AL ROSS & THE PLANETS brilliant new album BLUE CRYSTAL, recorded at Abbey Road Studios, is out 10 September 2021.
LONG-RUNNING LONDON BAND’S STYLISTICALLY DIVERSE SECOND ALBUM
FEATURES DEEPLY FELT NEW POP CLASSICS, BLUESY ROCKERS,
SOUL-INFUSED GOSPEL, AND SAMBA-TINGED JAZZ GROOVES
Recorded at London’s legendary Abbey Road Studios, BLUE CRYSTAL is augmented by a stellar array of session players, including guitarist Norman Beaker (Jack Bruce, Chris Farlowe, Van Morrison) and keyboardist Lyndon Connah (Level 42, George Michael, Joe Cocker). With members taken ill by Covid-19, and recording taking place during strict lockdown protocols, BLUE CRYSTAL is a triumph of artistry over adversity.
When Al Ross & the Planets entered the legendary Abbey Road Studios to commence recording their second album in January 2020, they never guessed that a pandemic was about to turn their plans upside down. Band members would soon be sidelined by the virus, travel around London became forbidden, and — when sessions did finally resume in May 2020 — there was a long list of safety measures.
As key band members became unable to take part due to Covid, Al realized that he would need to hire session players to fill the gaps. He asked his longtime friend Lyndon Connah to play keyboards and assist with production. Lyndon’s extensive resume includes work with Level 42, George Michael, Squeeze, Joe Cocker, Thomas Dolby, Nik Kershaw, and Go West. Next, Al contacted legendary blues guitarist Norman Beaker. A native of Manchester, Norman has been involved with the British blues scene since the 1960s and has toured and/or recorded with Jack Bruce, Chris Farlowe, Van Morrison, Chuck Berry, and B.B. King, among many others. Additional musicians on BLUE CRYSTAL include Tansy Garrod (violin), Paul Jefferies (double bass), Jamie Masters (guitar), Holly Petrie (backing vocals), Jamie Wall (trumpet), Alex Ward (lead guitar), and the Sing Gospel Choir.
The wide array of talent involved in the collaboration has yielded spectacular results.
The Abbey Road sessions were engineered by Lewis Jones and Andy Maxwell, with additional sessions at Echo Studios in Buckinghamshire engineered by Jamie Masters. The entire BLUE CRYSTAL album was mixed by Chris Bolster at Abbey Road.
Al Ross: “Facing huge obstacles in a horrendous year — with two members getting Covid — we have managed to produce a truly great album that we are very proud of. Despite all the difficulties and stress involved recording under such conditions, it was a great way to pass the hours rather than staying at home feeling depressed! We were able to create something very positive out of 2020 and we cannot wait for the world to hear the results!”