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KEITH EMERSON

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Keith Emerson biography
Keith Noel Emerson - November 2, 1944 (Todmorden, UK) - March 11, 2016

KEITH EMERSON is regarded by many as the most influential keyboard player on progressive rock, even acquiring the name 'Hendrix Of The Organ' for his organ stabbing routines on stage with both The Nice and Emerson Lake & Palmer during the Sixties and Seventies. Outside of Jerry Lee Lewis, keyboard playing is normally for quiet characters who stare fixatedly at the keyboard usually not even acknowledging the existence of the audience.Not so for EMERSON, who would jump on top of the organ, ride it across the stage and then throw it away once he had his 'evil' way with it in a grand display of over the top showmanship.Audiences lapped it up, while critics complained about ''Keyboard masturbation'' and ''pretentiousness''.

This all somewhat hides the fact that EMERSON was a serious musician. Studying classical music from an early age, he was fascinated by the relationship between classical music (like Bach) and rock music. He fully understood the importance of counterpoint as shown when The Nice performed 'Brandenburger'. The Nice were also quite happy to play live with orchestra as demonstrated by the 1969 Fairfields concert of 'The Five Bridges Suite'.

In 1970 EMERSON was to focus his attentions towards the recently invented Moog Synthesiser. ELP were one of the most significant innovators of this instrument in prog. Tracks like 'Lucky Man','Toccata' and 'Tarkus' showed EMERSON's prowess on the Moog. He worked closely with the inventor himself to develop new keyboards and to refine its use. Robert Moog was a great fan of EMERSON and regarded him as the foremost player of the instrument.

EMERSON, however, was still keen to pick up his classical/orchestral ambitions, and in the mid Seventies composed his first (and to date only) Piano Concerto. This eventually (almost by accident) found its way onto ELP's 'Works Volume One' as the prog trio ventured further towards classical/jazz and symphonic music. However, the emergence of punk brought further cries of 'self indulgence' from music critics. ELP were to crash and burn, but EMERSON was still justifiably proud of his classical creation. Not only aired on classical radio, this fine piece of music has even been adopted by professional orchestras.

Aft...
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Buy KEITH EMERSON Music


Rocking the RitzRocking the Ritz
Rockbeat Records 2017
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Emerson Plays EmersonEmerson Plays Emerson
Cherry Red 2017
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Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc BonillaKeith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla
Varese Vintage 2009
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Boys Club: Live from CaliforniaBoys Club: Live from California
Edel Entertainment 2009
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Nighthawks: Original Motion Picture SoundtrackNighthawks: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack
Varese Sarabande 2016
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Christmas AlbumChristmas Album
Ais 2012
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KEITH EMERSON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KEITH EMERSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 46 ratings
Inferno (OST)
1980
2.87 | 47 ratings
Honky
1981
3.22 | 29 ratings
Nighthawks (OST)
1981
3.94 | 9 ratings
Best Revenge (OST)
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Harmagedon (OST)
1983
3.06 | 16 ratings
Murderock - Uccide A Passo Di Danza (OST)
1983
2.92 | 21 ratings
The Christmas Album
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
La Chiesa [Aka: The Church] (OST)
1989
2.60 | 14 ratings
Iron Man - Vol 1 (OST)
1994
3.25 | 23 ratings
Changing States
1995
3.82 | 33 ratings
Emerson Plays Emerson
2002
3.58 | 80 ratings
Keith Emerson Band - Feat. Marc Bonilla
2008
3.41 | 36 ratings
Keith Emerson Band: Three Fates Project
2012

KEITH EMERSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.85 | 17 ratings
Keith Emerson - Glenn Hughes - Marc Bonilla. Boys Club - Live From California
2009
4.18 | 25 ratings
Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla - Moscow
2011
3.46 | 18 ratings
Live From Manticore Hall (Emerson & Lake)
2014

KEITH EMERSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.75 | 18 ratings
Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla - Moscow
2010

KEITH EMERSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.14 | 3 ratings
Chord Sampler
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
Best Works Collection
1992
3.78 | 15 ratings
At The Movies
2005
3.15 | 10 ratings
Hammer It Out - The Anthology
2005
3.03 | 18 ratings
Off The Shelf
2006

