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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Interview: Patrick Moraz, keyboardist with Yes and the Moody Blues

Patrick Moraz, who’s just been added to the bill for the second Cruise to the Edge prog rock event, stops in to discuss his endlessly varied career with Yes, the Moody Blues and as a solo artist.
The Swiss-born keyboardist was a member of Yes from 1974-76, making important contributions to the gold-selling studio effort Relayer. He joined the Moody Blues in 1978, just in time to retool their sound for Long Distance Voyager, and remained in the band through 1991. Moraz started a concurrent solo career in 1976, when each of the members of Yes issued separate individual albums.
Moraz joins a Cruise to the Edge bill that, of course, includes his former band, as Yes also plays host to Marillion, UK, Steve Hackett’s Genesis Revisited, Tangerine Dream, Todd La Torre’s Queensryche, Renaissance and others aboard a ship that departs Miami on April 7, 2014 and visits Honduras and Mexico over a five-day trip …
NICK DERISO You brought no small amount of jazz-rock influences to bear on Relayer. Although it ultimately became a guitar-oriented album, I could still hear those influences at play on tracks like “To Be Over.” Were you disappointed that the group didn’t pursue that jazzier feel?
PATRICK MORAZ: We had decided to do some writing — starting in 1975, when I was also helping (bassist) Chris (Squire) and (guitarist) Steve (Howe) to record some music. We had started to compose and to co-compose and to gather material for what was going to be the album Going for the One, and I was very much involved in the composing of “Awaken” at the time. I even recorded one or two tracks in the very, very beginning — in the early stages of sessions in 1976. I recorded some basic tracks for what was going to become “Awaken” (Stream it!: Yes,“Awaken.”) and other tracks for Going for the One. Unfortunately, those were taken out, to allow (keyboardist) Rick (Wakeman) to come back to the band. But I couldn’t be disappointed with Yes. Disappointment is a negative. I’ve always made sure I was adding as much of the positive to any band as I could. Of course, you’re talking about “To Be Over,” and that’s a very interesting question. Not many journalists are asking me about “To Be Over,” and I have to tell you that the ending solo, I remember having written it down that very night. Suddenly, they wanted to change the key. I had to rewrite the entire thing. So, on one night, I did two different versions of that — and all written on paper. That’s how it came about. We had been jamming quite a bit, especially with Chris and (drummer) Alan (White), from the time I joined the band. We had many, many jam sessions and co-compositions, those kind of things. On some of those things, we very close to the edge of jazz rock, and over time it might have taken us maybe much further.

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