Rick Wakeman To Release New Studio Album
By Scott Green
December 11, 2016
Multi-million-selling keyboard icon returns with ‘Piano Portraits’ on January 13
Revered keyboardist, songwriter and broadcaster Rick Wakeman will release his new solo album, Piano Portraits, on CD and digitally on January 13, with 2LP vinyl to follow on February 3. Prompted by the enthusiastic reaction to his performance of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” on BBC Radio 2 earlier on this year, Wakeman has recorded a full solo piano album featuring a varied selection of music, including classic songs on which he originally performed.
Bucking the trend of orchestral projects, Piano Portraits captures both the technical virtuosity and lightness of touch that have become trademarks of Wakeman’s playing since he first made a name for himself in the 1970s. Recorded at The Old Granary in South Norfolk, the 15-track collection ranges from landmark David Bowie hits “Life on Mars,” which Wakeman recorded the original piano parts for, and “Space Oddity” to which he contributed mellotron; through The Beatles, Yes and Led Zeppelin; to classical pieces composed by Debussy and Tchaikovsky.
“I’ve been wanting to do a piano album for years and I spent quite a bit of time looking at everything from straight classical pieces to stuff that I’d played on in the past like ‘Morning Has Broken’ and ‘Life On Mars’,” Wakeman explains. “Plus pieces of music that I thought would work really well like ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and classics like ‘Clair de Lune.’ Nearly all of the tracks have a memory for me somewhere down the line and it just seemed to work.”
Rick Wakeman has carved out a fascinating, idiosyncratic career that has comfortably traversed multiple musical worlds. A classically trained pianist, he studied at the Royal College Of Music before going on to become a much in-demand session musician playing on a string of hit songs by the likes of Black Sabbath, Elton John, Cat Stevens and David Bowie.
Also well known as a member of progressive rock band Yes and as a hugely successful solo artist, Wakeman is without doubt one of the most original, entertaining and groundbreaking performers of his generation.
Preorder Piano Portraits: https://UMe.lnk.to/PianoPortraitsPR
Watch the music video for Wakeman’s interpretation of The Beatles’ “Help!” on Vevo: http://vevo.ly/E4QLc9
Rick Wakeman: Piano Portraits [CD; digital; streaming; 2LP vinyl]
01. Help! 09. Morning Has Broken
02. Stairway to Heaven 10. Summertime
03. Life on Mars 11. Space Oddity
04. I’m Not In Love 12. Dance of the Damselflies
05. Wonderous Stories 13. Clair de Lune
06. Berceuse 14. I Vow To Thee My Country
07. Amazing Grace 15. Eleanor Rigby
08. Swan Lake