John Hackett initially came into the public eye in the 1970’s. His exquisite contributions to Steve Hackett’s early solo albums proved to be invaluable. John Hackett would soon join his brother’s touring band, playing flute, rhythm guitar and bass pedals.
Many know John Hackett only as Steve Hackett’s flute playing younger brother. Make no mistake, John is an extremely accomplished flautist. But he is so much more. It is a fact that he is Steve Hackett’s brother, but he is his own man musically. Look no further than his second solo album, Checking Out Of London (2005) for proof.
Checking Out Of London is a wonderfully diverse rock album with an impressive guest list. Those guest include Steve Hackett, Nick Magnus and Tony Patterson. Steve Hackett needs no introduction. Keyboardist Nick Magnus was a prominent part of Steve Hackett’s early solo career. He himself is an accomplished solo artist. Tony Patterson is the lead singer of the Genesis tribute band ReGenesis.
John Hackett handled most of the album’s heavy lifting. His duties included vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass, some keyboards and the bulk of the songwriting. The one instrument noticeably missing from John’s roster is the flute. The guests helped to plug the musical holes left by John Hackett. Steve Hackett supplied a few guitars solos, as well as a harmonica solo. Nick Magnus provided the drums and keyboards. Tony Patterson supplied lead vocals on three tracks.
The music consists mostly of rock and pop with small dashes of jazz, hard rock and reggae throughout. John proves himself to be an excellent songwriter. Vocally he has an extremely pleasant voice. Tony Patterson’s slightly Peter Gabriel like vocals contrast nicely with John Hackett’s. John Hackett has created songs with very singable choruses. The songs may be commercial, however these are not simple pop songs. The various moods and atmospheres take the listener on an enjoyable musical journey.
The musical collective put together by John Hackett have produced a wonderful album. They all did their part to bring John Hackett’s musical vision to life. Nick Magnus, John Hackett and Steve Hackett are no strangers to one another. They worked quite well together in Steve Hackett’s band in the late 1970’s to the early 1980’s. Over the years they have continued to support one another, appearing on each others albums.
Checking Out of London is the total package. The album contains exceptional songs, lyrics., music, performances and production. I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful album cover. The painting was created by artist Paul Geraghty. The album cover is just one of the many great aspects of Checking Out Of London. This is an album that I highly recommend.