25 May 2004

New CD by Tony Banks

Groovy. Tony Banks, the keyboard player from Genesis, has a new CD of orchestral music called Seven: Suite for Orchestra.

Amazon gives us five, minute-long clips to help make a decision.

The problem is: I've heard several songs from his solo pop stuff and they were very mediocre. Those songs were from The Fugutive, which is often regarded poorly. I may need to get A Curious Feeling. He's responsible for some of the best music that Genesis had written, so I hate to dismiss his solo work.

The crossover approach is tough though. Mostly it's done to gain some kind of historical legitimacy ("oh, and he's a classical composer too"), and that can fall embarrasingly flat. Paul McCartney should be strung up. Other times, it becomes a hybrid that works well. Elvis Costello's The Juliet Letters was more Motown than classical, even though it was arranged with string quartet.

We've been barraged with dozens of symphonic "... performs the music of ..." over the past couple of years. And string quartet tributes abound. A notable exception to what appears to be a string-quartet-only formula is Christopher O'Riley's labor of love True Love Waits: Christopher O'Riley Plays Radiohead. I have mixed feelings about his overly-romantic performance (Radiohead seems like they need more of a Bartok arrangement to me), but he still gets high marks for the effort.

So, what to make of the Tony Banks music? Well, for $6.98, it's probably worth a listen. The excerpts sound like watered-down Walter Piston, but Banks's skill with form is best appreciated in context.

[ posted by sstrader on 25 May 2004 at 12:07:03 PM in Music ]