ELP Digest Vol. 27 #01 02 November 2017 The "Did it really happen then, or was it a dream?" Edition * incorporating the Keith Emerson Birithday Edition * and the "Remembering Greg Lake" Edition * and the "Remembering Tony Ortiz" Edition * and the ELP Digest 27th Birthday Edition This issue's headlines: * Remembering Keith Emerson * Remembering Greg Lake * Keith Emerson Estate authorized re-issue of "Emerson Plays Emerson" * Remembering John Wetton and Tony Ortiz
The sad year that started in early 2016 with the death of Keith Emerson carried into late 2016 and into 2017. I've been so busy that I've been remiss in keeping up with my ELP Digest obligations. I hope that you are all finding ways to get more timely ELP news from other sources.
Anyway... on with the show...
- John -
November 2 is Keith's birthday. Though he's not with us here on earth anymore, his spirit and his music remains. So, today especially, I'm taking a moment to remember Keith for the great person he was and for the music and musicianship he left us as his gift. Thanks, Keith...
Shortly after the last ELP Digest (Nov. 2016) as I was just starting to get into the spirit of the Advent and Christmas seasons, we heard that Greg Lake had died after a lengthy struggle with cancer. It put a damper on my Christmas spirit for a while but, especially when I heard "I Believe in Father Christmas" last year, I was reminded to be thankful for Greg's music and musicianship, too. So, on Greg's birthday, next week (Nov. 10 - which would have been his 70th birthday), I'll also pause and reflect on Greg and the music he left us.
Here are some of the statements made after Greg's death:
Carl Palmer: http://carlpalmer.com/MiscPages-2016/20161208-RememberingGregLake.php
Stewart Young (long-time ELP Manager): http://www.greglake.com/News/news_2016.html
And, in a piece of good news... Cherry Red Records has announced the re-release of the "Emerson Plays Emerson" album.
Here's the press release:
The Keith Emerson Estate announces the re-release of Emerson Plays Emerson on CD and Download. OUT NOW !
The Keith Emerson Estate is pleased to announce the re-release of the celebrated album of Keith Emerson keyboard (and rare) pieces, Emerson Plays Emerson, which has long been out of print and a collector's item.
The re-release uses a fresh transfer of the master tapes by Abbey Road, a 2017 remaster, and artwork from the original art files. The booklet contains the liner notes in English, Italian and German.
The re-release is the Estate's own imprint label Emersongs, via Cherry Red.
The members of Keith's family have personally overseen the preparation of this re-release and they are also preparing to approve a music transcriptions book of the album for release in early 2018. The family is focussed on celebrating and enhancing Keith Emerson's musical legacy and supporting projects which further the appreciation of his life's work...
Keith's eldest son, Aaron said of the release: "Since the passing of my father, we have been inundated with requests for a reissue of the album 'Emerson Plays Emerson'. This album was a labour of love for Dad, so we decided to go with the original artwork to stay as true to the original as possible as we understand how happy Dad was with it. I know he would be happy with this re-issue, so on behalf of myself, Jo and my boys, of Damon and his family, of my mother Elinor, and of my father's fiancé Mari, and with thanks to Daniel Earnshaw, Martin Darvill and Stewart Young for all their hard work, we hope you enjoy it!"
The album can be ordered via the below links:
Amazon CD: http://geni.us/EplaysE
Cherry Red: a href="https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/emerson-plays-emerson/" target="_blank">https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/emerson-plays-emerson/
The sad news from 2016 has also carried into 2017.
John Wetton - bass player and singer from King Crimson, UK, Asia and more - died in January 2017 after a battle with cancer.
And just this week - on Monday, October 30, 2017 - ELP's #1 fan and archivist, Tony Ortiz, died after a long battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). I was fortunate to have known Tony for a number of years and had some great adventures with him. We tagged along on a number of tours with Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy, we were able to get an "early listen" of the Keith Emerson Band album with Keith and Marc Bonilla at Marc's studio, hung out with Greg at a few stops of Greg's "Songs of a Lifetime" tour, and so much more.
Though I may have started the ELP Digest and helped keep fans in touch with all things ELP back in the early days of the internet (and throughout the glory days of the ELP Digest - before Facebook and all the other social media), Tony was undoubtedly *the* single person who did the most to promote, publicize, and document all things ELP in recent years. He was a tireless advocate for all things ELP and knew more about ELP than anyone I've ever met.
I was fortunate to be Tony's friend and was even more fortunate to spend a day with him last week just 5 days before he died. And, of course, we spent the day working on ELP stuff. I was helping him go through his ELP memorabilia and he kept me on my toes. While I tried to type up descriptions of some of his posters, etc., he'd quickly point out which were promo posters from Japan, which from the UK, and which from the US. Completely committed to ELP to the very end, we all owe Tony a debt of gratitude for keeping the ELP flame burning bright.
As just one small example of his dedication... Tony encouraged me to videotape the Ridgefield, CT show of Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy that I attended but he was unable to attend due to his health. He really wanted to document this year's "Emerson, Lake & Palmer Lives On!" tour. So, I taped it and got the show uploaded so Tony could see it. Little did I know (but I wasn't surprised), Tony not only watched it but had started editing it so he could put it up on his Carl Palmer YouTube channel.
So... after I spent the day with Tony last Wednesday, he spent time last Thursday and Friday editing another song from the show and posted what turned out to be his final video last Friday. It seems fitting that this last video was the song, Trilogy:
And on Monday evening, he was gone. I'm sure that Tony is having quite the reunion with Keith and Greg tonight.
Rock on, Tony! It was an honor to be your friend,
- John -
Here are some photos of Tony from the High Voltage Festival: ELP's final show (26 July 2010). And, of course, leave it to Tony to make sure that we got a fitting, final photo of ELP together - with Tony presenting them with a cake to commemorate the event.
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End of ELP Digest [Volume 27, Issue 01]