the Clouds (5:35)
4. The Creek (3:42)
5. My Moonlight Dream (6:55)
6. Only When I Cry (4:01)
7. Cuban Carnival (4:05)
8. Just a Memory (3:10)
9. The Dinner Party (3:49)
10. A Day Spent on the Pier (4:37)
11. The Visitation (4:49)
12. The Eyes of a Child (3:48)

Total Time 53:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Rick Wakeman / keyboards

- Dave Colquhoun / guitars
- Lee Pomeroy / bass
- Ash Soan / drums
- Hayley Sanderson / vocals

Releases information

Label: MadFish
Format: Vinyl, CD, CD/DVD, Box Set
December 20, 2022 (CD), January 13, 2023 (Box Set), February 15, 2023 (Vinyl, CD/DVD)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy RICK WAKEMAN Rick Wakeman & the English Rock Ensemble: A Gallery of the Imagination Music

RICK WAKEMAN Rick Wakeman & the English Rock Ensemble: A Gallery of the Imagination ratings distribution

(41 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (22%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RICK WAKEMAN Rick Wakeman & the English Rock Ensemble: A Gallery of the Imagination reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In this judgment-heavy, opinion-driven world we currently are forced to 'luxuriate' in, negative words and pessimistic feelings seemingly outperform the positive vibes by a very long shot. Where have all the hippies gone? LOL. Music critics have that incredible self-appointed political leeway to choose to trash a respected artist either because the latter has foisted the same (successful) formula once again, thus blandly not progressing anywhere, or the opposite, crying out why has the 'respected' musician not created anything along the lines of what made them popular in the first place! Catch 22 or as the French call this, a conversation between deaf-mutes. Bottom line, everyone is ENTITLED to their opinion. The hyper prolific Rick Wakeman surely cannot publish 34 versions of the 6 Wives of Henry VIII and 16 versions of Voyage to the Center of the Earth, now, can he? Furthermore, I have also noticed that most online professional wizards seem to omit reading the subject matter of their received messages or e-mails. This 2023 release has such a CLEAR subject title: Rick Wakeman & The ENGLISH ROCK ENSEMBLE! Meaning surely, that it's therefore NOT a Wakeman solo album! I dunno? Maybe?

This is altogether a different creature and quite an interesting one at that. Let us begin with the English Rock Ensemble and its current cast: One of the finest bass players on the planet in Lee Pomeroy, a fabulous drummer in Ash Soan, a truly gifted guitarist in Dave Colqhoun and finally, a female lead vocalist who will blow your mind! Oh, and some former Yes guy on the ivories taking a bit of a back seat on this project. This is certainly not even Close to the Edge, but it is a tad Fragile, a more accessible, varied and entertaining album than the uber-symphonic storm showcased on the Red Planet. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this from the get-go, much like my fellow reviewer Lazland (also known as my musical Walter Ego) who expressed deep admiration for this release. Twelve musical paintings adorn the wall of this art gallery , for the audience to peruse and enjoy. The piano-driven instrumental intro 'Hidden Depths' sets the imagination gallery in motion, with a rather breezy yet solemn ramble, with a clear introduction of all the players, the rumbling bass undertone, the wiry guitar lead, and a bustling drum assault. The whistling synth solo serves as an emotional outcry instead of technical wizardry (we know he is quite capable of doing that) , as it flows over the massed choirs that give just the right amount of depth to the piece. Looking up to the stars, 'The Man in the Moon' introduces the sultry voice of Hayley Sanderson, and I must say that its about time that the microphone is handled by a shining comet (pun intended) , as she has an incredible voice that can escalate beyond the norm, as we will hear later on in the show. Wakeman's classic fluttering finger Moog solo flickers over the massed choirs where Hayley chooses to scat sing a tad, a little detail glimpse of her talent. Yes, its seductive, sultry, bluesy, and sexy. Hovering high above the centre of the earth, 'A Mirage in the Clouds' is almost a vaporous segue, Hayley hitting the high notes effortlessly, rolling on an e-piano carpet with the ticking drums in shuffling tow. This is all serene mood and smoky emotion, with a flurry of details that entice and seduce, such as the acoustic guitar flicker. Deliriously entertaining.

