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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

John Wetton

And the Les Paul Trio – New York Minute – Live at the Iridium, New York, 2013

Review by Gary Hill

This was apparently recorded at a cancer awareness concert as John Wetton talks about that at a few places here. While this is recorded with the Les Paul Trio, the arrangements are very often almost exclusively piano and voice related. This is quite an interesting set, both in terms of the material covered and the performances. I’d consider it highly recommended. I should note that it lands in progressive rock mostly based on Wetton’s considerable history in the prog world and less on the music presented here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Do It Again

I’m a big fan of Steely Dan, so I love the fact that this set opens with a song from that outfit. It starts with piano and Wetton’s voice comes in over that instrument. In fact, this is a piano and voice arrangement. The piano gets a nice solo mid-track, too.

What's Going On?
Another with a piano and voice arrangement, this is pretty and powerful. It’s jazzy. I’d have to say that I actually like the vocal performance on this better than on the original.
God Only Knows
With a similar arrangement, this one doesn’t work as well as the two openers, as far as I’m concerned. Still, Wetton’s vocal performance is strong.
Can't Find My Way Home
I dig this version of the song. It’s another that’s just a piano and voice arrangement, though.
All Along the Watchtower
We get more of a full band arrangement on this rocker. I am really enthralled with this rendition of the Dylan classic. Hendrix notwithstanding, this might be my favorite version ever of this song. The piano still plays a real leading role here.
New York Minute
We’re back into a mostly piano and voice arrangement here. I like this rocker a lot. It has a lot of power and style. It’s also rather jazzy in some ways.
Lady Madonna
This was always one of my favorite songs as a kid. I like this rendition quite a bit. It’s not  a highlight of the set, nor will it rival the original, but it’s fun.
Heat of the Moment
The verses on this rendition of the classic Asia hits are very different. The choruses feel more like the original. No matter the differences, though (or perhaps because of them), this is a great version. It’s so different that direct comparisons are pretty much off the table. Wetton’s vocals really sell it, though.
Battle Lines

 The fullest arrangement of the set, this rocker is evocative and powerful. Wetton pulls no punches, delivering an incendiary vocal performance. I think that it’s very appropriate for this to be the last song because it’s the best one here.

 
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