Who are the best synthesizer players? Well, I suppose that very much depends on what your criteria are. If you are looking for the fastest keyboard player, then you would probably pick either Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson. To me, though, mindless speed doesn’t really automatically mean greatness. I consider creativity and musical expression to be more important.
This list contains some synth players that I think are particularly worthy of mention, so it will be biased. It’s in no particular order either.
Although he can certainly play fast when he wants to, Vangelis’s main skill is in creating feeling and atmosphere. He is able to perform so many wonderful sounds on his keyboards and often switches between different sounds while he is playing.
Jean-Michel Jarre and Vince Clarke?
Why am I mentioning these two together? Because they recently collaborated on a couple of tracks for Jarre’s recent album.
I can actually hear both of them in this track. I can hear the very percussive sounding rhythms and melodies that Vince tends to make, but I can also hear the waves of synth textures that Jarre is known for.
Here’s part 2, which is even better:
You may not have heard of this guy before. He’s not particularly famous, but I think he’s great. He performs some cover versions as well as making his own music. He only uses hardware, no software. Here he is performing a version of Crockett’s Theme:
Although he is the keyboardist with the band Dream Theater, who I’m not a particular fan of, and he has a tendency to play very fast, I do like some of the more gentle things he plays. Here, for example, he plays a lovely tune using a guitar sound on the GeoShred app on the iPad:
Okay, so those are a few people who I consider to be the best synthesizer players. Who are your favorite synthesizer players? Why not post them below in the comments section, and I will reply as soon as I can.
All the best,