Don Airey: Keyed Up

Latest solo shot from the Deep Purple key-tickler.

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Deep Purple keyboardist Airey has made up for lost time these last six years. His trilogy of low-key but distinctly enjoyable solo discs went at last some way to cancelling out the two decades since he began going it alone, back in 1988 with the conceptual piece K2: Tales Of Triumph And Tragedy. Airey has pretty much stuck to a trusted core of musician friends since 2008 release A Light In The Sky, opting to record on the hop and clearly having inordinate amounts of fun in the process.

Once of Welsh NWOBHM band Persian Risk – and last seen accompanying Uli Jon Roth – vocalist Carl Sentance has a powerful delivery that befits the gutsy hard rock of the opener here, 3 In The Morning. But his voice is flexible enough to handle the album’s twists and turns.

Airey revisits Dave Brubeck’s sublime jazz instrumental Blue Rondo À La Turk. It’s a piece Airey first performed on the radio as a 14-year-old, and one of the final recordings made by the late Gary Moore, Airey’s bandmate in Colosseum II. Here the tune is carefully sculpted into the three-part Mini Suite, the first of which also reunites him with ex-Rainbow colleague Graham Bonnet on vocals.

Maybe this solid, starry album can only occasionally be categorised as prog in the purest sense, but be that as it may, its musicianly credentials are irrefutable.