On October 13, 2023, exactly 50 years after Genesis released their masterpiece Selling England By The Pound, the Italian composer and musician Francesco Gazzara comes up with an album with the same name. It's the new Gazzara Plays Genesis tribute album. Just like he did last year with Foxtrot (see review). Released fifty years after the original release of Foxtrot.
The Gazzara Plays Genesis latest tribute album is again a must have album for all lovers of early Genesis compositions. The album comes in a lovely gatefold digifile CD card case, with artwork by Diego Damiani and original paintings by Ugo Micheli. All of course very Genesis related. Gazzara says that his instrumental piano/orchestral version is only a humble tribute to such beautiful music written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford. And therefore he says thank you Genesis!
Just as on his tribute to Foxtrot some of the songs on Selling England By The Pound already appeared on two of his earlier released Gazzara Plays Genesis albums. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) can be found on Here It Comes Again (2020, see review). And on the first Gazzara Plays Genesis album Play Me My Song (2014, see review) you could already enjoy four compositions. Namely Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, Firth Of Fifth, After The Ordeal and The Cinema Show. More Fool Me, The Battle Of Epping Forest and Aisle Of Plenty are the newly recorded versions.
It's again certainly a real pleasure to hear the eight compositions which all get again all the Gazzara treatments. This means you still can hear which songs were done but they sound different compared to the original versions. Furthermore, none of the pieces of music feature any vocals and therefore the vocal lines are done by other instruments. Most of the time it's the piano replacing the vocal parts originally done by Peter Gabriel. The Gazzara treatment also means no rhythm section was used during the recordings of the tracks so no drums and hardly any bass which provided a strong beat or groove. Missing the vocals and rhythms in the music of Genesis might mean it's difficult to enjoy the bands complex music. Well that's certainly not the case on the eight songs released on this fine tribute album.
The brand new pieces of music recorded for this album are of course the most interesting of all. Don't get me wrong. All of the other tracks are also worth listening by all means. But I will not review them, only the new recordings. So I will go only deeper into those tunes. For most of the other titles I would like you to read them on the reviews of the earlier mentioned two albums.
More Fool Me is a beautiful Fender Rhodes electric piano version. Of course the most interest goes to his version of The Battle Of Epping Forest. The synthesizer solo's and organ parts are perfectly copied and a real pleasure to listen to. Also the Mellotron and flute parts sound perfect. Aisle Of Plenty ends this beautiful tribute album. During the one and a half minute of music you can hear Francesco play on the Fender Rhodes, organ, Mellotron and acoustic guitar. Doing a perfect copy of the original version. And ends the album in a excellent way, just as Genesis did on the original album. Only fifty years later.
My final words on my reviews of his previous Genesis tribute albums were: “Anybody who wants to hear the music of Genesis made during their best period in a different way, just can't afford to avoid this release. I had the same kind of musical pleasure listening to the songs as when I heard all of the original versions many years ago. So bravo to Francesco Gazzara for entertaining me with his interpretations of all those famous Genesis tunes!”. Well for this new release I can just copy the text to end this review. Sometimes it is that simple! Even though the music is far from simple in many ways. I guess another album that deserves a place next to all of my Genesis CDs! Thanks Francesco you did it again!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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