Various Artists — Steinway to Heaven
(Magna Carta MA-9011-2, 1996, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01
Yup. A full album of rock keyboard gods performing straight ahead (almost) classical pieces on piano, totally solo, sink or swim. Indeed this is proof positive that the likes of Emerson, Wakeman, Brian Auger, Patrick Moraz, Steve Porcaro, and a handful of others have what it takes; but the bigger underlying question is: beyond that, what does this album do? Why would any classical fan buy this in favor of similarly perfect versions by some stuffy better known classical pianist? Putting that question aside, this is one enjoyable and very impressive disc that I'm certain most would enjoy. Two pieces by Beethoven, one each by Liszt, Fauré, Ravel, Brahms, Prokofiev, Ginastera (guess who?), and four by Chopin (that's way too much Chopin for me) are covered by the aforementioned players, plus Dizzy Reed (Guns n' Roses), Chuck Leavell (Sea Level), Tony Hymas (Jeff Beck), David Bryan (Bon Jovi), Mark Robertson (Cairo), Jordan Rudess (Dixie Dregs) and Chris Ingles (Shadow Gallery). By the way, the subtitle of this disc is "Magna Carta's Keyboard Hall of Fame, Volume One"; I have an idea for volume two: why not get a bunch of classical pianists to make an album showing what they can do playing rock numbers on a Hammond B3 with a three piece band? 'Nuff said; this is a good one for what it is.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more