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


Various Artists (Tributes)


Various Genres

3.65 | 37 ratings

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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.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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