Keyboardist Rick Wakeman is about to release an album that he has always dreamed of doing, a full solo piano album that covers genres from rock to classical.
Piano Portraits will be released on January 13 via CD and digital download stores and on February 3 as a 2-vinyl LP set and it will include his solo piano version David Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars’.
Wakeman was the pianist on the Bowie original.
A new mix of Bowie’s version, featuring Wakeman’s piano brought up in the mix, was recently released on the Bowie compilation ‘Legacy’ album.
Bucking the trend of orchestral projects, Piano Portraits captures both the technical virtuosity and lightness of touch that have become trademarks of Wakeman’s playing since he first made a name for himself in the 1970s. Recorded at The Old Granary in South Norfolk, the 15-track collection ranges from landmark David Bowie hits Life on Mars, which Wakeman 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.
Wakeman said “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 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.”
The track list:
Stairway to Heaven
Life on Mars
I’m Not in Love
Morning Has Broken
Dance of the Damselflies
Clair de Lune
I Vow to Thee My Country