Album review: DON AIREY – Keyed Up

Interview edit: Don Airey 19 January 2014
The full interview will be broadcast on Sunday 2 February at 18:00

Don Airey - Keyed Up

Mascot  [Release date 17.02.14]

Virtuoso and legendary keyboard player (and all round nice guy) Don has played with pretty much everyone worth playing with, and is currently touring with Deep Purple.  This new solo album  (his fourth) draws from a range of influences from his past.

And while he has a solid band, there are a few notable guests, which includes one of the last pieces of work by the late Gary Moore.

The album opens with ’3 In The Morning’, with some more than decent guitar work and some searing vocals from Carl Sentance.  ‘Beat The Retreat’ is a slower chunkier number.

Then there’s the jazzy and equally progressive ‘Blue Rondo A La Turk’ (the track Don played on his first radio performance, aged 14, and what The Nice’s ‘Rondo’ was based around).

Don’s keyboards stand out here, and work well with the rhythms from bassist Laurence Cottle and drummer Darrin Mooney. ‘Solomon’s Song’ starts slowly and builds well, another solid number.

The album mixes jazz, rock and blues, and some instrumental passages allow some rightly deserved self-indulgence from Don; whether intricate playing or use of effects, it’s all enjoyable.

One of the highlights of the album is a remake of Rainbow’s ‘Difficult To Cure’; while it lacks Blackmore’s finesse the guitar sounds fantastic and Don’s keyboards are bright. The programmed orchestral break is a good touch too.

‘Mini Suite’ sees some good guitar interplay, before switching to piano.  There are touches of Gary Moore here, and more on ‘Adagio’, here his guitar work stands out.  Other guests include Graham Bonnet, Simon McBride, Alex Meadows and Tim Goodyear.

I’ve always loved Don’s work and this is no different.  ****

Review by Joe Geesin





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