Emerson Lake & Palmer
By David Glenn Cox
At 15 Emerson Lake & Palmer were it for me. I was amazed by the musical prowess and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of music. It also opened my eyes to new words and ideas, “The Iconoclast” and The Three Fates – “Clotho, Lachesis” & “Atropos.” One spins the web of your life the next decides the length and the third cuts the thread. Heady stuff at 15. Why can’t they teach school like this?
I saw an interview where Keith described playing his 10/8 masterpiece Tarkus for the first time for Greg Lake. Lake said, “Save that one for your solo album mate!” Carl Palmer being Carl Palmer loved it, so Lake was outvoted, and the world was given a masterpiece. We lost Keith and Greg too soon. Keith after operations on his hands had declining ability to play and took his life. Imagine, you’re Keith Emerson and you can no longer play. His life was music and he gave us all he had. Greg’s intense lyrics and the ability to write with and perform with the haunting silkiness of his voice were amazing.
Their music is not “Oldies” music, it is alive and vibrant. These are now considered “Classical” pieces performed by orchestras around the world. Pianist’s use Keith Emerson as audition pieces to get into music schools. But there is something else you need to know about Keith Emerson. Keith saw you tube videos of a young blind girl playing his music. He mentored the seventeen-year-old and encouraged her. He sent his Moog Synthesizer to her house and let her play it while he was not on tour. The young woman is blind, so Keith sent a tech along to teach her how to operate it.
Imagine, Keith Emerson sends you his Moog, it’s like Jimi Hendrix sending you his guitar.
The young lady is Rachael Flowers and she is indeed a prodigy. Keyboards, Guitar, Flute and Ukulele if she wanted to, she could play anything. She was inspired by Keith at the age of nine or ten and by sixteen, she could play respectable covers of ElP’s music, but now she is all grown up and Keith’s music lives and breathes through her fingers. Even if you don’t like the music it brings tears to your eyes just to watch someone this gifted play. As a musician myself, Rachael teaches me that I’m no musician. I have no concept of music when compared to Rachael. She understands it on a completely different plain that most mortals will never know about and will never gain entrance too.
In many ways watching other musicians play the works of Emerson Lake & Palmer brings a new appreciation for their music. Now without the bombast of Rock & Roll we see the complexities of the music and the delicate integration of three musicians who changed the musical world. They didn’t just play it, they wrote it and performed it exposing a generation to classical, jazz and contemporary music and forty years on it is still relevant. Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.
Ladies and Gentlemen prepare yourself for Ms. Rachael Flowers.
and one more…