Swiss keyboard player Patrick Moraz is mainly known for his work with acts like Refugee, Yes and The Moody Blues. Between his activities for these bands, he could often be found in the company of several drummers and percussionists like the Brazilian Djalma Correa and Bill Bruford (ex-Yes). He has also released several solo albums that contain music ranging from progressive rock to fusion and from jazz-rock to electronic and classical music. The American drummer Greg Alban worked with musicians like Denny Laine (The Moody Blues, Wings) and Mike Pinera (Blues Image, Iron Butterfly), but eventually he chose for a permanent job as a financial advisor. Moraz and Alban have known each other for about thirty years. They thought it was time to seal this friendship by recording a duo album. This became MAP, an abbreviation of Moraz Alban Project.
They called the project a cosmic journey through the landscape of progressive rock, which is proved by the album cover that shows an image of the universe. The nine instrumental compositions show the true craftsmanship of these two musicians. They're both real masters on their instruments and they're able to improvise whenever it's needed. The musical style on MAP can be classified as a blend of jazz, rock and fusion. However, sometimes influences from progressive rock and Latin music can be noticed as well. Especially Moraz is enabled to show his talents on the keyboards throughout the album; Alban gets a solo spot on track five called The Drums Also Solo. Saxophone player Dave Vansuch gets a solo spot as well on Canyon Afternoon. Besides Vansuch, the duo is assisted by four other guest musicians: Lenny Castro (percussion), Matt Malley (Indian slide guitar), Patrick Perrier (bass) and John Avila (bass).
Summarizing you can say that the collaboration of Patrick Moraz and Greg Alban was rather successful. The 45 minutes of music they presented on MAP really worked for me personally. Of course, you must like keyboard orientated instrumental music. More than that, your musical taste must exceed the frontiers of progressive rock to like this album. If you like jazz-rock and fusion combined with Latin music and prog rock this release could be your cup of tea.
***+ Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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