Carl Palmer : Fanfare For The Common Man : 3CD / BluRay Box Set Review

Carl Palmer’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”: A Monumental Box Set Journey
I’ve just had the pleasure of diving into the latest box set from the legendary Carl Palmer, titled “Fanfare for the Common Man.” This release marks the completion of a series that has explored the individual legacies of each Emerson, Lake & Palmer member, following the superb box sets dedicated to Keith Emerson and Greg Lake. Carl Palmer’s contribution to this trilogy not only cements his status as a drumming virtuoso but also offers an intimate look into his expansive career.

“Fanfare for the Common Man” is a career-spanning deluxe box set that includes three CDs, a Blu-ray video, and an autobiography book filled with rare photos. The collection encompasses studio and live recordings from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Carl Palmer Band, ELP Legacy, and collaborations with artists like Joseph Horowitz, Chris Farlowe, Atomic Rooster, Asia among others. The Blu-ray features an audio-visual documentary narrated by Palmer himself, providing behind-the-scenes footage and insights into his work with ELP, Asia, and his Art projects.

What sets this box set apart is the inclusion of Carl Palmer’s autobiography. Unlike the typical booklets found in box sets, this is a substantial, softback book that could easily find its place on a bookstore shelf. It chronicles Palmer’s life story, offering fans an unprecedented look into his personal and professional journey. The book is filled with color photos and narratives that bring to life the experiences of a musician who has been at the forefront of progressive rock for decades.

The musical content of this box set is as diverse as Palmer’s career. The opening track, a concerto for percussion, is a 22-minute masterpiece that was originally intended for ELP’s “Works” album but was ultimately left off. This piece alone is a testament to Palmer’s and ELP’s ambition and talent, showcasing their ability to blend classical and rock music seamlessly.

The CDs cover a wide range of Palmer’s work, from his early days with The Craig and Atomic Rooster to his groundbreaking work with ELP and Asia. The live recordings with the Carl Palmer Band and ELP Legacy highlight Palmer’s skill as a drummer and his ability to reinterpret ELP’s complex compositions for a modern audience.

The Blu-ray documentary is described as a sketchbook rather than a traditional documentary, piecing together various aspects of Palmer’s career through archival footage and interviews. It offers a raw and authentic glimpse into Palmer’s world, from his innovative drumming techniques and charity work to his ventures into visual art.

“Fanfare for the Common Man” is a wonderful box set; it’s a comprehensive tribute to Carl Palmer’s incredible career and his contributions to the world of music. For fans of ELP, progressive rock, or anyone interested in the evolution of one of rock’s most talented drummers, this box set is an essential addition to your collection. Coupled with my recent interview with Carl Palmer for the Now Spinning Magazine podcast, this release offers a deep and enriching experience that celebrates the legacy of a true musical genius.

Check out the interview with Carl Palmer on the Now Spinning Magazine podcast for more insights into this remarkable box set and Carl’s illustrious career. And remember, whether you’re a long-time fan or new to the world of ELP and Carl Palmer, this box set is a journey worth taking.


Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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