Rick Wakeman Piano Portraits Studio Album Coming

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Rick Wakeman Piano PortraitsRick Wakeman, the longtime keyboardist for Yes who has teamed with former bandmates Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin as ARW, will release a new solo album, Piano Portraits, on CD and digitally on January 13, 2017. A 2-LP vinyl set will follow on February 3. CD pre-order is available here.

The announcement notes: “Prompted by the enthusiastic reaction to his performance of David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’ on BBC Radio 2 earlier this year, Wakeman recorded a full solo piano album featuring a varied selection of music, including classic songs on which he originally performed.”

Recorded at The Old Granary in South Norfolk, the 15-track collection ranges from the Bowie songs “Life on Mars,” which “Grumpy Old Rick” (his Twitter handle) 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 says. “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.”

Related: Our review of ARW’s November 2016 concert at NYC’s Beacon Theatre

A classically trained pianist, Wakeman studied at the Royal College Of Music before becoming a sought-after session musician, playing on a string of hit songs by Black Sabbath, Elton John, Cat Stevens and Bowie.

Watch his cover of The Beatles’ “Help”…

Rick Wakeman: Piano Portraits Track Listing

01. Help!
02. Stairway to Heaven
03. Life on Mars
04. I’m Not In Love
05. Wonderous Stories
06. Berceuse
07. Amazing Grace
08. Swan Lake
09. Morning Has Broken
10. Summertime
11. Space Oddity
12. Dance of the Damselflies
13. Clair de Lune
14. I Vow To Thee My Country
15. Eleanor Rigby

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