Keyboard legend Patrick Moraz and his good friend, drummer Greg Alban, have joined forces and announce the release of their new album, ‘MAP’.
The Moraz Alban Project was born out of response to a question Greg asked Patrick. He says,
“The concept and the meaning of ‘MAP’ is first and foremost the ‘MORAZ ALBAN PROJECT’! Some time ago, Greg Alban, a very good friend of mine and a great drummer whom I have known now for more than 30 years asked me if I would like to start composing and arranging some music that he could play the drums on, with me. He wanted to record a whole album together and eventually of course, release it.”
Moraz, former member of YES and the Moody Blues, began composing and arranging the music for ‘MAP’ in his Florida studio, before moving the project to California, where it was further developed and recorded. The new music is a collection of instrumental pieces, ranging in style and spirit of World-Fusion, Rock, and Jazz.
Greg Alban, originally from Columbus, Ohio, attended Ohio University and moved to Los Angeles in 1974 to pursue a career in music. Greg has studied with some of the great drummers and teachers such as Richard Wilson, Joe Morello and Joe Porcaro. Patrick Moraz first heard Greg Alban play drums when he was head of his own band ICE. They were performing at the famous and since shuttered Red Onion in Marina Del Rey, CA. Impressed with the playing skills of Alban and fellow band member John Avila, Moraz asked them to perform on his album, ‘Timecode’. Greg has with such artists such as The Miracles, Denny Laine (Wings) and Mike Pinera (Blues Image and Iron Butterfly) explains,
“Patrick and I have been very good friends for a long time and I’m still always being surprised by the depth of his knowledge, not just about music but everything! He’s a creative genius and I’m honored to be working with him.”
Swiss born Patrick Moraz, is best known for being a member and keyboardist for the progressive rock bands YES from 1974 to the end of 1976 and The Moody Blues from 1978 to 1991. He was classically trained at the Conservatory of Lausanne, but having a keen interest in jazz and world rhythms he decided early on to pursue composing and playing in these genres of music as well. This led to Patrick and his own trio and quartet, opening for major jazz artists and famous rock bands throughout Europe in the mid-sixties. He then formed the group Mainhorse with Jean Ristori in 1968 and released a self-titled album on Polydor. Then, after a long tour of Japan and the Far East as musical director of a Brazilian Ballet Company, he came back and moved to England in the early Seventies to form Refugee with Lee Jackson and Brian Davison, both previously of The Nice. They produced one album titled ‘Refugee’ which to date is still revered as one of Prog-Rock’s monumental works known for Moraz’s highly inspired compositions and keyboard virtuosity.
Moraz rose to prominence in 1974 as a new member and keyboardist of YES. He co-composed along with YES’s band members and played on the album ‘Relayer’, which led to what was to be YES’s most successful ever world tour, playing to crowds which numbered from 25,000 to 120,00 at JFK stadium in 1976. Moraz moved to Brazil and composed the music for his first solo album, ‘I’ (aka ‘The Story of I’), which incorporated 16 Brazilian percussionists, making it an important staple of “world music”. It was voted 1976’s Album of the Year by Keyboard Magazine. After his departure from YES Patrick recorded his second album ‘Out In The Sun’, and moved to Brazil.
Moving back to Europe via an appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and upon their request, Patrick began touring with The Moody Blues on their ‘Octave’ tour in 1978, replacing their former keyboardist Mike Pinder.
In 1980, having played and recorded on the new album ‘Long Distance Voyager’ he was asked to become a member of the band. He continued touring and recording with The Moody Blues until 1991.
‘MAP’ features bass player John Avila, former member of Oingo Bongo, as well as Lenny Castro on percussion, who has worked with The Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Eric Clapton among others. Bass player, Matt Malley, founder and former member of Counting Crows, expertly plays Indian Slide Guitar on ‘MAP’. Additionally, Swiss virtuoso bass player Patrick Perrier and tenor saxophonist Dave Van Such, both perform on ‘MAP’ as well.