KEITH EMERSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Inferno
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Salt Cay
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
I'm A Man
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rum-A-Ting
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Children Of The Light
1983
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Christmas Single
1995
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Keith Emerson Trio
2015

KEITH EMERSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Keith Emerson Band - Feat. Marc Bonilla by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.58 | 80 ratings

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Keith Emerson Band - Feat. Marc Bonilla
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

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 injuries and the negative remarks on the Internet, he had turned into a very unlucky man, deeply depressed. And what a cynical similarities with the Lucky Man lyrics: Keith was also a wealthy man who died with a bullet in his head, after committing suicide in his house in Santa Monica, USA, on March 11, 2016. This review is dedicated to Keith Emerson who became only 71 years old, but is considered as a progrock legend who made so many progheads happy with his jaw dropping work on the Hammond and Moog and with his sensational stage antics.

Chapter 1: In 2006 Keith Emerson and his band appeared on the the Moogfest 2006 festival, watching the DVD I was blown away by their performance, what a powerful sound, what a splendid interplay! And what an awesome extra dimension Marc Bonilla delivered, a big hand for this killer guitar player. But it is also stunning to watch Keith Emerson on his Hammond, Moog and modern keyboards, he looked like reborn. How sad that ten years later he decided to commit suicide, only 71 years old. After the acclaimed Moogfest 2006 gig Keith Emerson made an album with his band, again featuring the excellent Marc Bonilla. I have bought the limited CD/DVD edition.

Chapter 2 - The CD: The album starts with a 15-piece suite (30 minutes) that is based upon the horror novel The House Of Ocean Born Mary, it turned out that both Keith as Marc had read this book. Keith Emerson delivers a wide range of keyboard sounds: from 3 short pieces featuring the majestic pipe organ and tender Grand piano to bombastic work on the Hammond and Moog. I love it and I am delighted about the dynamic and powerful rhythm- section. In my opinion Keith Emerson couldn't have made a better choice with guitarplayer (and singer) Marc Bonilla: he is outstanding, from wonderful twanging electric guitar with melancholical vocals (somewhere between Greg Lake and John Wetton) and sensitive soli with howling runs to fiery and heavy work with rock as the main ingredient. He is also a very strong counterpart to Keith his bombastic and virtuosic keyboard sound. In the dreamy Miles Away Pt 3 he blends acoustic ' and electric guitar, followed by a strongly build-up solo with a fiery undertone. This suite is concluded in a very exciting way with the piece Finale featuring fluent and swinging rhythms with captivating work on guitar and keyboards, culminating in an end with biting guitar, a propulsive rhythm-section and swirling Hammond, like Seventies ELP, great! Then four compositions with each another atmosphere. The pretty polished rock song The Art Of Falling Down featuring a sensational synthesizer solo and fiery guitar work. Flashy and bombastic keyboards and powerful guitar in the fluent Malambo. Swinging piano and strong in the catchy Gametime. And a great build-up in the final track The Parting that starts mellow but gradually turns into more compelling (with the focus on Keith his Hammond organ).

Chapter 3 - The DVD: One can divide this DVD into 3 sections: first 7 songs that deal about the making of the album, then a section that features 10 minutes with color and black and white pictures and finally a live concert in Hungary (2006).

The first part (25 minutes) shows the musicians in the studio and their stories about the album (like Keith tells how he met Marc and we can enjoy a hilarious part with the burning Grand piano in a desolate landscape, even the fire brigade visited this happening). The next part is about pictures that were made in the studio, during the concert and in the landscape where the burning Grand piano stood. Very beautiful and I was very pleased with the live shots featuring Keith Emerson on his modular Moog and with the sensational Moog ribbon controler, like the early ELP days! The final part contains a 20 minutes version of the 2006 Hungary concert with four songs: the exciting Welcome Back with propulsive guitar and Keith on his Hammond, the sensational Piano Concerto 3rd Movement with jaw-dropping interplay between Keith and Marc (what a chemistry), the powerful rock song Living Sin and finally the swinging Bitches Crystal with Keith freaking out on the piano. And lots of smiling faces because of that, great to see how virtuosity and humor are combined, that doesn't happen very often in progrock.

To me it often looks or Keith and Marc are brothers: the one loves keyboards, the other guitar and both understand each other perfectly, that is a great factor you can discover on this CD/DVD set. Keith Emerson had founded a great band, created strong music and discovered a stunning guitar player, highly recommended!

