Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
A concept album with a sense of fun!
on August 21, 2000
"Jabberwocky" is the first collaboration between keyboard greats Clive Nolan (Pendragon, Shadowland, Strangers On A Train, Arena), and Oliver Wakeman (solo artist, and son of Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman). It is a concept album, based on Lewis Carroll's humorous poem of the same name. As you may have guessed, the album, for the most part, falls mainly in the progressive rock vein, with Nolan & Wakeman's keyboards being the main featured instruments. These two sound as if they were having a great deal of fun trading solos back and forth, and backing each other up when neccessary. The album is most easily comparable to the concept albums of Oliver's dad, Rick Wakeman. Like some of Rick's most well-respected albums, "Journey To the Center of the Earth" and "Myths & Legends of King Arthur" to name two, this album features a storyline with spoken narration, choral backing vocals, and music heavy on classical flourishes and orchestration (although, much to their credit, Clive and Oliver create their full-orchestra sound with just their keyboards and backing band!). There are also a few moments of good straight-forward rock, and they help to add a sense of variety to the album. The other musicians participating on "Jabberwocky" are a virtual "who's who" of the current (and past) progressive rock scene. Playing the 'voice roles' of "The Girl" and "The Boy" respectively; lead vocals are provided mainly by the dynamic Tracy Hitchings (Landmarq, Strangers On A Train) and gravel-throated Bob Catley (Magnum), who sounds strikingly similar to Rick Wakeman's vocalist of choice, Ashley Holt! Paul Allison plays "The Tree" (with a soft-edged midrange voice reminicent of Camel's Colin Bass), and James Plumridge lends a touch of theater and 'English humor' in the part of "The Jabberwock". The band includes guitarist Peter Banks (ex-Yes), drummer Tony Fernandez (Rick Wakeman) and bassist Peter Gee (Pendragon). Oliver's dad, Rick, even puts in an apperance as the spoken-word narrattor! Some standout tracks include "Overture" (with some awesome keyboard work from both Clive & Oliver!), "Coming to Town" (an intense rock-piece with gritty vocals from Catley, and some dizzying lead synth work), "Dangerous World" (a stirring, emotional ballad sung to perfection by Tracy Hitchings), and "Dancing Water" (a track that starts out lush and atmospheric, then builds into an intense progressive rock anthem with "counterpoint" vocal parts from Hitchings and Catley) All in all, this is a fine album, especially the tracks that heavily feature Ms. Hitchings, who just lights up these songs with her creative vocal touches. If you are a fan of rock concept pieces, or any of the musicians involved here, then this CD is well worth your money!