Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy 



This is a live performance CD and DVD set,with a twist on the ELP songbook and more – and helmed by none other than drummer Carl Palmer! The shows are from Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, New York for the CD and the Olympia Theater in Miami for the later DVD performance. Pleasingly, the setlists differ so there is some selection duplication disc to disc but not too much. Carl dedicates the release to Lake and Emerson saying “Always remembered, never forgotten “.

So it’s back to November 2014 then for the audio set and drummer Palmer plus bassist Simon Fitzpatrick are joined by guitar ace Paul Bielayowicz. Yes, guitar not keys, so this will not duplicate the original ELP trio sound which was keyboard-based. A clever strategy and all credit to Carl.

Rondeau Des Indes Galantes/Ride Of The Valkyries starts with helicopter sounds whirring around and then those pounding drums, steady bass notes and curling electric guitar motifs start to spin. It’s dramatic and exciting. Drummers will be upping the volume control! The waspish guitar runs are quite hypnotic. At @ 2:30 an almost Brubeck time signature kicks in as the band play with the melody and trip into lighter passages. A showbiz ending and we are off into the familiar classical riffing of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. The trio wring every dynamic element they can out of each swerve of the tunes and the recording of the drumkit in particular is exemplary. All probably a bit too prog for this listener, but skill is skill and this ensemble are putting their dexterity to good use for what they attempt.

Mars, The God Of War is the familiar Holst composition, from The Planets Suite and made here to sound truly ominous and scary. The guitar hits the archetypal prog snarly tone and Palmer sounds like an evil robotic machine. Next up reminds us of King Crimson, the early po-faced group that upped everyone’s game when their first album was put out. This as the music segues into 21st Century Schizoid Man. Then. hear that splash cymbal! It’s Tarkus! the tricky insistent squealing riffing sounds as though it will crush all in its path. The guitar tone pierces and the nimble bass runs every which way, all held together by Palmer’s grip on the changes. For me it’s unsettling and I never could relax into it, but this is a fine way to savour the suite. As a young club-visitor I used to see The Nice when they had lost guitar man Davy and became a trio, so hearing the West Side Story tune America really takes me back ! Emerson used to sling the organ around and throw knives into it. They never did guest on the Val Doonican TV show..

Knife Edge rocks out, with exuberant stickwork and is easily my favourite on this disc. It is utterly brilliant and emphatic. Quite a triumph. The set closes with a briefer take on Trilogy and haunting it is, delicate to start with and must surely have influenced Rush? Lovely bass tone and measured phrasing here. The instruments have a shadowy dance before the well-tuned kit takes a seasoned beating. The quality of the recording adds to the pleasure of earing this, it must be said.

A Tribute To Keith Emerson is the subtitle of the 2016 dvd included here and guests appear, namely Steve Hackett, Mark Stein and David Frangioni. I’ll let the purchaser discover the delights of the film for himself or herself, but the tracks are Introduction, Peter Gunn, Karn Evil 9, The Barbarian, Bitches Crystal, Jerusalem, Romeo & Juliet, 21st Century Schizoid Man, Clair De Lune, Knife Edge, Hoedown, Take A Pebble, Carmina Burana, Pictures At An Exhibition. Fanfare For The Common Man and Nutrocker. There is also some behind the scenes footage from The Tribute.

It’s a bunch of Christmas Days for prog afficianados, folks. Kudos to Palmer for bravery and a unique purposefulness on display here.

Pete Sargeant


(Thanks go to Stuart)

Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy 'Live' is out now on BMG.

You can purchase the release here:

For more information visit his official website here:

In addition, Carl Palmer's ELP Legcacy will embark on a 2018 World tour with three shows in the UK. The tour will stop at the following:

Carl Palmer


Thursday 2nd August 2018 - Under The Bridge, London, United Kingdom

Friday 3rd August 2018 - Trading Boundaries, Fletching, United Kingdom

Saturday 4th August 2018 - A New Day Festival, Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom