Rachel Flowers in KEYBOARD Magazine
“KEITH NOEL EMERSON, 1944-2016”
by Jerry Korvasky – May 19, 2016
RACHEL FLOWERS – “I first heard Keith’s music at a friend’s house when I was nine; it was a Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer compilation. When I heard the synthesizer section of ‘Trilogy’ I thought, ‘What’s that instrument?’ Then I went back to the earlier piano section of the tune and really liked the piano parts. I related it back to my classical studies, like Rachmaninoff, and thought it was really cool how Keith brought that type of harmony, movement and expression to rock music. I started learning his music from that point on. He expanded the role of the organ in rock music—at times like a pipe organ, other times jazzy and then really aggressive. I really enjoy playing his music and I’m going to keep on playing it and share it with many more people.”
Her Mom adds: “She used to play ELP music at home all the time, but she also was involved in flute recitals. They always had a good piano, which Rachel would want to play afterwards, so she started giving mini-ELP concerts after the recitals! She was really enjoying playing the music so we decided to try filming a few clips and putting them on YouTube to share his music and see what happened. We got an immediate and overwhelming response.”
Rachel: “People really enjoyed it, it was fun to do: I love playing his music. I like the fact that there are some sections where he would improvise, and I went back to many live recordings to see what he did with those sections. And then, while searching around YouTube, I found a recording of Keith doing Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, which I always liked, and that led me to discover The Nice. I learned ‘Rondo’ from their version. I liked the jazzier aspect of that group—part psychedelic, part jazz.
Her mother recounts first meeting Keith: “In 2013 Rachel was at a flute competition, and our friend Paul Mouradjian kept texting me saying Keith was going to be at the Typhoon restaurant conducting the Orchestra Surreal. He said we had to get down there. So we did, and we walked up the couple of flights of stairs, came around a turn and there was Keith coming out the door. He looked at us and said…”
(Rachel takes over, doing a spot-on imitation), “’I know you: Well hello, Rachel.’ I knew his voice from listening to the Beyond The Beginning DVD. It was so exciting meeting him. We talked about jazz singers, with their fast vibrato, and he told me about a cut he was working on for a Doors tribute CD. He signed and gave me the baton he used conducting that night. We got to visit again at NAMM a few years later at a Hammond organ event. That was fun, but it was loud!!”