Epilogue: During the Fallen Angels tour in 2017 Eddie Jobson paid tribute to Keith Emerson (and John Wetton) with an earthshaking Moog synthesizer solo during Lucky Man, accompanied by Marc Bonilla, full circle!

 Best Revenge (OST) by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.94 | 9 ratings

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Best Revenge (OST)
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by proghaven

4 stars Every artist (musician, poet, painter, writer etc) applies to the audience and expects a feedback. Keith Emerson was one of the greatest and most influential musicians of the 20th century but got a very strange feedback from his audience. The first four studio albums and one live album from ELP collected megatons of delights from listeners, and after that it looked like listeners suddenly lost their capacity to express delight.

No I cannot say that the audience rejected Emerson's newer ideas... but I also cannot say that the audience accepted them. Emerson offered his brilliant Piano Concerto No. 1 - but the public obviously preferred him to produce a new Tarkus. Emerson wrote his excellent Memoirs Of An Officer And A Gentleman - but the public wanted a new Trilogy.

Perhaps that's why in most of Emerson's later works, no matter more or less successful, no matter symphonic, jazzy, rocky or poppy, apart from the great talent, also some embarrassment can be heard. It looked - and sounded - like the musician was in doubts about what the audience expects from him, and tried to guess what, instead of doing what he wanted to do himself. Though most likely he did guess that he'd better make another Brain Salad Surgery to satisfy customers, but he supposedly lost interest to all the brain salad surgeries in the world before that. Maybe it would be going too far to say that the audience in response turned away from Emerson after 1974, but the listeners definitively weren't loyal enough to follow his creative searches.

And probably that's one of the reasons why no 1980s and later Emerson's effort reached the status of a masterpiece: the author did his work constantly glancing behind his audience and their possible reaction, instead of giving creative freedom to himself. His early 1980s albums, not only this one but also Inferno and Nighthawks, show that he'd prefer to explore the area of orchestral (symphonic) music in detail, but the public waited for a new Karn Evil 9 and enjoyed remembrances about Emerson's cooperation with Robert Moog.

Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to me that some... well, I'd say some constraint of the music of Best Revenge and other (not only soundtrack) 1980s and later albums is partially because Emerson constantly failed to guess what the public wanted from him. So, perhaps the best way to enjoy Best Revenge is to forget about The Three Fates, The Endless Enigma and Tank, and try to guess what the musician wanted from us.

 At The Movies by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.78 | 15 ratings

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At The Movies
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Playing for keeps

Keith Emerson At The Movies is a three disc compilation featuring tracks that Emerson recorded for various films between 1980 and 2004. Rather than opting for a chronological presentation, the music is ordered geographically with each disc holding music from American, Italian, and Japanese films respectively.

I will start from the back and discuss disc three first as I think that is by far the most valuable of the three discs. This disc is primarily devoted to music from the 2004 film Godzilla Final Wars which, as far as I am aware, is not available in this form as a standalone release but can only be found on this compilation (an "official soundtrack" is available but, as far as I understand, that one also has music by others interspersed with Keith's music). The Godzilla album occupies tracks 7-20 of the disc and my advice is to separate out these tracks and listen to them in isolation from the rest. Here Keith is in good form and this music is generally enjoyable and at moments even fairly ELP-like despite the programmed drums and absence of vocals.

The first six tracks of the third disc is from an animated Japanese film from 1987 called Harmagedon. These tracks are, I suppose, also hard to get hold of outside this compilation. The original vinyl release had one side of Emerson's music (while the other side was devoted to music by someone called Derek Austin). These tunes are generally great, perhaps the best being Challenge Of The Psionic Fighter which features a killer synth solo. Children Of Light is a vocal track but the rest is instrumental.

Moving on to the second disc which features music from Italian movies, we have music from the films Murderock, La Chiesa, and Inferno. In the case of the latter, the entire album is featured including the bonus track from the standalone CD release. Inferno occupies tracks 1-16 of disc two. The Inferno music is predominantly orchestral in nature (similar in style to Keith's Piano Concerto from ELP's Works Vol. 1.) and as such it is not my cup of tea. There are however some non-orchestral tracks like Taxi Ride which is pretty good. The following four tracks are from La Chiesa which means "the church", and not surprisingly it includes church organ. This music too is available on a separate release but that one features music by other people in addition to Keith's contributions. It is nice to have just Emerson's music concentrated. Murderock is almost complete here but a few tracks are omitted compared to the standalone release (which I have reviewed separately).

