Adam Wakeman — “A Handful of Memories” (Blacklake, 2021)

Cite this article as:

Mark van den Hoven-Blackstock. (December 17, 2021). Adam Wakeman — “A Handful of Memories” (Blacklake, 2021). International Journal of Music. Accessed July 13, 2024.

Reflecting upon the tumultuous times of the global pandemic, I found solace and inspiration in revisiting the troves of memories accumulated throughout my career. The result of this introspection is my latest album, “A Handful of Memories,” a collection that encapsulates the essence of my musical journey. In this discourse, I delve into the genesis of the album, the intricacies of the recording process, and how my diverse musical background shaped my approach to classical piano.

The inception of “A Handful of Memories” was a consequence of the unexpected hiatus brought on by the pandemic. With the usual demands of touring and travel suspended, I found myself with a rare commodity—time. This allowed me to ruminate on the incredible journeys I had undertaken over the years. Each piece in the album is a musical postcard, resonating with the spirit of a place I’ve visited. The album sleeve, akin to a travel diary, accompanies each track with a vivid story and a cherished photo memory.

The recording process played a pivotal role in bringing these musical narratives to life. Stowe School’s Ugland Auditorium provided the perfect backdrop, housing a Model D Steinway that breathed life into the melodies. The decision to record with just the piano and myself was intentional; I sought an intimate connection with the instrument and the audience. Stowe, conveniently located a mere five miles from my residence, offered both the acoustics and the convenience required for this undertaking.

The classical realm of piano is a familiar territory for me, given my earlier collaborations with Rick Wakeman in the ’90s. However, despite this background, it took me until now to embark on a solo classical piano project. The demands of touring and other collaborative efforts, particularly with Damian Wilson, had taken precedence. The pandemic-induced pause allowed me the time to rekindle my relationship with the piano and revisit the classical style that marked my early career.

Having gained recognition for my work with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, one might wonder how this reputation influences my role as a classical pianist. The truth is, music enthusiasts often have eclectic tastes, transcending genre boundaries. My philosophy remains grounded in a genuine love for diverse musical expressions. Whether it’s the heavy rock of Ozzy Osbourne or the intricate nuances of classical piano, my goal is to create music that resonates with authenticity. Perceptions are subjective, and as an artist, I prioritize sincerity over external opinions.

The juxtaposition of my classical endeavors and unconventional projects, such as the Jazz Sabbath album, exemplifies my commitment to musical exploration. The genesis of Jazz Sabbath took root during a casual encounter on a Black Sabbath tour. Playing with the idea of a fictional character, Milton Keanes, and reinterpreting iconic Sabbath songs in a jazzy style, I embarked on a creative journey that took six years to culminate in an album. The process was not without its challenges, particularly as I navigated the realm of jazz piano, a genre distinct from my classical roots. However, I embraced the challenge, infusing my classical training into a unique interpretation of jazz.

In the end, music, like life, is a journey—one that evolves and transforms with each experience. “A Handful of Memories” is my musical diary, a testament to the places I’ve been and the stories I’ve collected along the way. As I continue to traverse diverse musical landscapes, I invite listeners to join me on this sonic odyssey, where the boundaries between genres blur, and the universal language of music prevails.


In summary, “A Handful of Memories” emerged from the unexpected pause brought by the pandemic, allowing me to reflect on my musical journey. The album, recorded intimately with just a piano at Stowe School’s Ugland Auditorium, serves as a musical diary, each piece resonating with the spirit of places I’ve visited. Despite my rock reputation from collaborations with Ozzy Osbourne, my commitment to diverse musical expressions and sincerity takes precedence. The juxtaposition of classical pursuits and projects like Jazz Sabbath reflects my dedication to musical exploration. Ultimately, the album invites listeners on a sonic odyssey, where genre boundaries blur, and the universal language of music prevails in life’s transformative journey.

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