Celebrating the Dragon - A Tribute to John Wetton

Posted: 010622

Review Erik Neuteboom                          

For me the late John Wetton is a genuine progrock legend, one of the most legendary. For his outstanding bass play, his wonderful, very distinctive voice, and his excellent writing skills. For the fact that he has joined so many great prog bands, from King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Roxy Music to UK and Asia. And he is also highly acclaimed as a solo artist, just look at the many hits he wrote.

Recently the Italian prog producer and musician Cristiano Roversi (known from Moongarden and The Watch, he wrote Face To Face with John Wetton, and performed during two live gigs with him) has gathered with a wide range of Italian prog bands and artists, in order to pay tribute to John Wetton, who sadly passed away early 2017. In addition to the Italian artists there are Andy Tillison of Tangent and Richard Palmer-James, friend and collaborator of Wetton, first in King Crimson and then together in several albums.

During my first listening session of this double CD I got more and more impressed by the varied and inspired vocal contributions, and the tasteful colouring of the songs, doing justice to the original atmosphere, but with lots of own musical ideas, and surprising twists and turns in some cases. These bands and artists succeed to get me into  a very pleasant ‘John Wetton mood’!

My highlights.

Rendevous 6:02 : The band A Life Long Journey delivers a tasteful and inventive arrangement with strong John Wetton-like vocals, interesting musical ideas (like the electronic touch and a funky synthesizer break), and a pleasant blend of Hackett inspired guitar and Mellotron choirs.

Starless by Alex Carpani contains howling guitar runs, soaring Mellotron violins and percussive keyboards, topped with wonderful Wetton-like vocals.

In the Dead Of Night from Tangent member Andy Tillison present awesome keyboard work, from a spectacular pitchbend driven Minimoog sound to a swirling Hammond organ solo.

Fallen Angel by Notturno Concertante pleasantly surprises with beautiful, pretty emotional female vocals and tender piano and violin, embellished with the distinctive flute traverse.

Caesar Palace Blues by Rosenkreutz starts with moving guitar runs, then powerful vocals, blended with a heavy guitar solo, sparkling violin and a spectacular synthesizer solo, wow!

Soul Survivor Cutting It Fine by Moongarden delivers intense violin work.

And Lament by Saro Cosentino features melancholical vocals, compelling classical orchestrations with a dark undertone, and in the second part distorted vocals, a very special and strong rendition.

Excellent vocal contributions in Crime Of Passion by Banda Belzoni Feat. Gazebo (powerful vocals and guitar), One Way Or Another by Blind Golem (slightly theatrical vocals and rock guitar), Arkangel by Davide Maran (very intense voice), The Night Watch by Germinale (strong vocals and moving electric guitar), Battle Lines by Mangala Vallis (electric piano sound, warm vocals and moving guitar solo), In The End by Richard Palmer James (melancholical vocals, also pretty emotional) and Una Volta Ancora (Time Again) by Sezione Frenante (strong Italian vocals, spectacular keyboard play and heavy guitar).

Highly recommended!