There’s still, patently, an appetite to break new ground. But where did his original inspiration come from? “Where bands like Led Zeppelin and the Yardbirds were influenced by US blues, my roots go back to European music – classical and jazz. Music from people like Vaughn Williams, Shostakovich, Dave Brubeck.’Hopefully we may look forward to more.
Aaron Copland was another influence and it’s interesting to note that not only did the American composer give Emerson one of the biggest hits of his career – 'Fanfare to the Common Man’ – but also the name of one of his sons. It makes a neat loop in the fabric of time that that son is also a musician!
“Yes, what we were doing was groundbreaking at the time – using mixed media, fusing different styles of music, using orchestras. We’d also do some mad things – like bringing in bag pipes.”
Revolutionary stuff. But has it become harder or easier to experiment does he think?” We’ve seen a decline in the power of record companies,” he says, “in that it was harder to get a demo made and then recorded. Now you can record it all yourself and even use the web to release it. I produced the latest album – and then went out and got a record deal.”
Perhaps it’s that ability to innovate without worrying about record company executives that makes his new album so refreshing. Certainly, Keith Emerson’s new collaboration with Marc Bonilla is a worthy addition to the discography of one of the leading keyboard players of the last 50 years.
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