Exposé Online banner

Rick Wakeman — The Masters
(Purple Pyramid CLP 0565-2, 1999, 2CD)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 2000-05-01

The Masters Cover artBetween 1982 and 1995 Wakeman released a staggering 35 recordings! None of these are known to more than a few people (I have only seen about four of them myself), so the convenience of this compilation of 20 tracks from 13 albums of that period is certainly a foregone conclusion. Disc one blasts off with a surprisingly commercial pomp-rock tune with absolutely astonishing production quality, and a singer who could have replaced Steve Walsh in Kansas! Who is he?? A pair of flashy prog instrumentals follow; nice, if cliched, but great keyboard work. A jazzy piece from his Zodiac CD follows but seems unfinished, like a demo. Later he cranks up the drama on two more instrumental prog numbers. Then there is a poorly executed pop song which doesn't match the production quality of its predecessor. Closing out this half are a completely remade suite from Six Wives which features loads of new material; and a beautiful piano-based song with percussion accompaniment. Disc two starts with another stab at radio play, but quickly (and fortunately) abandons it in favor of more instrumental piano and synth-heavy pieces from Rick's relatively recent concept albums: Romance of the Victorian Age, and 7 Wonders of the World. A couple veer nigh a light new age side; others are deadringer Brahms/Beethoven piano material. A live reworked suite from Merlin (again with a ton of new twists added) provides contrast. Based on what this CD offers I'd choose Tapestries and No Expense Spared as the two recommendables. But this leaves another 23 recordings — including three soundtracks — that (probably like you) I have never heard, so my judgement is of limited value.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Rick Wakeman

Latest news

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Anthony Moore - Reed, Whistle and Sticks, Out & Flying Doesn't Help – Before hooking up with Peter Blegvad and Dagmar Krause to form Slapp Happy, Anthony Moore was experimenting with some very innovative musical techniques. Reed, Whistle and Sticks is one of the results...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues