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Riders On the Storm - The Doors Concerto

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Album Review

There's always an air of pretentiousness that accompanies classical performances of pop and rock classics, and most performances are quickly dismissed to the muzak-filled realms of elevators and doctor's waiting rooms. The fact that classical violinist Nigel Kennedy has dropped his first name for this set (to become Kennedy) doesn't bode well. Which makes it all the more surprising that this collection is quite good. Teaming up with producer Jaz Coleman (who has previously reworked Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin in the same vein) and the Prague Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy's violin replaces the vocals of Jim Morrison. Fortunately, lurking underneath Kennedy's guise as a rebel lies the thing which first brought him so much attention: his ability to play exquisite music, both technically and emotionally. Coleman's arrangements bring new depth to the music; at times the results bear little in common with the originals (such as "Riders on the Storm" and "People Are Strange"); nonetheless, they're fascinating musical excursions best approached with an open mind. Some tracks, such as the simple pop classic "Light My Fire," would have been better left alone and cry out for Morrison's passionate vocals rather than the melancholic strains of the violin; nonetheless, this collection makes for a good listen in an oftentimes difficult genre.

Customer Reviews

Holy Crap! What a pleasant surprise!

I love the Doors' music and was admittedly keen for some decent new material (which understandably is hard to come by). The Doors box set has some duff demos and second-rate stuff (orange county suite, whiskey, mystics and men etc.) so when I downloaded this I was genuinely impressed by how it adds to the originals. Riders on the Storm sounds like it was meant to be a classical piece. Genius!

Surprising and lovely

I generally HATE classical versions of rock and pop music. They are lame, cheesy and usually just a patronising attempt to attract a new audience to classical. This is something else entirely because the arrangements are so clever, original and beautiful. I think it is best to forget the original Doors songs and treat this as something completely new, but inspired by the original music. The key elements of the original melodies are there, but very much integrated into the arrangements, so it is not just a soloist with orchestra. Pretty impressive that Nigel Kennedy took on a role in which his performance is not the total focus of the piece.


Born: 26 February 1960 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Engl

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Jaz Coleman has had his hand in many genres of music, from post-punk angst to composing classical music. A Londoner residing in New Zealand, Coleman came to the public's notice singing and playing keyboards in the band Killing Joke in 1978. As Killing Joke's career began to slow down in the early '90s, their singer worked with Art of Noise member Anne Dudley on the 1991 Middle Eastern themed Songs from the Victorious City. Coleman teamed with Killing Joke bassist Youth and collaborated on two symphonic...
Full bio

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