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Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 3, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

US version of his 2008 album includes one exclusive bonus track: 'The Barbarian' ( a reworking of the classic ELP track). Former ELP/Nice keyboardist and Prog Rock legend is joined on this album by guitarist vocalist Marc Bonilla. .Since the split of ELP, Emerson kept himself busy with soundtracks and live performances but he never returned with a proper band and a Rock set up to the sound that all his fans love. This new version of his band features an explosive combination of the classic EL&P sound and modern progressive hard rock. Emerson's keyboard is flamboyant and explosive more than ever and his songwriting is still top level. Gregg Bissonette (ex David Lee Roth Band and LA super session player) is also part of the band.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Ignition
  2. 1st Presence
  3. Last Horizon
  4. Miles Away, Pt. 1 (White Widow)
  5. Miles Away, Pt. 2 (Black Flame)
  6. Sonata
  7. Fugue
  8. Marche Train
  9. Blue Inferno
  10. 3rd Presence
  11. Prelude to Hope
  12. A Place to Hide
  13. Miles Away, Pt. 3 (Spirit Rising)
  14. Finale
  15. The Art of Falling Down
  16. Malambo
  17. Gametime
  18. The Parting
  19. The Barbarian [*]

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 3, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Varese Vintage
  • ASIN: B001LOR3JK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,161 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is an admirable return to form for a keyboard hero who seemed to have lost his creative path for many years (except for the import solo-piano album).
Though you miss the voice of You-Know-Who, new collaborator Marc Bonilla helps our old friend deliver the "retro prog" album we have been waiting for without the creative cross-purposes and confused efforts to be "commercial" or whatever was tearing things asunder in the "Love Beach" (and later, the even-sadder "In the Hot Seat" ) days.
That said, don't get your hopes up for a masterpiece or something that compares to the best ELP Work(s). Though the bulk of it is packaged as a conceptual suite based on the ghost story/legend "The House of Ocean Born Mary," the choppy transitions suggest a lot of it is just random bits cobbled together. Even the better stuff is nothing you haven't heard before, but that type of recycling is true of new albums from the Stones or just about any classic-rock survivors still making albums.
Bonilla has a decent enough John Wetton-style voice, albeit on the flat side, and interesting lyrics. And assuming he's the guy who took the lead and helped our ol' pal get one across the finish line, he's more respectful of what an Emerson album should sound like than the guy who kind of dominated a similar partnership with that "3" album in the '80s.
There's some modern synth programming here and there and a power-chord remake of "The Barbarian" as a "bonus" track at the end, but for the most part I think they went out of their way to make it as old-school Hammond-and-piano sounding as they could and to make up for lost time. They copy the old ELP formula so far as to include a honky-tonk joke song ("Gametime") and the requisite Ginastera instrumental blow-out, "Malambo" (the essential track for those buying a la carte).
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The greatest keyboardist on planet earth is back with a new disc that puts the prog back in rock! The Keith Emerson Band with guitarist vocalist Marc Bonilla along with bassist Bob Birch and Gregg Bissonette on percussion, help Keith finally break the ties with ELP. It's hard to think of Emerson in any band without associating him with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer his two former partners who helped change the face of rock music by liberating it from it's blues based origins. Emerson continues on the same path with this new band. Actually he's been playing with them for several years. I had a chance to see them live in 2006 at a small venue in Annapolis Maryland and it was one of the most exciting concerts that I've ever seen. I also had the good fortune to meet the man himself after the show, something that I never would have dreamed possible back in the 70's when ELP played the arenas. On this new disc Keith really delivers. If you like the hammond organ, he gives it to you, if you like the polyphonic moog fanfares, you got it, if you like his trademark muscular bartokian piano solos it's all here backed by the refreshingly crisp hard rock guitar runs of Bonilla and driven by the dependable rhythm team of Birch and Bissonette. Marc Bonilla's singing, a style another viewer here likened to John Whetton works very well in this particular band especially in the concept piece "The House of Ocean Born Mary"which takes up three quarters of the disc. A special treat is a re-visit of "The Barbarian" from ELP's first album. All in all a must have for fans of the great one and progressive rock.
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Format: Audio CD
Well, this album easily deserves a good 4 stars, but I happily gave it 5 merely for the fact that a dream of mine has come true.....
Considering Emerson's proven genius talent from ELP's prime years, anybody familiar with it had to be stupefied wondering why that unparalleled flame of innovation went out for the most part of 3 decades. (OK, the EL & POWELL record was a decent effort, but heck... that was 23 years ago itself. And I personally never cared for Black Moon & Hot Seat). You had be saying to yourself... "C'mon Keith... I KNOW you still have it IN you!"
Well, this is without doubt the best work by Keith Emerson since the premiere era of ELP's first 5 albums. I couldn't stop smiling my first time through it, and I still do. Thanks Keith... for now letting me relive a great time in my life, when we anxiously anticipated your every new creation.

I'll leave the album details to the other reviewers, but just add a couple thoughts:
Even during ELP's heyday, I had often hoped if their success had endured, that they might add a DEDICATED electric guitar (not just Lake switching back-and-forth). Actually I would often joke with friends that if they added Steve Howe to the band, they could be called H E L P. Ha!
But that configuration has finally come to be on this album. It's a spicy embellishment when Marc Bonilla's guitar joins the audio panorama. Keith still goes off on his own with intros & segues here and there, and that remains a good thing. I just like it when that refreshing smart guitar marrys the great keyboard sound(s).
And the rythmn section is hot! As someone else mentioned, you're gonna flip when you hear Malambo and the guitar-laced remake of The Barbarian.
Personally I find Bonilla's voice quite appealing and a good fit.
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