Swiss pianist Patrick Moraz came of age in the halls of esteemed conservatories, but he would find his greatest success in the world of progressive rock, as a member of Yes and then as a member of The Moody Blues. He would concurrently establish himself as a solo act, and the reissue of his second outing, 1977’s Out In The Sun, highlights his adeptness and range with a handful of warm and bright rock songs.
Moraz recorded Out In The Sun during a visit to Brazil shortly after leaving Yes–he had replaced Rick Wakeman, who returned in 1976—and the album masterfully captures the sunny and tropical environment surrounding him, the cover star certainly adds to the overall vibe. The title track kicks off the album, with the album’s guest vocalist and lyric writer John McBurnie adding a Peter Gabriel style flare, while “Rana Batacuda” captures the spirit of Carnival, a joyous, upbeat dance groove blended with a synth lick that is definitely of its era. (An outtake, entitled “Batacuda XXX” is offered as a bonus track, and is an interesting rough take that’s just as enjoyable.) “Kabala” is an easy, jazz nightclub number, while “Love-Hate-Sun-Rain-You” is an impressive rocker thanks to the falsetto of François Zmirou. It’s only on the epic album closer “Time For A Change” that Moraz pulls out his classical background, a beautiful song that fully explains why he was highly regarded as a writer and as a pianist.
Moraz would release another solo album (also getting the reissue treatment soon) before joining The Moody Blues for what would be a very fruitful decade, while continuing on as a prolific solo career. Out In The Sun is its own little world, an enjoyable ride in the sun from a talented musician at the beginning of his career.