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Rick Wakeman

A Gallery of the Imagination

Review by Gary Hill

This new album from Rick Wakeman is considered a concept album. That's because he considers it a gallery of art work, but represented as music. There is an interesting range here, from prog to jazz, classical and more. While there are trademark Wakeman elements, this is not a carbon copy of anything he's done before. Given his extensive catalog that says a lot. He's joined here by bassist Lee Pomeroy, guitarist Dave Colquhoun, drummer Ash Soan and singer Hayley Sanderson. That said, Wakeman is the only person to appear on all the songs here.

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Track by Track Review
Hidden Depths
The piano solo that starts this is passionate and powerful. The band join after a time, and keys are changed to other varieties. This is a classy, driving rocker that features some cool slide guitar work. It also has a great synthesizer break. This killer instrumental feels like classic Rick Wakeman.
The Man in the Moon
Piano again gets this going. The vocals come in over the top of a purely keyboard based arrangement. It eventually shifts toward more rocking modes further down the road for some more trademark Wakeman jamming.
A Mirage in the Clouds
A guitar chord is heard at the beginning before the keyboards take over completely for a time. This balladic piece reminds me to some degree of Yes. The vocals are potent, and the arrangement really brings some evocative magic to bear. This has some intriguing changes, but remains on the mellower end of the spectrum throughout.
The Creek
I love this piano solo. It's very classical in nature. It's also pretty and evocative.
My Moonlight Dream
This is more of a rock song that has some Wakeman trademarks in place. I really love the keyboard solo mid-track, but pretty much everything about this tune works.
Only When I Cry
Piano paints a passionate picture. The vocals come over the top of that, bringing a new angle to the concept. Some other instruments get added to the mix later, but overall this remains largely the same.
Cuban Carnival
There is a trippy, Latin jazz vibe to this cut. It's a lot of fun. It has more pure rocking stuff at points, leaning in on the classic Wakeman concepts.
Just a Memory
Another piano solo, this one has so much style and charm. It's also packed full of emotion.
The Dinner Party
An up-tempo classic Wakeman sound is on display here. This instrumental has some great twists and turns. It also features some awesome synthesizer soloing.
A Day Spent on the Pier
There is a playful feeling to this cut. It's another classy tune. There are some definite jazzy vibes here. It also features some killer keyboard work.
The Visitation
This might be my favorite piece here. Part of that comes from how powerful the instrumental work is. The whole tune just oozes magic and cool, though. I also love the contrast between the mellower and more rocking stuff.
The Eyes of a Child
A slower moving number, this has a lot intricacies. It has plenty of classical music built into it. It's rather delicate, but also has some real evocative power to it.

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