In 1969 Former Yardbirds members, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty organised a new group devoted to the experimentation between rock, folk, and classical forms. This quintet; Relf on guitar & vocals, McCarty on drums, plus bassist Louis Cennamo, pianist John Hawken, and Relf’s sister Jane as an additional vocalist, released a pair of albums on Elektra and Island, the first one being produced by Paul Samwell-Smith. As touring began to grind on them, the band gradually dissolved one by one, leaving McCarty and Jane Relf to hold things together. As the rest drifted off, new or guest members were added. A barely finished second album, Illusion, was released in Germany in 1971. It was finally released in the UK in 1976.
The band underwent several incarnations until 1971 when Annie Haslam, Michael Dunford, John Tout, Terence Sullivan and Jon Camp took the band into the realm of successful world class recording and touring status, culminating with sold out shows at Carnegie Hall, NYC and The Royal Albert Hall, London.
The intervening years saw Annie and Michael working together writing new material. This led to the release of the band’s first studio recording in 16 years, entitled ‘Tuscany’ ( 2000.) This was supported by a tour of Japan in 2001 and the release of a ‘live’ album, recorded in Tokyo; ‘In the Land of the Rising Sun.’
Now a new chapter has begun for this unique band, able to fuse experimental rock themes with sometimes avant garde classical overtones. Annie Haslam and Michael Dunford whilst remembering with pride the growth of the band from it’s inception to it’s 40th Anniversary, have formed a new Renaissance for this present day. Renaissance’s new lineup includes four world-class instrumentalists/vocalists whose talents provide new creative blood, while maintaining the band’s traditional standards of sterling musicianship. Keyboardist Rave Tesar and bassist/vocalist David J. Keyes are veterans of prior editions of Renaissance as well as several Haslam solo projects, while keyboardist/vocalist Jason Hart has recorded and performed extensively with Rufus Wainwright, Duncan Sheik, Mercury-Prize Winners Antony and the Johnsons, Keren Ann, and many others, and drummer Frank Pagano has collaborated with artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow and Smashing Pumpkins.
In this new era, the newly formed six piece band are excited to perform all the timeless musical masterpieces that Michael Dunford and Renaissance created. The ‘live’ concert experience will be true to the original albums, with the ever growing technological advances in instrumentation, and the very talented new band members, the fullness of the orchestration will be awe inspiring. Coupled with the radiant, acrobatic five octave voice of Annie Haslam, Renaissance, with it’s proven to be timeless music, will once more take everyone on a magical journey.