It was november the 4th, 1969, when Genesis played their first ever concert as a semi-professional band, at the Brunel University, London, Middlesex. An historical and pivotal date, considering the future career of such a productive and succesful progressive rock act. 45 years later, in a rather simbolic date, a double orchestral album (digipack cd and gatefold vinyl formats on IRMA Records label) gets released, titled Play Me My Song (Gazzara Plays Genesis) and celebrating the famous group with a number of revisitations for piano and chamber orchestra arranged by italian pianist and composer Francesco Gazzara (GAZZARA, Hammond Express, The Piano Room).
It all started 12 months earlier with a Bösendorfer Gran Coda and a 36 hours long session at the Assunta Hall, inside Vatican City, when Gazzara selected 19 classic Genesis tracks (1970-1980 era) and made his dream come true recording them in such a magnificent studio hall, which hosted many soundtracks and symphonic sessions for the Vatican Radio since the 1950’s (Even Maestro Ennio Morricone recorded in there). But once his piano only trascriptions were all tracked, Francesco’s task was far from completed.
As in the most complex roman mosaics, where all tiles (or tesserae) have to fit perfectly to create a whole vision, he decided to write further arrangements for a small chamber orchestra – plus Hammond organ and Mellotron – integrating his earlier recordings. Moving away from the usual Genesis for piano formula, the project now included a strings trio (violin, viola, cello) and a winds/horns trio (flute, soprano sax, bass clarinet), building a sort of imaginary soundtrack where so many details of the original masterpieces – even some of the hidden ones, hard to hear without a pair of decent headphones – have been painstakingly brought up on the surface and assigned to other unusal instruments.
More than 12 months later Play Me My Song has been finally completed and Francesco Gazzara is already performing the whole tracklist live, with all bonus tracks, in chronological order, including Seven Stones / The Musical Box / Horizons / Watcher Of The Skies / Time Table / Dancing With The Moonlit Knight / Firth Of Fifth / After The Ordeal / The Cinema Show / The Chamber Of 32 Doors / The Lamia / Mad Man Moon / A Trick Of The Tail / One For The Vine / Blood On The Rooftops / Duke’s Travels / Duke’s End. Non only a piano recital, but a deep journey through oniric and cinematographic atmospheres, with a bit of english country thrown in the middle…
Stream it here.