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Patrick Moraz in concert with the Moody Blues, 1978
|Birth name||Patrick Philippe Moraz|
24 June 1948 |
|Genres||Progressive rock, electronic, jazz fusion, classical|
|Instruments||Keyboards, piano, Hammond organ, mellotron, synthesizers, Minimoog, electric piano|
|Labels||Charisma, Atlantic, Passport, Carerre, i-Disk/Time Wave Music, Decca, Threshold, Polydor|
|Associated acts||Refugee, Yes, The Moody Blues, Mainhorse, Vímana|
Patrick Philippe Moraz (born 24 June 1948) is a Swiss progressive rock keyboardist, best known as the keyboardist for the progressive rock bands Yes, from 1974 to 1976, and The Moody Blues from 1978 to 1990. He was classically trained at the Conservatory of Lausanne, but played jazz primarily before entering progressive rock.
Moraz was born in Villars-Ste-Croix, Morges. He first toured as a solo performer opening for major jazz artists throughout Europe in the mid-1960s. He then formed the group Mainhorse with Jean Ristori in 1968, which released a self-titled album on Polydor. He then moved to England and in 1973 formed Refugee with Lee Jackson and Brian Davison, both previously of The Nice. Refugee produced one eponymous album that featured Moraz's keyboard virtuosity.
Moraz rose to prominence in 1974 when he replaced Rick Wakeman in Yes, playing on their album Relayer and world tour. Although Vangelis was the first candidate to join the band, he was finally discarded in favour of Moraz, because of legal issues related to work permits in the United Kingdom. During his audition for Yes, Moraz played on Vangelis' keyboards which still remained in the rehearsal room. On the Relayer album, Moraz brought in a more jazz/fusion sound that was a departure from Yes' more classical approach. In 1975–76, all then-members of Yes released solo albums, including the Moraz album titled Story of I (1976). Additionally, he played on one track of Chris Squire's solo album Fish Out of Water (1975). In the interim, Moraz had moved to Brazil, and incorporated Brazilian rhythms and performers on Story of I, making it an important staple of world music. He left Yes in 1976 prior to the formal start of recording their next album Going for the One (1977). Moraz then recorded his second album, Out in the Sun. While in Brazil in the mid-70s Moraz joined a Brazilian band called Vimana which was formed by three young up and coming musicians. Brazilian guitar player Lulu Santos, Brazilian drummer Lobão and British vocalist living in Brazil, Ritchie. Moraz after joining the band demanded that Lulu Santos be kicked out. In the end things didn't work out and the Vimana project never went anywhere. Lobão in his auto biography claims he stole Moraz's girl and soon after Moraz left Brazil. All three, Ritchie, Lulu Santos and Lobão went on to have huge solo careers in Brazil in the 1980s and beyond, especially Lobão and Lulu Santos.
The Moody Blues
Moraz began touring with The Moody Blues on their Octave tour in 1978, replacing their original keyboardist Mike Pinder, who played on the album and despite initially agreeing to tour, pulled out at the last minute. Moraz subsequently played on their 1981 album Long Distance Voyager, which reached No. 1 on the US charts, and continued touring and recording with the Moody Blues until 1991, working with them on The Present, The Other Side of Life, and Sur la Mer. Moraz was also credited as co-writer on the Moody Blues song "The Spirit", along with drummer Graeme Edge, and it appeared on their 1986 album The Other Side of Life.
Patrick Moraz's Aquarius Studios in Geneva, Switzerland with engineer Jean Ristori, was a creative magnetic for recording signed European progressive rock bands, including John McLaughlin and the Swiss progressive rock band, Flame Dream.
Even while with the Moody Blues, Moraz toured and recorded extensively. He toured with his group from Brazil, recorded with Chick Corea and released two prominent albums of duets with drummer Bill Bruford, another former member of Yes. His solo albums Future Memories I, Future Memories II and Windows of Time have been critically well received.
In 1991, during production of the Moody Blues' album, The Keys of the Kingdom, Moraz gave an interview with Keyboard Magazine and indicated that he was unhappy with The Moody Blues' music becoming too simplified, the group's unwillingness to include his compositions on their albums and that in his years with the group, his only composition was "half a song with the drummer." Instead of rehearsing with The Moody Blues, he was also increasingly occupied with organizing a concert to celebrate his native Switzerland's 700th birthday and he was then fired from the band. Moraz subsequently sued them for royalties he felt were owed to him as a member of the band for nearly 15 years. The Moody Blues denied that he was a member of the band, but rather a hired musician, despite the fact that his name was listed with the band members on the original record sleeves and booklets and he was included in both group and individual photos on the cover and inner sleeve of 'The Other Side of Life' album, plus his childhood photo was included on the innersleeve of 'Sur La Mer'. He was also included in group promotional photos of that era, and in the member photos and credits of the 'Legend of a Band' official group history video. The case went to court in California and was shown on Court TV. Although Moraz won a judgment, it was for only $90,000 instead of the millions that the suit claimed and as a result, Moraz is only credited for contributing to three songs on Keys of the Kingdom as an additional keyboardist - Magic, Say What You Mean and Celtic Sonant. Subsequent compilations have him removed from band photos that originally featured him, notably on the cover to the 2005 compilation Gold and The Polydor Years 1986-1992.
Post-Moody Blues life
Since then, Moraz has primarily concentrated on solo works, particularly solo piano. In 1995, Moraz performed throughout the USA on his C.H.A.T. tour (Coming Home to America). The tour was unusual in that Moraz booked everything himself, and for a flat fee of $800 would come to private homes, clubs or other venues, and play private or semi-private solo piano concerts. Moraz played for anywhere from 2 to 100 people at these shows, one of which was recorded and released as PM in Princeton, on both CD and video. Other solo piano recordings from this period include Windows of Time (1994) and ESP (2003), as well as a solo piano album titled Resonance (2000).
In April 2014, Moraz took part in the "Cruise to the Edge" progressive rock festival as a solo artist. Recently in 2015, Patrick published a new album intitled The M.A.P. Project, Moraz-Alban Project with drummer Greg Alban, percussionist Lenny Castro, bassists John Avila and Patrick Perrier and guitarist Matt Malley.
- 1980 – Coexistence
- 1983 – Music For Piano and Drums (with Bill Bruford)
- 1984 – Timecode
- 1984 – Future Memories II
- 1985 – Future Memories I & II
- 1985 – Flags (with Bill Bruford)
- 1987 – Human Interface
- 1987 – Les musiques de la Première
- 1989 – Libertate (re-issue of Coexistence)
- 1994 – Windows of Time
- 1995 – PM in Princeton
- 2000 – Resonance
- 2003 – ESP
- 2009 – Change of Space
- 2012 – PianissiMoraz (compilation from Windows of Time, Resonance and ESP)
- 2012 – Live at Abbey Road (1987 "live")
- 2012 – Music for Piano and Drums: Live in Maryland (11/9/1984 live with Bill Bruford)
- 2015 - M.A.P Project - Moraz Alban Project
- Patrick Moraz official website
- Patrick Moraz official Facebook page
- Official MySpace website
- Yes World
- Moody Blues official website
- Patrick Moraz discography
- Live In Princeton & Future Memories DVDs