Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla (Uk)


aec.imt8313550.2 3/31/09 New
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    Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla (Uk) Edel Records
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Review Text The Keith Emerson Band is Emerson's first self-assured musical statement since the legendary trio of Emerson, Lake & Palmer last disbanded in the mid-'90s. It marks a fresh start for one of the world's most admired keyboard wizards, in which he regains the musical focus his fans had missed. A few years into the new millennium, Emerson met Marc Bonilla, and the two hit it off so well that his motivation to write new compositions returned; the pair agreed to dive into the sounds that distinguished ELP in their prime. That objective was realized with the 35-minute opus "The House of Ocean Born Mary" opening the album. The once-familiar array of sounds, including the Hammond organ, the Moog synthesizer, the grand piano, and the pipe organ appear almost as a showcase during the opening part of this first track, and remain present in their interplay throughout the album. Based on a ghost story familiar to both Bonilla and Emerson, the song is short on solid narrative, and the lyrics leave much to the listener's imagination. Emerson instead lets the music itself do the talking, as he takes listeners through a landscape of sounds and ideas, leading them into the more evened-out plateaus of songs written and sung by Bonilla, the latter of whom excellently guides Emerson back to form here with a voice as fine and elegant as two other great vocalists of the genre: John Wetton and even Greg Lake, to some extent. Bonilla's contributions gently take the main piece down to the simpler quality of music that many a progressive star of the '70s succumbed to in the '80s (Wetton's band Asia being a typically embarrassing example) without going too far down. Still, things work out very well here, not least thanks to the grand instrumental "Finale" of "The House of Ocean Born Mary." The rest of the album even includes more echoes from the days of ELP: an adoption of a piece by composer Alberto Ginastera, "Malambo," which, far from the sinister and edgy "Tocatta," is more of a sprightly piece featuring Emerson's piano acrobatics. There’s also a familiar stopover in the honky tonk "Gametime," with some impressive rhyming by Bonilla. That and the Bonilla/Emerson-penned song "The Art of Falling Down" show that Bonilla can be a better lyricist than seemed probable from the evidence in the opening piece, and the flexible jazz-tinged dynamics of this song go even further in suggesting that there is quite a bit more potential in this partnership. ~ Alan Severa

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Ignition - 2:41
  2. 2. 1st Presence - 1:36
  3. 3. Last Horizon - 3:32
  4. 4. Miles Away, Pt. 1 (White Widow) - 2:54
  5. 5. Miles Away, Pt. 2 (Black Flame) - 2:15
  6. 6. Sonata - 1:13
  7. 7. Fugue - 1:36
  8. 8. 2nd Presence - 0:18
  9. 9. Marche Train - 6:12
  10. 10. Blue Inferno - 1:11
  11. 11. 3rd Presence - 1:07
  12. 12. Prelude to Hope - 2:23
  13. 13. Place to Hide - 4:25
  14. 14. Miles Away, Pt. 3 (Spirit Rising) - 3:30
  15. 15. Finale - 6:56
  16. 16. Art of Falling Down - 3:29
  17. 17. Malambo - 6:32
  18. 18. Gametime - 3:39
  19. 19. Parting - 5:44

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