A man who shaped a show out of playing a piano, Keith Emerson, died, aged 71. He was a real revolutionary when it came to delivering a tune and taking it to the public, and if that meant ravaging the ivories, everything seemed par for the course with Keith. Swinging – physically – the Moog, attacking a Hammond with knives, flying with a grand into the air: Emerson did it all while never losing music to the acrobatics. The same wildness allowed him to create an alloy of classical, jazz and pop narrative in THE NICE and then spread it around the world in a team he formed with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer.
Not for nothing DEEP PURPLE deemed ELP a serious competition at California Jam in 1974, for Keith’s explosiveness guaranteed a lasting impact, and it echoed later on in his collaboration with Glenn Hughes when Emerson’s own band were going through permutations. But either acoustic or electric, his artistry shone bright and his legacy – songs, instrumental pieces, soundtracks – is ripe for exploration. Now, this colossus is gone. May he chime in heaven.