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Keith Emerson - Keith Emerson Band - Feat. Marc Bonilla CD (album) cover

KEITH EMERSON BAND - FEAT. MARC BONILLA

Keith Emerson

 

Crossover Prog

3.58 | 79 ratings

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TenYearsAfter
4 stars Prologue: Jimi Hendrix changed the rock with his electric guitar, Keith Emerson changed the prog, with his Hammond organ. And due to his legendary Moog solo in Lucky Man the world got familiar with that sensational synthesizer sound. But recent years Keith Emerson couldn't cope with his hand injuries and the negative remarks on the Internet, he had turned into a very unlucky man, deeply depressed. And what a cynical similarities with the Lucky Man lyrics: Keith was also a wealthy man who died with a bullet in his head, after committing suicide in his house in Santa Monica, USA, on March 11, 2016. This review is dedicated to Keith Emerson who became only 71 years old, but is considered as a progrock legend who made so many progheads happy with his jaw dropping work on the Hammond and Moog and with his sensational stage antics.

Chapter 1: In 2006 Keith Emerson and his band appeared on the the Moogfest 2006 festival, watching the DVD I was blown away by their performance, what a powerful sound, what a splendid interplay! And what an awesome extra dimension Marc Bonilla delivered, a big hand for this killer guitar player. But it is also stunning to watch Keith Emerson on his Hammond, Moog and modern keyboards, he looked like reborn. How sad that ten years later he decided to commit suicide, only 71 years old. After the acclaimed Moogfest 2006 gig Keith Emerson made an album with his band, again featuring the excellent Marc Bonilla. I have bought the limited CD/DVD edition.

Chapter 2 - The CD: The album starts with a 15-piece suite (30 minutes) that is based upon the horror novel The House Of Ocean Born Mary, it turned out that both Keith as Marc had read this book. Keith Emerson delivers a wide range of keyboard sounds: from 3 short pieces featuring the majestic pipe organ and tender Grand piano to bombastic work on the Hammond and Moog. I love it and I am delighted about the dynamic and powerful rhythm- section. In my opinion Keith Emerson couldn't have made a better choice with guitarplayer (and singer) Marc Bonilla: he is outstanding, from wonderful twanging electric guitar with melancholical vocals (somewhere between Greg Lake and John Wetton) and sensitive soli with howling runs to fiery and heavy work with rock as the main ingredient. He is also a very strong counterpart to Keith his bombastic and virtuosic keyboard sound. In the dreamy Miles Away Pt 3 he blends acoustic ' and electric guitar, followed by a strongly build-up solo with a fiery undertone. This suite is concluded in a very exciting way with the piece Finale featuring fluent and swinging rhythms with captivating work on guitar and keyboards, culminating in an end with biting guitar, a propulsive rhythm-section and swirling Hammond, like Seventies ELP, great! Then four compositions with each another atmosphere. The pretty polished rock song The Art Of Falling Down featuring a sensational synthesizer solo and fiery guitar work. Flashy and bombastic keyboards and powerful guitar in the fluent Malambo. Swinging piano and strong in the catchy Gametime. And a great build-up in the final track The Parting that starts mellow but gradually turns into more compelling (with the focus on Keith his Hammond organ).

Chapter 3 - The DVD: One can divide this DVD into 3 sections: first 7 songs that deal about the making of the album, then a section that features 10 minutes with color and black and white pictures and finally a live concert in Hungary (2006).

The first part (25 minutes) shows the musicians in the studio and their stories about the album (like Keith tells how he met Marc and we can enjoy a hilarious part with the burning Grand piano in a desolate landscape, even the fire brigade visited this happening). The next part is about pictures that were made in the studio, during the concert and in the landscape where the burning Grand piano stood. Very beautiful and I was very pleased with the live shots featuring Keith Emerson on his modular Moog and with the sensational Moog ribbon controler, like the early ELP days! The final part contains a 20 minutes version of the 2006 Hungary concert with four songs: the exciting Welcome Back with propulsive guitar and Keith on his Hammond, the sensational Piano Concerto 3rd Movement with jaw-dropping interplay between Keith and Marc (what a chemistry), the powerful rock song Living Sin and finally the swinging Bitches Crystal with Keith freaking out on the piano. And lots of smiling faces because of that, great to see how virtuosity and humor are combined, that doesn't happen very often in progrock.

To me it often looks or Keith and Marc are brothers: the one loves keyboards, the other guitar and both understand each other perfectly, that is a great factor you can discover on this CD/DVD set. Keith Emerson had founded a great band, created strong music and discovered a stunning guitar player, highly recommended!

Epilogue: During the Fallen Angels tour in 2017 Eddie Jobson paid tribute to Keith Emerson (and John Wetton) with an earthshaking Moog synthesizer solo during Lucky Man, accompanied by Marc Bonilla, full circle!

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |

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