The first disc of At The Movies is devoted to music from films coming out of the USA. The soundtrack to Nighthawks, which is also available separately, is included in its entirety and occupies tracks 1-11. This music is towards the jazzier side and is not very impressive to my ears. Tracks 12-15 and track 18 of this disc are from a film called Best Revenge. The latter soundtrack too was released separately, but it is very hard to find. Comparing to the standalone release the running order is different and one track from the original release seems to be missing (I say "seems" because I'm only comparing with the entry for that album here on Prog Archives, I have never heard the original). I don't know why the running order was altered but I recommend reproducing the original track order when you listen (even though one track is, as I said, not included). In particular I think you should listen to The Dreamer and The Runner in that order as these two tracks seem to be made for each other. Together with Wha'dya Mean these three instrumentals are pretty good. The origin of tracks 16 and 17 is unknown to me but I presume they come from the same sessions as the Best Revenge material.

Strangely, nothing at all is included from Keith's soundtrack for Iron Man.

Overall, this is a rather nice collection to have with lots of good music on it as well as some less good music. However, I think that reproducing the stuff that is already available separately was unnecessary. Perhaps it would have been better if they had focused on making the standalone releases of these various soundtrack albums more widely available in their original and complete from on CD. The Godzilla music too would have deserved a standalone release with just Keith's music.

Deciding on a rating for this collection isn't easy, but discounting those inclusions that can be rated separately I think that three stars is appropriate here primarily on the basis of the material on the third disc.

 Iron Man - Vol 1 (OST) by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.60 | 14 ratings

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Iron Man - Vol 1 (OST)
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Data In, Chaos Out

Iron Man is one of Keith Emerson's several soundtrack albums, this time for an animated superhero film. The album is subtitled "Vol. 1", but I don't know if any further volumes where planned at the time. Even though I am personally not familiar with the Iron Man comic or with the film for which this music was created, I think that Emerson has captured the superhero feel here in musical form quite well! The music definitely comes across as "heroic". The brief opening number is only just over a minute and it presents the main theme which recurs many times throughout the album.

Completely instrumental and featuring only Emerson's keyboards and some programmed drums, this music reminds me of Geoff Downes excellent mid-80's "New Dance Orchestra" album The Light Program. However, even if there are many strong melodic ideas here, Emerson's Iron Man is sadly not as well structured as The Light Program. The biggest drawback is its excessive length. Clocking in at over 70 minutes I think it could have benefited considerably from being cut down to, say, 45 minutes. In that way the many good musical ideas present here could have been condensed into a stronger cocktail instead of being slightly diluted.

Still, despite being a bit rough around the edges I really do enjoy listening to Iron Man Vol. 1. Despite the absence of proper drums, bass, and vocals, there are several ELP-like moments and fans of that band and of Emerson should not miss out on this obscure keyboard fest!

 Murderock - Uccide A Passo Di Danza (OST) by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.06 | 16 ratings

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Murderock - Uccide A Passo Di Danza (OST)
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Don't go in the shower!

Murderrock is the title of an Italian film for which the present album is the official soundtrack. I have not seen the film (which I'm guessing is some kind of horror movie), but I was positively surprised with the high quality music found here. Of course I am a massive fan of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but I was never much impressed with Emerson's solo output until I came across this very nice soundtrack album. The best that I have so far heard from Emerson's solo works (not counting the Keith Emerson Band).

If you are a fan Alan Parsons Project you might like this album which has a similar mixture of electronic instrumentals and vocal numbers featuring different singers. The vocal numbers are certainly a bit on the cheesy side, but the instrumentals are mostly great! Some themes recur throughout the album.

I enjoy this!

