Thursday, March 4, 2010
Danny Brill and the "Golden Age" of Prog Rock
Originally posted on November 13, 2008
I once was hanging out at a used record store not far from the Iron Building in downtown NYC. (The store was a great place for obscure bargains, probably gone now.) I overheard a conversation that sticks with me today (this was around 18 years ago). The salesman was trying to interest a customer in an RCA recording of the Golden Age of Opera (a reissue of opera 78s by famous stars of the Met in the ‘20s and ‘30s). “Golden Age?” the customer responded. “When anyone starts talking about the ‘golden age’ of anything I start getting suspicious.” He didn’t buy the record and we all went on our way in life but he had a point. There is no golden age. Every moment is a golden age if you are alive, no matter how tarnished that gold seems. Because it’s YOUR life.
So when I tell you that the CD for today will appeal to anyone who likes the “Golden Age” of Progressive Rock (1968-73, I guess), I do it with all the qualifications above. Yet I am serious. This is a tiny release by Danny Brill on his Danny Brill label and it is appropriately titled Better Late Than Never. He’s a guy who saw Emerson, Lake and Palmer at the Fillmore East in 1971 and was entirely entranced with that sound. He kept on playing keyboards, now more in the ELP style (along with influences like Yes, Gentle Giant, and etc.), but eventually gave it up to form a musical instrument rental company.
Now here it is 2008 [or it was when I wrote this]; he is at last playing again seriously and has made this album. It isn’t going to blast forth on MTV’s playlist, I imagine. So what? It actually has some real charm. There’s the great Tony Levin on bass, Nick Moroch on guitars, and a program of progressive music that sounds good to me. It has humor, depth and variety. It has a retro feel but is clearly made in the world we live in today. He deserves your support. And don’t forget to savor every moment of your life. Revel in your Golden Age today and every day.