THE TOP 50

Prog - - Intro - – Robin Helsey

12

KERRY MIN­N­EAR

al­though he per­formed with the reapers in the 1980s,

Kerry min­ner re­mains syn­ony­mous with one band: Gen­tle Gi­ant. al­though ev­ery mem­ber of the band bar drum­mer mal­colm mor­ti­more was a multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist, only min­n­ear played key­boards, al­though he also played cello, vi­bra­phone xy­lo­phone, recorder, gui­tar, bass and drums. not to men­tion that he also sang, too. among a list of prodi­giously ta­lented mu­si­cians, min­n­ear’s achieve­ments stand proud. as the only key­board­play­ing mem­ber of one of the most mu­si­cally in­tri­cate of all pro­gres­sive bands, it’s lit­tle won­der he rates so highly in this list.

You say: “the most melodic, con­tra­pun­tal, or­ches­tral and pos­si­bly least rock’n’roll key­boardist in prog. he was a ge­nius – just lis­ten to

Cogs in Cogs or so sin­cere. he’s also a won­der­ful writer and singer on tunes like as­pi­ra­tions and think of me with Kind­ness. oh, for God’s sake, he’s a cel­list too!”

11

VAN­GE­LIS

it’s not so much where you start with eván­ge­los odysséas Pa­p­athanassíou, more where when do you stop. aphrodite’s Child? heaven and hell? Char­i­ots of fire?

Jon and Van­ge­lis? Blade run­ner? his list of achieve­ments as a key­boardist, pi­anist, syn­the­siser player, com­poser and more is seem­ingly end­less. it has cer­tainly been a stun­ning ca­reer for the 75-year-old Greek mu­si­cian, yet it is also one that shows no signs of abat­ing – his most re­cent stu­dio al­bum, 2016’s rosetta, is a fine piece of work, in­spired by the space ex­plo­ration of the eu­ro­pean space agency. he also com­posed the mu­sic for Pro­fes­sor stephen hawk­ing’s me­mo­rial, which was the mu­sic played over hawk­ing’s own words as his ashes were in­terred at west­min­ster abbey. how fit­ting.

You say: “the Greek key­board god. not strictly prog, but pro­gres­sive. one of the all-time best. he de­serves to be on this list.” – Tony Shore

10

JON LORD

Per­haps the odd man out on this list, but a fan­tas­tic key­board player nonethe­less. deep Pur­ple were un­equiv­o­cally heavy rock, but lord’s early solo al­bums like Gemini suite and sara­bande showed pro­gres­sive in­cli­na­tions. equally he was the man be­hind Con­certo for Group and or­ches­tra, which is pretty darn prog too. Great friends with rick wake­man and Keith emer­son, lord would do deep Pur­ple’s on stage in­tro­duc­tions, often fin­ish­ing with the line, “and i’m rick emer­son!”

You Say: “sim­ply the power and unique sound of the ‘pur­ple’ or­gan that could com­pli­ment or ‘com­bat’ the gui­tar head on, and the clas­si­cal back­ground.” – Doug Up­ton

9

DEREK SHERINIAN

he’d al­ready worked with Buddy miles, alice Cooper and Kiss be­fore he re­placed Kevin moore in dream the­ater, with whom he spent five years. he’s since worked with the likes of Billy idol, yn­g­wie malm­steen, steve lukather and al­lan holdsworth, as well as form­ing Black Coun­try Com­mu­nion with Joe Bona­massa, Glenn hughes and Ja­son Bon­ham. he also re­cently re­united with his old dream the­ater pal mike Port­noy for the prog su­per­group sons of apollo.

You Say: “in terms of ag­gres­sive, in-your-face rock key­boardists, it is hard to find a stronger player who is more fun to watch live. he’s played with every­one and with good rea­son, but i like his solo stuff the best per­son­ally. it’s so over-the-top it makes me gig­gle.”

– Pec­knotes Pro­duc­tions

8

GE­OFF DOWNES

hav­ing met trevor horn while au­di­tion­ing for tina Charles’ back­ing band, downes rose to promi­nence in the Bug­gles, whose Video Killed the ra­dio star was fa­mously the first song played on mtV. the pair joined yes for their 1980 drama al­bum and tour, be­fore downes hooked up with John wet­ton, steve howe and Carl Palmer to form the ini­tially suc­cess­ful asia. also a renowned pro­ducer who has worked with the likes of Greg lake and mike old­field, downes re­turned to yes in 2011, as well as re­main­ing a mem­ber of asia.

You Say: “i doubt many read­ers will in­clude Ge­off in their lists, as most peo­ple think of the mile-a-minute vir­tu­osos or flam­boy­ant per­son­al­i­ties. Ge­off is al­ways near the top of my list be­cause he’s an ex­cel­lent or­ches­tra­tor, often say­ing more with fewer but the best-fit­ting notes. a mas­ter­ful tech­ni­cian and sound de­signer and a heck of a nice guy!” – Brian O’Sul­li­van

7

PA­TRICK MO­RAZ

al­though early in his ca­reer the young swiss-born key­board player had worked with stéphane Grap­pelli and toured with John Coltrane, it was as a mem­ber of the prog rock band refugee, along­side for­mer nice mem­bers lee Jack­son and Brian dav­i­son, that mo­raz rose to promi­nence. he was plucked from refugee to re­place rick wake­man in yes, with whom he recorded re­layer, but was out of the band prior to wake­man’s re­turn for Go­ing for the one. he then joined the moody Blues with whom he played be­tween 1978 and 1991 be­fore main­tain­ing an im­pres­sive solo ca­reer.

You Say: “tech­ni­cally great, and af­ter a crack­ing al­bum with the band rufugee, which had some ter­rific mu­sic and ideas, he stepped into the light with yes and the al­bum re­layer. though short-lived in the prog world, mo­raz left us with a great al­bum, the cen­tre piece be­ing the won­der­ful Gates of delir­ium.”

– Mike Staggs

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