The career paths of bands with long and rich histories are akin to fingerprints; no two are identical. No such statement could be more appropriately applicable than to the forty-four year career of British progressive rock pioneers Renaissance.
The band, acclaimed for their unique blending of progressive rock with classical and symphonic influences, can trace its’ origins back to 1969 when Yardbird founding members, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty left fellow band mates to organize a new group devoted to the experimentation between rock, folk, and classical forms.
This quintet; Relf on guitar & vocals, McCarty on drums, plus bassist Louis Cennamo, pianist John Hawken, and Relf’s sister Jane as an additional vocalist, released a pair of ground breaking albums on Elektra and Island, but when touring began to grind on them, the band gradually dissolved one by one.
Renaissance underwent several incarnations until 1971 when vocalist/lyricist Annie Haslam, guitarist/composer Michael Dunford, John Tout, Terence Sullivan and Jon Camp joined forces, propelling the band into the realm of successful world-class recording and touring status.
After extensively touring and critical acclaim in the UK, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, France, Belgium, Portugal and Israel, influential rock stations in the US picked up on the band’s unique progressive/symphonic sound and introduced them to welcoming American audiences.
The band spent years touring, recorded fifteen albums while gracing distinguished stages, from Carnegie Hall with The New York Philharmonic to the Royal Albert Hall in London with The Royal Philharmonic.
Despite explorations into solo careers, and changes in the line-up over the years, the five octave ranged voice of Annie Haslam and brilliant musicianship of Michael Dunford remained the core of Renaissance.
In 2009 Haslam and Dunford reunited for a special 40th Anniversary concert tour which would not only serve to reconnect them to long time fans, but also introduce a younger generation of progressive music fans to the lush, orchestral favorites that made them a staple of 1970's progressive rock radio.
The new incarnation of Renaissance was so well received by eager fans with standing ovations that they decided to carry on with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and purpose.
Ms. Haslam recently commented, “The ‘live’ concert experience is so true to the original albums, with the technological advances in instrumentation, and the very talented new band members, we have been able to recreate the sounds and musical atmosphere of the original recordings.
The band continued to directly reconnect with their fans via touring and use of social media. “Having the ability to nurture a direct to fan dynamic added a new dimension to the band’s very existence and created a new path to the future’ adds manager Bruce Garfield who with Haslam, Dunford, and internet specialist Esa Ahola has spearheaded this initiative.
To give the fans a very special concert experience it was decided that the program for the North American tour of 2011 would be performance of the band’s two most popular albums back to back in their entirety; ‘Turn of the Cards’ and ‘Scherezade and Other Stories’.