Here's a little something that will rub that "nostalgia itch" for all King Crimson fans, especially lovers of the band's first few albums. Featuring former members Ian McDonald, Michael Giles, Mel Collins, Peter Giles, plus former Level 42 guitarist/vocalist Jakko Jacszyk, 21st Century Schizoid Band apparently have the blessing of Robert Fripp to tour and record, playing a variety of vintage Crimson tunes that the actual band itself no longer covers. Never intended as an official release, but more as a souvenir of the 2002 tour, this platter is now available to the genreal public, and it's a nice walk down memory lane.
Hearing these geezers run through the jazzy "Catfood" , complete with squonking sax from Collins and McDonald's rolling piano lines, brings back fond memories of one of the most overlooked Crimson albums, In the Wake of Poseidon. Jacszyk does a good job coming up with a Greg Lake flavored vocal, as he does on all the songs covered here. The band really gets the "sound" on "In the Court of the Crimson King", complete with McDonald's flute and Mellotron samples. The band pulls out "Formentara Lady" from the Islands LP, a real introspective tune that gets royal treatment here with lovely woodwinds from Collins, as well as the more jarring "Ladies of the Road", where Jakszyk does a good job mimicking Fripp's jangly guitar work as it does battle with Collins and his nasty sax tone. Of course, this set would not be complete without a rendition of "21st Century Schizoid Man", the metallic progressive rock classic, in which these guys really rock the house with note for note precision, yet add a strong jazz feel at the same time. Other tunes included are "A Man A City" (the Crimson title is actually "Pictures of a City") and the lovely "I Talk to the Wind."
For longtime King Crimson buffs (and I'm one of them!) this CD will be a load of fun. Since Mr. Fripp and the boys refuse to play these songs live anymore, why not dust out of the closet some familiar faces who helped shape these tunes 30 years ago and give them a fresh reworking? I say bring on more!!!