Rachel Flowers

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“Listen” reviewed on Progwereld

Rachel Flowers, not a name that evoked recognition here at the editorial board. A reader pointed us to the existence of this young lady and that quickly led to watching countless YouTube videos on which she performs symphonic classics. Flowers behind Keith Emerson’s modular Moog, Flowers on stage with Dweezil Zappa and Flowers playing at various Keith Emerson-tribute concerts. With that we have also immediately mentioned her musical mentor and that musical connection in itself justifies a place on this site.

Listen” is the debut album of the multi-instrumentalist from California and contains only original compositions. Contrary to what previous references may suggest, Flowers is especially trained as a jazz musician, but on this album we find a wide range of musical styles. Sometimes we are presented with classical piano pieces (Memories Of You, Conversations), more often it refers more to the jazz fusion world of artists like Jeff Beck and Pat Metheny, such as Dawn Points, Run For Miles, and Aloha Part 2, all three highlights by the way. Goes To Eleven sounds like a mix of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and aforementioned jazz influences and opener Greg’s Favorite even contains a progrification in the name, it was the composition that appealed to Greg Lake the most.

Rachel Flowers has a thorough musical education and plays all instruments on the album herself, although it must be said that some instruments are sometimes sampled. In this respect, the dominant part is the keyboard parts, while in some songs there is also a lot of room for the flute. However, do not expect ‘over the top’ keyboard flings, where mentor Emerson sometimes prided himself on. Her playing is generally modest and it is mainly the total picture that impresses.

It is yet a mystery to me why “Listen” has generated relatively little attention. Partly because of the aforementioned YouTube clips and tribute concerts, Flowers has already generated some attention and the documentary that was made about her, “Hearing Is Believing“, has reportedly also had some degree of success. The waiting is therefore a real breakthrough, because the talent is clearly present, both in the compositions and in her performance!

Wouter Brunner


Original review on http://www.progwereld.org. Translated from Dutch.

1 comment

  1. Glad to see a review of this album.

    It is a little hard to classify Rachel’s compositions because stylistically they’re pretty diverse – part film music, part jazz, part contemporary piano, etc. I don’t quite know really how to categorize her sound but it is all good.

    I have written about Rachel over at progarchives.com where her biggest fans are undoubtedly greying progheads but thats based on her covers, not her original compositions. Certainly, “Listen” is probably not going to appeal greatly to proggers, especially the younger ones. its unfortunate, but how else do you market this? I love the album. I just don’t know where you’d find fans. As contemporary jazz, because of the Pat Metheny connection and tribute to Miles, that might be one place to start. Now that Keith Emerson and Greg Lake has passed away, I really wish another established superstar would take her under his wing and give this genius the boost that she deserves. Pat Metheny would be an ideal person, IMHO, but so far I don’t know if he even knows she exists. But with that, the sky is the limit for her.

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