 Live From Manticore Hall (Emerson & Lake) by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Live, 2014
3.46 | 18 ratings

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Live From Manticore Hall (Emerson & Lake)
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by JD

2 stars Slow and steady may win the race But some of these tunes need to pick up the pace

Full Disclosure :

Emerson shaped my youth with his brash, attacking style and Lake's smooth full voice filled my head with wonder, but as is life, we all have our "Time and a Place". As much as I still tell people who care about such things that ELP is my favorite band, this is a 'stroll' down memory lane and not an 'invigorating raunch' as would have been preferred. So this 'Rocker Walker' tour release must be viewed from that perspective.

Production :

If only ELP had had this same production value on earlier live albums, clean, clear and punchy. But that's only a part of production. Not having a real drummer is one of the first scars I find on this recording. Through no fault of their own (or maybe it was?) Carl Palmer is clearly absent. This leaves the recording a little thin and as much as I appreciate what Keith and Greg wanted to provide here they should have had a drummer in the wings to provide that vital support.

15/20

Song Writing :

During Greg's intro to this concert he speaks of he and Keith getting together in his studio to write some songs as the inspiration for this concert. Yet no new songs appear on this album. I find this to be one of the biggest issues I have with this album. What better way to thank the fans that have stuck around this long but to dish up some new music. Unfortunately it's not to be. Instead we get another greatest hits live outing. There is really nothing to draw an audience to this album short of completionism and I plead guilty as charged.

5/20

Originality :

I've mentioned in other reviews that live albums are tough for me to score high unless the musicians make a concerted effort to elevate the songs beyond their original arrangements. Few musicians or bands have done this well although I place ELP among them for re-arranging their own songs from time to time to keep things interesting. Opening the album is a very pleasant rendition of "From the Beginning" which promises an album of sonic bliss to come. For the most part it does deliver. Tarkus on the other hand is the counterbalance to this with a slow trodding version that ends in a distracting noisy synth solo that does nothing to enhance this once excellent piece of music.

6/20

Performance :

Like the 40th anniversary High Voltage concert this performance suffers from a lack of raw energy. But at 70 years of age for Emerson and 67 years for Lake what's to be expected. All our bodies break down over time and none expose it so much as athletes or musician who built their legacy around sacrificing their bodies for the love of their craft. The speed that made many of these tunes legendary has been slowed considerably and still the boys have trouble staying in time with one another.

Without Carl's involvement here, turning to the infamous 'Japanese Drummer' when needed left me feeling hungry for a more rhythmic performance. A complete re-arrangement of songs like 'Bitches Crystal' to a more, jazzy piano guitar piece might have saved this album a little.

One of the few saving graces I found was the beautiful guitar serenade on "From the Beginning" and the sweet piano intro to Luck Man that concludes the album. There is little to no improvisation here and it's a quality I greatly miss in this recording, even the Lucky Man synth solo is weak and dull.

8/20

General Impressions :

This was certainly a disappointment after waiting so long to hear it. It could have been an excellent memoir of two of Prog's greatest contributors but instead turns out to be a soon forgotten night of two buddies kicking back, not quite sure how to remember the times of yore.

8/20

Total = 42/100 (42% of 5 stars)

2.10

 Live From Manticore Hall (Emerson & Lake) by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Live, 2014
3.46 | 18 ratings

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Live From Manticore Hall (Emerson & Lake)
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars "Live from Manticore Hall" is a live 2010 show featuring legendary Prog specialists Emerson Lake & Palmer members without the Palmer. No brilliant drums basically but this is awesome stuff and I wish I could have seen the show. Lake spells it out to the captivated audience in the intro that this is going to be a concert where they invite the crowd into their studio where they experiment and create things, looking back to the halcyon days of King Crimson and The Nice and of course ELP. The band explain many things as they explore their past glories and it is a wonderful journey they take us on.

For the first time since 1969 they perform I Talk to the Wind that appeared on that little known album "In the Court of the Crimson King". Say no more. From the Beginning is the opener and no one can complain as its one of the greatest of the many Lake ballads that surfaced over the years.

Bitches Crystal is given a classical piano treatment and it's very cool, Emerson being a master of the ivories bar none. He slams those keys with staccato glee and it jumps along with familiar melody and extended piano concerto vibes. It is sans bass and drums but still works as a compelling piece.

The Barbarian from the first ELP is a great choice, "a catchy and annoying tune, that grows on you" according to Lake. He pulls out the Hammond sound on this one, and there's drums, by some unknown muso. The piano interlude is fabulous too. This is great to hear after all these years; a genuine triumph. "Listen they're whistling it already" says Lake at the end of it.

