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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Keith Emerson

Band – Three Fates Project

Review by Larry Toering

After The Keith Emerson Band did the Moscow CD/DVD, I knew I had to follow what was to come. That was this album featuring Marc Bonilla on guitars, Travis Davis on bass, Troy Luccketta (Tesla) on drums, along with conductor Terje Mikkelsen and the 70-piece Muchner Rundfunkorchester. It contains some orchestral re-workings of ELP classics, as well as a few new compositions from Emerson and Bonilla. Together they show how modern these pieces can sound, as they're performed with sheer perfection and grace. Never have they sounded so good, and this band keeps impressing as they go. This goes so well with Moscow, that it sounds like this outfit can do no wrong.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Endless Enigma Suite (Pt. 1)

Part one of  the suite is nothing short of breathtaking, as it starts off more frantically and winds down smoothly to a slower ending. This is a very commanding yet forgiving piece of pure beauty, and it’s well known to these ears.

The Endless Enigma Suite (Pt. 2)
Part two starts much slower and builds into a crescendo before coming on stronger toward the end. Both parts feature Emerson and the orchestra in full motion and properly present their truly amazing prowess.
American Matador
This finds Bonilla in what must be his finest form, because it is one brilliant guitar  piece, with volume swells galore. It’s one of those things you have to hear to believe, as he flies in this amazing piece of guitar music that is simply done with the best of them.
After All of This
Back into symphony mode this goes, with an exquisite number that is both heavy and lightly balanced into four minutes of pure classical delight. This piece is one of Emerson's new contributions.
Walking Distance
This is not only a lighthearted piece, but it's quite well rounded with a variety of things going on, and it's all done with such beauty and finesse it makes one really think about classical music. It's amazing how the music is so seamless that it just floats along like butter, and Bonilla knows how to spread it in this piece, his composition.
Tarkus (Concertante)
This is the big number, and one I've witnessed performed live several times myself. I can always stand to hear another take on it, and this is spectacular. Emerson and band, along with this orchestra really do ELP justice at every attempt. Whenever I hear them live it's just as good as hearing Emerson Lake and Palmer live any day, and that is a testament to Emerson. We get the usual 20 minutes plus of  madness here, kicked up just enough to put a modern hook on it. Somehow they manage to update it with a contemporary flare, yet still keep it in note for note fashion.
Malambo
Here we find the orchestra and the band playing together with absolute fury. Everything is explored, from classical and rock, to jazz and be-bop. This is more than enough to make Alberto Ginastera proud, as it's nothing short of amazing.
The Mourning Sun
This is an interesting orchestral number penned by Bonilla, and it just goes to show why he and Emerson work so well together. Perhaps this is one of the sleeper compositions out of the new material here.
Abaddon's Bolero
This is done so very well, and it all comes to a head so intensely, as Emerson gives us some killer synth to really top it off. I could use this being three times as long as it is. It’s a good thing there is always repeat.
Fanfare For The Common Man (Pt. 1)
The orchestra shines as they make their way through part one of this classic two parter. Once again it's so smooth, like it was all done so effortlessly, in what is some of the most enjoyable music I've heard in a while. I could listen to this orchestra all the time, and I'm glad to be introduced to them.  They do Aaron Copland justice.
Fanfare For The Common Man (Pt. 2)
Of course part two kicks a lot harder, as it too pretty much has it all, and a little more to end the set. Its arsenal includes killer guitar and keyboard interplay that weaves in and out of the orchestra with ease. This is nothing short of mind blowing, and to think it's all over. What a remarkable release this is.

 

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