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Lo Muscio, Marco, John Hackett, and Carlo Matteucci: Playing the History

Anytime the name Hackett is involved in a progressive rock project my ears perk up. So when I found this amazing work of art in my pack of review CDs I was overjoyed. Steve Hackett does play his famous opus "Hands of the Priestess", along with the Genesis classic Selling England by the Pound track "After the Ordeal", "The Lamb's: Hairless Heart", and "Galadriel"; but this compilation of rock history eminated from his brother, John Hackett, who plays flute. John Hackett collaborated with keyboard wizard Marco Lo Muscio, (Italian organist, pianist and composer); and bass and lead guitarist Carlo Matteucci to bring you this wonderful CD Playing the History .

To make the package complete for me, as a fan of The Watch, Giorgio Gabriel, lead guitarist of the Italian progessive rock band The Watch, plays guitar on most of the tracks. Dave Jackson from Van der Graf Generator, plays sax.

The famous Gandalf of JRR Tolkien fame is deftly painted in the cover art, suggesting this project is a great melding of progressive and classical music along with classic literature influences. As they state in their press release, "progressive rock lyrics have often drawn on elements of myth and fantasy, so we have also included some new pieces inspired by the literature of JRR Tolkien".

With over 76 minutes of music to play, which titles did the collaborators wish to include? Well you can take a look at the track list, but for my money the opening pipe organ extravaganza featuring ELP and Charles Perry's famous composition "Jerusalem" kicked the album off to a powerful start. It is my favorite track on the album. Lo Muscio's playing will make your ears cry with delight. But you will miss Greg Lake's titanic voice. Although "Horizons", off Genesis' Foxtrot is beautiful as always; I for one missed the obvious next track, which "Horizons" is the hors d'oeuvre. "I Talk to the Wind" again was wonderful to hear, but is missing the power and mindful thought of Greg Lake's vocal.

The "Great Gig in the Sky" however was wonderful with that bold and glorious pipe organ and sax taking the place of the female vocals...(I did miss Clare Torry's vocals though).

This album is a wonderful departure from the average. No manner of expense was spared. A Steinway grand piano, pipe organ, flute, excellent guitar work, and musical expertise on a level rarely achieved were used to create a wonderful mixture between progressive rock and its root element classical music. The bridge has been re-crossed. It will be interesting to see how well this album is received. I...for one...would love to hear a new version of "Supper's Ready", and definitely missed it after "Horizons". Maybe a different guest lead vocalist would provide a new perspective on "Supper's". I suggest the voice missing from so many of the ELP tracks on this album. ;^)

If you like progressive rock and classical music this is the perfect relaxing album to fill your early Sunday morning with coffee or tea.

Track Listing:

1 Jerusalem (Parry/Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
2 Catherine of Aragon (Rick Wakeman)
3 Overnight Snow (John Hackett)
4 Hairless Heart (Genesis)
5 After the Ordeal (Genesis)
6 Horizons (Genesis)
7 Fanfare and Lutes' Chorus (Anthony Phillips)
8 Hammer in the Sand (Steve Hackett)
9 Theme One (Martin/Van Der Graaf Generator)
10 I Talk to the Wind (King Crimson)
11 Shadow of the Hierophant (Steve Hackett)
12 Hands of the Priestess (Steve Hackett)
13 Galadriel (Steve Hackett)
14 Galadriel's Memories (John Hackett)
15 Bilbo's Dream (Marco Lo Muscio)
16 Visions from Minas Tirith (Marco Lo Muscio)
17 The Great gig in the Sky (Pink Floyd)

Added: March 4th 2014
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link:
Hits: 1850
Language: english

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