Take a Pebble is one of my favourites so to hear this revamped version was a joyous experience. Lake's dreamy vocals carry it along beautifully. The piano is welcome and at times this sounds like old school ELP. It's an edited version at 5 minutes 20 but it's still wondrous to hear. It segues immediately into Tarkus.

Tarkus is here. Tarkus! A 17 minute version so there's plenty to indulge in here. This is so beloved you can imagine the crowd adoring this. It is a bit unrecognizable at the start with a lone grand piano instead of the bombastic wall of sound on the original masterpiece. Emerson is just enjoying himself as he strolls through this criminally complex piece of music. Lake comes in as the Mellotron strings enter with Stones of Years. It is refreshing and again it must have been extremely moving and uplifting to be in the audience as this washes over you. Emerson tinkles away with unabashed virtuoso style capturing the greatness of the epic. Lake touches the guitar at times to maintain the off kilter rhythms. The echo on his voice is effective, and overall he is sounding the same as he did all those years ago "The weaver in the web that he made!" It's interesting to hear this version of Manticore too. The track really picks up with The Battlefield, into Aquatarkus with pounding drums and squelchy synths. Emerson pulls out the electronic synth wall for this one and blazes away into full flight like he used to and I wonder if he dragged a synth out stabbed it with a knife here. This captures ELP glory and undeniably is a crowd pleased. I suspect a standing ovation followed. Brilliant to hear Tarkus played with so much dynamic energy and passion!

The melancholy C'est Le Vie is next and brings things down to a calmer level after the previous blitzkrieg. Though not one I like, the song is still sounding similar to the old version with acoustics and relaxing strings for a peaceful atmosphere. An accordion sound comes in too for a Parisian touch. "Merci Beaucoup" indeed Mr Lake.

Pirates is a surprising choice from "Works" and it certainly progs along nicely at 13 and a half minutes. Opening with narrative and ethereal keys it fires up into familiar territory along the allegorical seas of turmoil and adventure. The keys sound similar to the original version, right down to the percussive crashes and flutes. The drums are great here, but who is playing them? The whimsical melodies of sea shanties drift along nicely,

The concert closes with a Moog Solo and then into a glorious rendition of Lucky Man. Lake tells us that Keith "wanted to like it but" it as not initially received well. Is that swirling psychedelic synth solo present at the end? This is the "retro-spective" version and Keith dusts down the old Moog, the same one to produce some mind bending psyched up sounds.

Overall this is a glorious return to the prog brilliance of ELP, with smatterings of The Nice and King Crimson sprinkled over the top. At little more than 78 minutes one has to wonder what the rest of the concert was like and what was omitted on the CD release. Some research reveals that on this tour the omitted songs were Prelude to Hope, Malambo, America and Rondo. A 2 CD release might have been appropriate to include these, especially America and Rondo. This is the setlist they played in 2010 in the USA both at Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis in April, and at The Birchmere, Alexandria in May, respectively. It leaves one slavering for more as the concert cruises by so rapidly. It is a joyous concert, an intimate night out with the prog legends Emerson and Lake.

 Honky by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.87 | 47 ratings

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Honky
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Anyone who knows the output of Emerson, Lake & Palmer is aware of how playful musician Keith Emerson can be. On this solo album he had the chance to play like a child in a toy shop, accompanied by Bahamian musicians. As the recent Esoteric Recordings re-release informs us, he had a happy time in and out of the studio, sun-bathing, water-skiing, fishing etc. and therefore this album is for him a dear bringer of joyful memories. It can't be denied that the joyful spirit can be felt by the listener too.

Anyone who knows the output of Emerson, Lake & Palmer also pretty surely can guess in advance whether (s)he will enjoy this album or will it push the irritation button. Well, at least the Bach pastiche composed by George Malcolm is nice. The production values are principally fine: the keyboards are in tune and the co-musicians are gifted.

On my behalf there's absolutely nothing else to say.

