Five Patrick Moraz recordings you should know

Keyboard virtuoso Patrick Moraz is best-known for his time as a member of Yes, and later with the Moody Blues. His superb playing on piano, synthesizers and organ is a key part of what made his recordings with those bands so successful. But the Swiss musician has an extensive body of work that includes many other notable credits. Here are five notable Patrick Moraz recordings, including some you might have overlooked.

“More Tea Vicar” from Mainhorse by Mainhorse (1971)
Formed either in London or Geneva, Switzerland in 1969, progressive quartet Mainhorse would release but one album during their time together. Moraz’s fiery keyboard work is at the center of this collection. Original copies of the band’s well-regarded self-titled album are fairly rare, selling for upwards of $60. But Mainhorse wouldn’t be released in the U.S. until 1976, in response to renewed interest in Moraz’s work with Yes and his solo album The Story of I.

“Papillon” from Refugee by Refugee (1974)
Bassist Lee Jackson and drummer Brian Davison already had plenty of experience working with dazzling keyboardists; they had been members of The Nice with Keith Emerson. They launched Refugee in 1973 with a debut concert at London’s Roundhouse. Lead singer Jackson wrote all of the band’s lyrics, while Moraz composed all of Refugee’s music. Tidily book-ending their brief eight months together, Refugee played a farewell concert at the Roundhouse, with Moraz going on to join Yes.

“Sound Chaser” from Relayer by Yes (1974)
When Rick Wakeman left Yes for the first of six times, the band auditioned a number of musicians to replace him, including Eddie Jobson of Roxy Music and Vangelis Papathanassiou from Greek progressive group Aphrodite’s Child. Patrick Moraz was selected, in part thanks to his improvised work during his audition, coming up with a technically brilliant passage for this track. Moraz played extensively on Relayer, the three-track album from 1974.

“Cachaça (Baião)” from The Story of I by Patrick Moraz (1976)
After touring extensively in support of Relayer, Yes went on hiatus; all five band members began work on solo albums. Moraz’s entry was The Story of I, an ambitious concept album with a strong Brazilian/tropical favor. This track is a standout from the album, and was released as a single in France. After sessions were completed, Moraz found himself out of Yes, as Wakeman had returned, beginning his second of six tenures with the group.

“The Spirit” from The Other Side of Life by The Moody Blues (1986)
While Moraz would eventually find himself all but written out of the official history of the Moody Blues, he was an official member of the band for more than a decade, playing keyboards on five of their albums. His songwriting talents were rarely employed during his time with the group, but this track – included on their 12th studio release – was co-written with drummer Graeme Edge.