Don Airey - 'Keyed Up'

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Don Airey - 'Keyed Up'
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It's the most accomplished of  Don Airey's solo collections to date.

It's hard to believe, but journeyman keyboard player Don Airey has been at the helm of the famous Hammond organ in Deep Purple now for 12 years. Prior to joining Purple, he had played with a "Who's-Who" in Rock music, contributing to work from the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, Whitesnake and Gary Moore to name just a few. Finally settled in Purple, he has found more time to put out solo albums, with 'Keyed Up' following 2011's 'All Out' and marking his fourth solo venture.

Striking up a friendship and a strong writing partnership with the skilled vocalist Carl Sentance, Airey once again employs the singer to deliver Rockers such as '3 In The Morning' and 'Beat The Retreat'. The band features several returning musicians from '...Out', with Laurence Cottle on bass, Darrin Mooney on drums and six stringer Rob Harris, who puts his Funk leanings with Jamiroquai to one side and delivers a sizzling Rock guitar performance.The album was cut mostly live in the studio so the Rockers have a gritty, real quality to them. Airey's albums always have a variety and this one is no different, with 'Blue Rondo A La Turk' showing his dexterous fingers at their best. Also well worth checking out is Airey's new version of Rainbow's classic 'Difficult To Cure' piece, which maintains much of the original, with the addition of Beethoven's fugue in the middle. It features a show stopping effort from Harris on guitar.There are some special guests on the album as well, with ex-Rainbow vocalist Graham Bonnet stopping by to deliver an excellent understated vocal on the album's centre-piece, the 'Mini Suite' which rounds things off. Inspired by Gary Moore, the suite actually features Moore's last ever recorded performance before he passed away.Those elements alone make the album worth investigating and I'm sure existing fans or Airey, Rainbow or Deep Purple will find plenty here to interest them. For me, it's the most accomplished of Don Airey's solo collections to date.

James Gaden

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