View Full Version : COTM - #208 - Tribute to John Tout of Renaissance

05-08-2015, 12:31 AM
Greetings fellow prog lovers.

In progressive rock one could generalize that there are two schools of influence that mix with the rock element of the music. Jazz and fusion are on one side with Classical music on the other. The Canterbury School of prog produced many bands on the jazz side, while groups like Moody Blues, ELP, Yes and Renaissance well represented the Classical side.

Last week, we learned of the passing of Guy LeBlanc, the keyboardist and founder of Nathan Mahl, that favored the jazz side but did have classical training. This week, we learn of the passing of John Tout, the keyboardist of Renaissance from 1971 - 1980. He was a member of the "Classic Line-up" that was so successful during that time.

John's sweeping and majestic style built a solid foundation for the lyricism of the powerful yet angelic voice of Annie Haslem. The thing about the band was that the sound of the band was not just one musician. It was a careful construct of all of them. Much like a Symphony Orchestra performing an opera. Dramatic, beautiful, quiet, sweet, and majestic.

Renaissance was begun as a project by ex-Yardbird members Keith Relf and Jim McCarty. That early part of the band would go on to become the group Illusion with Jane Relf doing her own operatic vocals. Their manager heard a potential in the groups sound but membership kept changing. He led them to become the revised line-up in 1971 that included Annie Haslem, Michael Dunford, Jon Camp, Terry Sullivan, and John Tout.

For this week's show I came across a new (official) release of an older Bootleg of a Live in studio recording for a radio program. There is a nice friendly vibe in the audience as it is friends and family there in the studio. John Tout had almost become a member of Wishbone Ash and he can be found on Keyboards on the title track of Argus. Andy Powell returns a favor here and is featured in the recording of the title track of Ashes Are Burning, the album Renaissance was promoting with this show.

I will fill out the show with group favorites that I think highlight John's talents. I hope you can join us this week as we pay tribute to another great musician.