Don Airey - A Light In The Sky

(CD 2008, 60:40, Mascot Records M 7235 2)

The tracks:
  1- Big Bang
  2- Ripples in the Fabric of Time
  3- Shooting Star
  4- Space Troll Patrol
  5- Andromeda M31
  6- Endless Night
  7- Rocket to the Moon
  8- Lift Off
  9- Love You Too Much
10- Cartwheel
11- Sombrero
12- Into Orbit
13- A Light in the Sky
14- Pale Blue Dot
15- Metallicity
16- Big Crunch
17- Till the End

Don Airey Website                Mascot Records

A Light In The Sky is Don Airey's second solo album after the highly acclaimed debut album K2, Tales Of Triumph And Tragedy (1988). His second album was recommended to me by a friend with whom I share a love for vintage keyboards. I have always been a fan of Don Airey who once joined symphonic jazz-rock formation Colosseum II, but also Ritchie Blackmoreís Rainbow. He was a guest musician on the interesting progressive solo albums of Cozy Powell and nowadays, as a successor for Jon Lord, heís the respected keyboard player of Deep Purple
During my first listening session I quickly concluded that my friendís recommendation was valid. What an exciting and varied album featuring mind-blowing work on the Hammond- organ and the grand piano! As a huge fan of the very distinctive Hammond-organ sound, I was blown away by the way Don Airey let his Hammond moan, groan and scream during swirling solos in Ripples In The Fabric Of Time, Space Troll Patrol, Endless Night and A Light In The Sky, part 2. However, he also gets a big hand for his magnificent playing on the grand piano in Love You Too Much, a wonderful ballad with warm vocals. Sombrero M104 features sparkling piano with flamenco hints and in Into Orbit we hear a swirling duet with a violin. Lost In The End Of Time is the strongly build-up final song with beautiful interplay between electric guitar and a melancholic violin. The great variety on this record is almost proverbial: Rainbow -like heavy prog with powerful vocals in Shooting Star, a Hammond-sound like Jon Lord has and a flashy MiniMoog synthesizer solo with pitch-bend. A Light In The Sky, part 2 is rockabilly in the vein of The Strays Cats. A lot of Hammond-organ in Rocket To The Moon, fiery guitar with a jazzy Fender Rhodes electric piano in Big Crunch and ambient keyboard sounds in several short songs like Big Bang, Lift Off and Metallicity.

Especially during the twelve instrumental tracks, Don Airey showcases his impressive skills on a wide range of keyboards. A Light In The Sky is an exciting, well-balanced and very progressive rock album!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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