Q (12/00, p.144) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...A private affair...managing a sparks-flying title-track riff and musters a marvelous, thoughtful coda on 'Mother England Reverie'..."
Uncut (01/03, p.133) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...[The album has] a genuinely innovative flair for rethinking rock harmony and texture..."
Jethro Tull: Ian Anderson (vocals, acoustic guitar, flute); Martin Barre (electric guitar); John Evan (piano, organ); Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond (upright & electric bass); Barriemore Barlow (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: David Palner (conductor); Patrick Halling, Elizabeth Edwards, Rita Eddowes, Bridget Procter (violin); Katharine Thulborn (cello).
All tracks have been digitallly remastered.
Audio Mixer: Maison Rouge.
Audio Remixer: Steven Wilson.
Photographers: Carl Dunn; Brian Ward .
Arranger: Dee Palmer.
Jethro Tull was at the height of its fame in the mid-'70s. Although critics sometimes found their songs overly ornate and the lyrics too arty, the fans didn't mind, and Tull was one of the most successful live acts in the world. MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY showcases Ian Anderson's idiosyncratic vision of progressive rock, one in which he married hard-rock chords and thunderous rave-ups with gentle balladry and the earthy sounds of his flute and acoustic guitar.
MINSTREL vacillates between gentle, lilting melodies ("Requiem," the gorgeous "One White Duck") and upbeat stompers. The sprawling title track, which opens the album, is typical of the band's mini-opera approach. Anderson initially plays the main theme against a simple backdrop of acoustic guitar, flute, mandolin and choral backing vocals--then the electric guitar and drums barge in, and the group kicks into an intricate, sometimes discordant workout. At about the four-minute point, the song starts up again and the band plays it through in a driving electric style. "Baker Street Muse" is a similarly dense piece, an almost 17-minute, four-part composition that alternates between orchestral rock, folk-rock, prog-rock, and evocative excursions into minstrelsy.