Review of Two Sides of Yes submitted on 4th July 2002
Rick's interpretations of 7 classic Yes tracks, piano, synth, bass and drums for most. For me this must rate as one of Rick's best yet. His interpretations of Yes music go beyond his original involvement with the tracks and reproduce those glorious Jon Anderson vocals in synth and piano melody lines in a way that only Rick can. I found the interpretation of Close To The Edge rivetting and heard the track in a way which the sometimes raucous guitar never allowed The other standout track is Roundabout where Rick get's another go at the guitar parts as well as keyboards. The album indicates 'solo and duet piano' and I suspect this track is an example where either Rick has grown a third hand (possibly fourth) or it's a "duet" overdub. Either way great listening. The classic Hammond solo isn't as free and wild as the live performances and this may be from the need to keep some kind of time. Fantastic. Push on past Your Move if it's not strictly to your taste, the album is a gem.
Review of Cirque Surreal submitted on 30th May 2003
Whilst a huge fan off all Rick's early, I haven't been a devoted follow for years. So naturally with the huge number of releases many have slipped by me. The last few years have been devoted to remedying that situation. Amongst the "new" discoveries is Cirque Surreal. Any what a find it is! If you like vintage Rick and all the great synth sounds, melodies and generally mind blowing playing, then get this album. Some stand out tracks for me Gnash, Wired for sound and Juliet. The whole band is a tight as all heck with precision playing throughout. Some pretty good guitar from Fraser Thorneycroft-Smith and the vocals from Chrissie Hammond (not all tracks) are superb. All in all a great Wakeman album.
Review of The Heritage Suite submitted on 30th May 2003
Just beautiful serene solo piano playing inspired by the obvious natural delights of Britain.
Review of Sea Airs submitted on 30th May 2003
Very much in the same vein as Heritage Suite - I think Rick's catalog has a bit more in this style, such as Country Airs. Back to the point, beautiful inspired solo piano. This album really delivers to its theme. Sailor songs could easily be trite and cliche - not here. Tracks like The Pirate are trully evocate of the subject matter. Currently has a permanant place on my desktop. So I think it's fair to say there are a number of styles that Rick plays in 1) Rock synthy, concept album (GREAT), 2) melodic solo piano (GREAT), 3) the odd 'bum album' - if only my best could equal his worst! 4) religous - haven't quite come to grips with that and 5) Choral (like the Wizard... which hasn't grabbed me yet) Sea Airs falls into category 2 and is must have!