For those who are not familiar with Francesco Gazzara, a short introduction might be welcome. He is a film and TV composer since the late 90's.But he also made a name as one of the many artists who have paid tribute to the music of Genesis. Background Magazine already reviewed two of his Gazzara Plays Genesis albums. Namely Play Me My Song (2014, see review) and Here It Comes Again (2020, see review). Albums on which Francesco mainly used the acoustic piano to play the music of his heroes. And now he comes up with a musical tribute to one of the best Genesis albums ever made. Fifty years after the original release of Foxtrot here is the tribute version recorded by Gazzara Plays Genesis. This is the first Gazzara's tribute to a particular Genesis album, the second being Selling England By The Pound, scheduled for late 2023.
It's certainly a real pleasure to hear the six compositions which all get the Gazzara treatment. This means you still can hear which songs were done but they sound different compared to the original versions. Furthermore, none of the pieces of music feature any vocals and therefore the vocal lines are done by other instruments. Most of the time it's the piano replacing the vocal parts originally done by Peter Gabriel. The Gazzara treatment also means no rhythm section was used during the recordings of the tracks so no drums and bass which provided a strong beat or groove. Missing the vocals and rhythms in the music of Genesis might mean it's difficult to enjoy the bands complex music. Well that's certainly not the case on the six songs released on this fine tribute album. A fine tribute album which is unfortunately not completely newly recorded.
The compositions Watcher Of The Skies, Time Table and Horizons were already used on the album Play Me My Song. Supper's Ready could already be found on Here It Comes Again. Therefore only Get'Em Out By Friday and Can-Utility And The Coastliners are the only brand new pieces of music. So I will go only deeper into those tunes. For most of the other titles I would like you to read them on the reviews of the earlier mentioned two albums.
Get'Em Out By Friday is mainly done on the acoustic piano and Hammond organ. The parts played on the piano follow most of all the original vocal lines and the organ parts do most of the parts of the rest of the band. All in all a really great version. The same can be said about Can-Utility And The Coastliners. Here again the piano parts mostly follow all the original lead vocals. The organ sounds like the original parts done by Tony Banks. When the tempo in the song gets faster more keyboards are added and when the part comes on which Michael Rutherford rocks his bass it is Gazzara who handles this very well on his own bass guitar. Also the organ and acoustic guitar are very strongly copied, so bravo to this fine interpretation.
The full album reinterpretation of Foxtrot is very well done and a must for all Genesis fans. And when it comes in a lovely gatefold digifile CD card case, with artwork by Diego Damiani and original Genesis related paintings by Ugo Micheli there is isn't much to complain I guess.
My final words on my review of his previous Genesis tribute albums were: “Anybody who wants to hear the music of Genesis made during their best period in a different way, just can't afford to avoid this release. I had the same kind of musical pleasure listening to the songs as when I heard all of the original versions many years ago. So bravo to Francesco Gazzara for entertaining me with his interpretations of all those famous Genesis tunes!”. Well for this new release I can just copy the text to end this review. Sometimes it is that simple! Even though the music is far from simple in many ways. I guess another album that deserves a place next to all of my Genesis CDs! Thanks Francesco you did it again!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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