 Keith Emerson Band: Three Fates Project by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.41 | 36 ratings

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Keith Emerson Band: Three Fates Project
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars ELP - Concertante

In 2008 Keith Emerson released the first album under the name of The Keith Emerson Band (featuring Marc Bonilla), and it was a good one, easily the best album Emerson had put out (under any name) since the 1992 reunion with Lake and Palmer (resulting in Black Moon), and also one of the better albums he has put out since ELP's qualitative decline in the mid 70's. This strong, self-titled Keith Emerson Band studio album was then followed by an excellent live album (and video) in 2010 featuring a storming concert performance recorded in Moscow with songs from the new album as well as many rocking renditions of classic ELP songs. Staying true to the originals, yet at the same time going beyond them in adding an extra element in Bonilla's electric guitar playing, this was a recipe for success and Emerson had not sounded more in his element for a long, long time.

In the light of the above, this second Keith Emerson Band studio disc is a definite disappointment. Both Keith and Marc Bonilla are reduced to supporting roles here, leaving the main spotlight to the Munchner Rundfunkorchester conducted by Terje Mikkelsen. This is what I would like to call "Orchestral Rock", which is not Symphonic Progressive Rock--huge difference! Keith plays piano and some synths, Bonilla adds some electric guitar, the drums are handled by Troy Lucketta (and Toss Panos on one track), and Travis Davis plays bass.

The material consists of some orchestral re-workings of old ELP classics like Tarkus, Endless Enigma, and Abbadon's Bolero, as well as adaptations of Classical music (previously performed by ELP) like Fanfare For The Common Man. Malambo is another Classical piece that also was included on both The Keith Emerson Band studio album and the Moscow live album. Interestingly, The Three Fates are not here.

I am not fond of such orchestral Rock in general, and even though this album is actually a reasonably good example of that and a moderately pleasant listen, it is far from essential. In every case I would say that there are better versions than these orchestral re-workings. I hope The Keith Emerson Band returns with a proper new studio album featuring all new material in the style of their first. This one is for fans only.

 Changing States by EMERSON, KEITH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.25 | 23 ratings

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Changing States
Keith Emerson Crossover Prog

Review by richardh
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Yo, Keef!

I'm something of a Keith Emerson fan so its very difficult for me to be totally objective. Keith Emerson is one of those forces of nature that emerged from the late sixties showing that a Hammond organ could be a lead instrument in the right hands. This was the instrument that he forged his reputation on until he was sidetracked by the seductive charms of the Moog synth. However throughout his ELP career there are still those great organ lead tracks such as Hoedown and Tarkus before it was pretty much dumped for the Yamaha GX1 , the much vaunted keyboard of choice for the likes of Stevie Wonder and John Paul Jones (Led Zep). I do feel something was lost and that sense of loss continued through to the very disappointing ELPowell album where Emerson seemed reluctant,So where is that full blown Hammond Organ album to get one excited? By 1989 Emerson had had his fill of doing film soundtracks and so was looking to get back to a more traditional sounding album. This is it. Very much a stripped down sound and the organ up front. The band is absolutely top notch with some very powerful versions of tracks that were too be later reproduced by ELP on Black Moon- Another Frontier and Romeo and Juliet. For my money these are so much more powerful than the ELP versions and its the drums that are the major difference. The drummer here (Mark Barsimanto) is more dynamic than Carl Palmer who by 1992 was suffering some problems with his hands (Carpal Tunnel syndrome I think). It also helps that the producer is the legendary Kevin Gilbert who also co writes 3 of the tracks and plays Tuba on the orchestral version of Abaddon's Bolero ( yes really!!) as well as drums on the 3 of the three tracks. Actually this highlights one issue with this album that the tracks are taken from two different sessions but the common denominators are Emerson and Gilbert. This could almost be viewed as a collaboration between two of the greatest talents of the prog scene and when you also consider that Marc Bonilla is present on 3 of the tracks then there are some real heavyweights involved.

Kevin Gilbert's sleeve notes are a worth partly reproducing: The music on this CD was conceived in the traditional fashion.Lots of grunting and groaning.Sweat,Much too quickly.Mr Emerson braved the stirrups whilst Mr Gilbert reached in and pulled.Marc Bonilla midfwifed and Big Nila provided lots of hot water and towels.

..it does go on much more and 'Kev' shows himself to be a talented writer.

This album is being reissued this year so if you want a dose of contemporary organ lead prog by one of the masters then this is for you.

Thanks to raff for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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