Some of the most beautiful Wakeman pieces are to be found when he just caresses his grand piano and whips out melodies that can touch the romantic soul in those who have one. 'The Creek' is an etude for the ages, something a famous classical composer of yore would have skillfully produced. The melody is front and center, the playing nuanced and tempered with flair. Three words come to mind: Drop dead gorgeous. One of my personal highlight 'paintings' is 'My Moonlight Dream', a dreamy, atmospheric ballad where Hayley does her thing, after which the instrumental bridge shows off a synthesizer foray followed by an electric guitar twirl and then back to the Moog. The massive choir makes the heart race and pound mercilessly. The delicately passionate 'Only When I Cry' showcases the piano and the voice once again, deeply resonant yet simple, a melody and the tools to express it. Like a delicate spring flower gently waving in the breeze. 'Cuban Carnival' serves as an homage to a concert in Cuba (there is a DVD of that out there) that Rick seems to have adored, as its still in his mind. Ah the power of good rum. So, he decides to enjoy himself, so what? Super cool calypso mood, a Latino-synthesized dance and just a feel good piece. Even the guitarist does a tropical shuffle as the synth trumpets make the coconuts tango into the night. The grand piano does another whirl on the ceremonial and graceful 'Just A Memory', almost a variation on 'the Creek', a pristinely crafted piece , loaded with that patented trio : passion, atmosphere, and melody (the infamous PAM ). The ivory keys surge into a frenzy on the funky 'The Dinner Party' , a chugging rhythm guitar setting the stage for a feast of delicacies, a buffet of tasty bass, choppy drum sticks, lots of saucy synths, flavourful choir work from the wait staff, and the maitre d' directing the dining experience with his usual with and glamour. Food for thought. Yummy! Well, since it's called the English Rock Ensemble, 'A Day Spent on the Pier' sounds like a very English pastoral tune from the post-WW2 days, perhaps even to be heard on a seashore Brighton pub, with screeching gulls acting as backing vocalists. 'Ice cream always makes it a very special day'. Light, unfettered and utterly fun. Back to moody and mysterious is 'The Visitation', an e-piano saunter to set the spot light on Hayley's amazing lungs, until she suddenly decides do a Kate Bush variation, by hitting notes so high, I nearly fell of my chair when I first encountered them. Holy wuthering heights!

The brief 'The Eyes of a Child', no its not a song by the Moody Blues, Patsy Cline, Aurora, or Mike McDonald but perhaps nearer spiritually to Bush's 'The Man with the Child in His Eyes', serving as a clever hint for the above piece. As many know, Rick has to be one of the funniest artists anywhere, his sense of humour truly legendary. That being stated, the finale here is a shifting affair, with a Fellini-esque feel of a circus carnival , a merry-go-round piano and whooshing sounds that spiral in harmony . Great way to end the exhibition visit. I will keep the ticket stub for my collection.

4.5 Arcade Visions

Latest members reviews

4 stars I always find it annoying when reviewers claim that Wakeman is not progressing anywhere and producing the same fare. The man has created 80 "solo" albums (including those who shared with his son) which range from new age, to ground-breaking prog to straight piano pieces. In addition, he has rele ... (read more)

Report this review (#2926050) | Posted by BrianS | Saturday, May 20, 2023 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Que faire? The candle is going out. Nothing can last forever. A talent is sooner or later exhausted, a source of new ideas is sooner or later running low. Now, after Wakeman's glorious 1970s, ragged 1980s, all that ensued and, finally, his alleged 'return to genuine Wakeman prog' in 2020s, there ... (read more)

Report this review (#2895162) | Posted by proghaven | Monday, February 27, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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