Renaissance’s Grandine il Vento won’t simply be Annie Haslam’s final collaboration with Michael Dunford. The forthcoming studio project is also a long-awaited reunion with former touring mate John Wetton.
Wetton, well before he’d begin a legendary career in prog, appeared with Renaissance on its 1971 tour, after the band’s initial Jim McCarty-led lineup fell apart. Wetton would go on to record with Yes’ Peter Banks and Brian Eno (both in 1973), King Crimson (1973-74), Uriah Heep (1975-76), Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music (1976-78), UK (1978-79), Wishbone Ash (1981) and then, most famously, with Geoff Downes and Asia beginning in 1982.
Grandine il Vento, due in April 2013, marks the first time that Wetton has worked with Renaissance in the studio, however, and the results are stunning in their emotional delicacy.
Appearing with only Haslam and Rave Tesar at the grand piano, “Blood Silver Like Moonlight” finds Haslam performing in a call-and-response with a robust Wetton — who has never sounded more in control of his vocal instrument. The two then sing, in tandem, like two thoughts unfolding at once as Tesar, a member of Renaissance since 2001, offers his own elegant asides.
Haslam earlier guested on “In the End” from Wetton’s 2005 album with Downes, Icon, a writing reunion that led to the reformation of Asia’s original lineup a year later. More recently both Haslam and Wetton appeared on the guest-packed 2012 release The Prog Collective, overseen by Billy Sherwood.
Longtime Renaissance collaborator Dunford, meanwhile, died after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage last November.