Various - Encores, Legends & Paradox

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA 9026-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:10:00

While their website calls them "The home of progressive rock" it is no less true to say that the Magna Carta label is also the home to progressive rock tribute albums. One of their latest is a tribute to that well known trio called Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and if they need an introduction, then you are either not a true progressive music fan, or rather new to the genre.

There is a very long list of artists taking part in this tribute, not the least of which is the almost ubiquitous Robert Berry, as he handles both performer and producer duties here. The first track up is a lively and energetic "Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression" ... there is just enough new spin on this to make it truly a tribute and not a rehashing. Berry contributes vocals, bass and guitar; drums are handled by the impressive Simon Phillips, keys are by the equally adept Jordan Rudess, and on violin Mark Wood. There is such a great energy here, it's infectious - and sounds like they had fun tearing into this track. Well worth the price of admission in itself, I think. Okay, I got goosebumps at the end, it it's quite warm in California tonight.

Up next is "Bitches Crystal," which sounds quite unlike what I remember from the Tarkus disk ... maybe it's the keys of Trent Gardner (and I swear trombone ... but the credits don't say). John Wetton handles the vocals, King Crimson's Pat Mastelotto handles the drum and percussion duties, Yes' Igor Khoroshev is here on piano, and Wayne Gardner plays the bass. Being produced by Trent Gardner, and with he and his brother playing, there is just a hint of Magellan-ness about it ... but only flirtingly.

The Gardners and Mastelotto tackle Emerson's "Toccata" (itself an adaptation of Ginastera's "1st Piano Concerto, 1st Movement"), along with Peter Banks on guitars and Matt Guillory (Dali's Dilemma) on synths. Wow!

Berry opens "Knife Edge" with a low, thrumming bass, while Glenn Hughes brings rich baritone (or nearly) vocals ... changing to a higher pitch for the rest of the track. Phillips keeps it all together with some strong drum playing, and Marc Bonilla plays some searing guitar leads, and some great, ringing arpeggio's, to boot. Rocket Scientists' Erik Norlander plays the keys here. I can't recall if ELP's original sounded this beefy, this hard... (got to pull that first disk out again) ... but there is a metal edge here - not surprising given the label.

"A Time And Place" sounds like ELP crossed with Rush crossed with...well, LaBrie's on vocals, so there's a Dream Theater groove here, too. It should sound like Tull, I guess, given the participation of Martin Barre on guitars and Doane Perry on drums ... but with Gardner on keys ... yes, there's a Magellan hint again. John Novello provides an organ solo which is very Emerson-esque. This is another of the highlight tracks here; great stuff. There are moments where LaBrie's vocals are slightly the quiet section...I think it comes about when he tries to restrain his natural vocal inclinations. But, despite that, an excellent performance.

There is so much great stuff here, not just because it's ELP stuff ... but ... the talent level here is so high that its sort of a given that this is going to be pretty good. "Hoedown" rocks and will make you forget that this piece of Copeland music ("Rodeo" specifically) was used in a ... was it a beef commercial? I've forgotten already, see. The line up here is Berry (bass), Phillips (drums), Jerry Goodman (violin), Rudess (keys), and Bonilla (guitar). Goodman's playing is killer ... and the highlight of this track ... fitting since it takes the lead most often. This and the opener are the most high energy tracks here. Whew!

The rest of the tracks covered are "The Sheriff," "The Endless Enigma," "The Barbarian," and "Tarkus." Rounding out the artist list is Mike Portnoy (drums, "Sheriff" and "Enigma"), Mark Robertson (Hammond C3, "Sheriff"), Geoff Downes (synth, "Enigma"), and Derek Sherinian (keys, "Tarkus").

The production on this is spectacular, it's crisp, it's clear, ... perfect. All that is down to Terry Brown, who mixed this disk (and the also reviewed LaBrie disk Mullmuzzler), Dave Townson who edited it all together, and, of course, Trent Gardner, Robert Berry, and Jeff Brockman (Cairo) who provided additional engineering (sounds like a credits page, eh?).

Whatever you feel about tribute disks, this is one you have to get. I'm overawed by the playing here, by the freshness to the ELP tracks. To say "Tarkus" has taken on new life would be a misnomer ... it has taken on another life ... and is yet another example of why this is such a great tribute to ELP.

Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression (8:47) / Bitches Crystal (4:38) / Toccata (8:04) / Knife Edge (5:15) / A Time And A Place (6:11) / Hoedown (3:43) / The Sheriff (5:55) / The Endless Enigma (10:14) / The Barbarian (4:40) / Tarkus (6:45)

Peter Banks - guitars (3, 7)
Martin Barre - guitars (5)
Robert Berry - bass (1, 4, 6, 10) , guitars (1, 9), and vocals (1)
Marc Bonilla - guitars (4, 6, 10)
Geoff Downes - synth (8)
Trent Gardner - keyboards (2, 3, 5, 7, 8) and vocals (7, 8)
Wayne Gardner - bass (2, 3, 5, 7, 8) and acoustic guitar (7)
Jerry Goodman - violin (6)
Matt Guilory - synth (3)
Glenn Hughes - vocals (4)
Igor Khoroshev - piano (2) and keyboards (9)
James LaBrie - vocals (5, 10)
Pat Mastelotto - drums and percussion (2, 3)
Erik Norlander - keyboards (4)
John Novello - organ (5)
Doane Perry - drums (5)
Simon Phillips - drums (1, 4, 6, 9, 10)
Mike Portnoy - drums (7, 8)
Mark Robertson - Hammond C-3 organ (7)
Jordan Rudess - keyboards (1, 6)
Derek Sherinian - keyboards (10)
John Wetton - vocals (2, 7)
Mark Wood - violin (1)


Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin VA

Added: August 17th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 871
Language: english


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