Rick Wakeman

The Classical Connection, Vol. 2

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Like the first Classical Connection album, this one is designed to highlight the classical side of Wakeman's playing -- the cover of "Eleanor Rigby" is "arranged in the style of Rick's 'hero composer' Prokofiev," according to the liner notes. Unlike its predecessor, this album features synthesizers as well as piano, and covers and new compositions along with re-recordings of Wakeman's older pieces. Fans will want this for the vintage track "Farandol," recorded during the Six Wives of Henry VIII sessions with Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Bill Bruford. There are a couple of good new piano pieces as well. But this is not one of Wakeman's stronger albums; as with the first Classical Connection, the playing is not always top-notch. The electronics sometimes seem intrusive in this context, and regarding the re-recordings here, the originals were better.

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