Happy Birthday, Apollo 11 – launched on this day (July 16th) 50 years ago to become the first spaceflight to land humans on the Moon.

The trip has inspired music- and film-makers then (David Bowie’s 1969 hit single, ‘Space Oddity’) and now (Todd Douglas Miller’s 2019 documentary, named after the ship).

And here, at Market Square, composer and performer Michael J. Bolton brings us “Earthrise” – his talent-packed imagining of NASA’s ambitious project featuring jazz guitar supremo Mike Walker and soprano sax from Marc Russo and Tim Garland, keyboards by David Hentschel (who also mixed and mastered the album), and Michael himself on bass/rhythm guitar and synths.

Three years in development, the album – out this summer in 170g vinyl, DL and CD formats – combines composition and improvisation spanning contemporary jazz, Latin fusion, funk, progressive rock, with orchestration and synthesised textures.

On “Earthrise”, Bolton has focused on marrying strong composition to free improv, restoring the tenets of jazz rock demised by the pressure to produce bland, commercially-safe “Fuzak” that gave rise to the smooth Jazz movement of the 1990s.

To broaden the palette further, legendary arranger Paul Buckmaster was approached to orchestrate the music; although enthusiastic to become involved, Paul sadly passed away before the project had reached that stage.

Undeterred seasoned producer and composer David Hentschel (Elton John, Genesis, Brand X, Mike Oldfield, Renaissance) came on board to help with orchestrations and add the final touches.

In short; this has class.

You can purchase “Earthrise” directly from us via this link

And share in Michael’s vision at YouTube.

Here’s opening track, the appropriately-entitled ‘The Launch’