David Minasian is an American keyboard player, vocalist, songwriter and producer and seems to be one of those very special people who excel at everything they attempt. I have to admit that I was previously unaware of him and I simply cannot understand how his quite brilliant work has passed me by so far. He began playing the piano when he was five (surely a statement to make you realise just how different these musical geniuses are from ‘normal’ people) and at fifteen turned down the offer to go professional and instead chose a career in film production. He then worked on numerous projects as a freelance producer, director, writer and composer which probably gives an idea of his talents and capabilities and he then also began producing and directing music videos and it was through this work that he began to work with Andy Latimer and his progressive rock band Camel.
Alongside this, he kept up his career as a solo artist and recorded what the publicity calls a symphonic rock album but what we would more correctly call as progressive rock, Tales Of Hearts And Lovers, in 1984 with Minasian singing and playing most instruments but with a team of backing musicians helping out too. A second progressive rock album then followed in 1996, It’s Not Too Late, with vocal duties this time passing to William Drews and it seems that both of these albums are now almost impossible to track down. Then in 1997 he began to work with Camel, amongst many other artists, which led to him producing and directing a number of concert and documentary DVDs for them including the sublime Coming Of Age. In 2010 he released another solo album in Random Acts Of Beauty which featured a guest appearance from Andy Latimer and it was/is, quite simply, a progressive rock masterpiece. As mentioned at the beginning, David Minasian is an artist who has passed me by and I just cannot believe it has taken me ten years to catch up with this simply delightful album. The record has now been remastered and is available again which has given us the chance to either revisit or catch up with this stunning progressive rock work of genius. Minasian sings and plays piano, keyboards and bass with his son, Justin Minasian, playing guitar. Minasian also wrote six of the seven songs with the 14-minute instrumental Frozen In Time being written with his son. Remarkably, he also managed to get Andy Latimer to play on the 12-minute opening track Masquerade which was his first recording in eight years following his recovery from a bone-marrow transplant and his playing on this is the usual fluid, joyful and emotional display that we have come to expect from this guitarist without equal. This new re-master also features a short bonus track in Masquerade Solo which again features the sublime talents of Andy Latimer but mainly it is the stunning keyboard work of David and the supreme guitar work of son Justin that takes commands your attention. David Minasian has a gentle and pleasant voice that leads you peacefully through the work which is so pastoral and evocative. This is a work that is steeped deeply in the tones of Anthony Phillips, Genesis, Greenslade and Camel with long, extended tracks that draw you into the beautiful and surreal progressive rock world of the 1970’s that is still totally relevant and just as enjoyable today.
Random Acts Of Beauty (2020 Remaster edition) track list
- Masquerade (12:29)
- Chambermaid (8:44)
- Storming The Castle (5:27)
- Blue Rain (7:34)
- Frozen In Time (14:32)
- Summer’s End (7:54)
- Dark Waters (5:06)
- Masquerade Solo (Bonus Track) (3:17)
One of the main reasons for this re-release of Random Acts Of Beauty is that ‘David Minasian’ has now, finally, released his latest album with the equally stunning The Sound Of Dreams. Work apparently started on this album in 2013 but it had to be put in hold as he spent the next several years producing a number of live DVDs for Justin Hayward but, thankfully, it has now been finished and presented to us in all its prog-tastic glory.
David Minasian again provides the vocals along with the usual sumptuous keyboards and 12 string acoustic guitar with Justin Minasian reprising his exquisite guitar work but he has now brought in some quite masterful musicians for writing and performing duties and any album that includes Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Steve Hackett (Genesis), Annie Haslam (Renaissance), Billy Sherwood (Yes), PJ Olsson (The Alan Parsons Live Project), Geof O’Keefe (Pentagram) and Julie Ragins (The Moody Blues Live) is sure to be an amazing affair. When you first hear his work you are immediately struck by just how essentially English his music sounds and you feel certain that you have discovered some lost gem of pastoral, gentle and complex progressive rock that hints of green and rolling English fields bathed in the golden rays of a gently setting sun.
I’m not sure how an American has managed to produced something straight out of the English psyche but he has and he’s done it magnificently too. It is impossible to pick out highlights as all of the material is so strong and the playing is totally off the scale but if you want a taster then the three part title track which features Steve Hackett, Annie Haslam and Billy Sherwood working together for the first time is as stunning a track as you are ever likely to hear but this is the norm for this exceptional and traditional progressive rock album.
Both of the albums by David Minasian are magnificent progressive rock delights with lots of fluid guitar that is so emotional that it almost reduces you to tears and the lush and exotic keyboards work and synth runs are enough to show that he is a truly great player and one that needs, nay, demands your attention. This is simply wonderful music from an amazing talent whom we all should be aware of.
The Sound Of Dreams track list
- The Wind Of Heaven (Prologue) (feat. Justin Hayward) (8:30)
- All In (feat. Justin Minasian) (6:23)
- Faith Hope Love (feat. Geof O’Keefe) (3:32)
- The Sound Of Dreams (First Movement) (feat. Annie Haslam) (4:01)
- The Sound Of Dreams (Second Movement) (feat. Billy Sherwood) (2:04)
- The Sound Of Dreams (Third Movement) (feat. Steve Hackett) (4:39)
- Road To Nothingness (feat. Justin Minasian) (6:04)
- Room With Dark Corners ((feat. Julie Ragins) (6:09)
- Hold Back The Rain (feat. Justin Minasian) (4:32)
- Twin Flames At Twilight (feat. Justin Minasian (13:42)
- So Far From Home (feat. PJ Olsson) (5:15)
- The World Of Heaven (Epilogue) (feat. Annie Haslam) (9:57)