…The Grand Canyon Suite by Grofe has that same cozy nostalgic feel further enhanced by some UNusual instrument placement and editing. A serious recording technician would probably laugh at the approach used by this orchestra and Living Stereo, but to me it's a silly but highly enjoyable masterpiece. The SACD Stereo sound is fantastic, and this is one of my SACD Top Picks!
Essential: A masterpiece of progressive rock music
Back in 1970, whilst browsing in my favorite used record store, i came across this album. Despite the ghastly sleeve art (not the cover pictured above), i turned it over and noticed “Sympathy” included in the track listings, a song i had heard many times on the radio in the office but had never really taken much notice of, despite it being a huge hit single. The photo of the band clinched it – in those days any strange album i found depicting “four hippies in a field / park / wood” was worth investigating as part of my “scene”.
My first encounter with Rameau came when I was seven years old. The piano was predominant in musical life in the Soviet Union at the time but Johann Sebastian Bach was the only composer to represent the baroque era. Ever-present in concert halls, his compositions were also the daily bread of young pianists in music school. My first teacher had been born in Paris and had a deep knowledge and strong sense of French culture, especially French literature. Thanks to him, I in turn fell in love with France in general and Rameau in particular, and Rameau has stayed with me ever since. I have always kept him in a corner of my mind without ever being able to play his music in public, because unfortunately concert organisers, including in France, then as now prefer composers better known to the general public.
Pianist Victor Gould's debut utilizes a variety of large gears, pinions, and regulators to help fashion his own ideas. You just never know who'll be standing in for which of those parts. The high-octane combination of Gould, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer E.J. Strickland is at the center of each scene, but they're joined, at different times, by a variety of other musicians and instruments—saxophones, trumpet, flute, strings, and percussion—which help to create an intricate sonic mesh and add a variety of tonal colors to the mix. It's heady modernistic jazz language and high art rolled into one.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive-rock music.
As Nice As Mother Makes It
After two very robust but patchy albums the Nice adopted a slightly different approach to their third by exploiting a half live/half studio hybrid. They felt that this (on the advice of their new manager Tony Stratton-Smith) would showcase the 'best of both worlds' as the studio precedents were not felt to do justice to their live performances.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
Although admittedly a posthumous release, I was very surprised at the rather dismissive tenor of many of the reviews of this album to date. Hopefully this record will be reappraised soon as being a release worthy of anyone's consideration as I feel it does enhance an already rich legacy left behind by this very fine and innovative band. (So what if Charisma wanted to ride the slipstream of the lucrative ELP juggernaut?)