Rick van der Linden’s father was a pianoplayer, so it was not a surprise that young Rick took piano-lessons. Later he started to learn playing the organ and finally he went to the Haarlem Conservatory. He played in many bands and nightclubs and was impressed by Brian AUGER and Keith EMERSON. Rick got worldwide recognition with the ‘classic-rock formula’ from EKSEPTION but he wanted his own band to show his keyboard pyrotechnics. He founded TRACE with bass player Jaap van Eik (CUBY AND THE BLIZZARDS, The MOTIONS, SOLUTION, LIVING BLUES) and drummer Pierre van der Linden (TEE SET, BRAINBOX, FOCUS), a real Dutch supergroup! Now he got the opportunity to work out his own ideas with keyboard-dominated symphonic rock. In ’74 TRACE released their eponymous debut-album, in ’75 their second entitled “Birds” (Ian Mosley had replaced Pierre van der Linden) and in ’76 their third and final “Ladies”. TRACE is a kind of Dutch equivalent to early ELP but Rick has a wider array of keyboards, including Hammond B3 organ, Hohner clavinet and pianet, ARP – and EMI synthesizers, harpsichord, Solina string-ensemble, Mellotron and church organ. He even used the sound of a bagpipe! The music is a treat for fans from bands like The NICE, ELP, TRIUMVIRAT and early LE ORME. Despite good albums, great concerts and worldwide recognition, Trace didn’t work out the high expectations and the ‘supertrio’ dissolved in the late Seventies. Nowadays Jaap van Eik is chief-editor from the technical based music magazine Music Maker and Rick is after many years again on tour with a new EKSEPTION line-up, including a magnificent digital church organ and his wife on vocals.
The first two albums “Trace” and “Birds” (released on CD with bonustracks by Musea Records) deliver exciting, often sumptuous, keyboard driven symphonic rock: the mainly instrumental music is loaded with virtuosic keyboard runs, swirling Hammond organ and majestic Mellotron eruptions from wizard Rick van der Linden, supported by a powerful and propulsive rhythm-section. In my opinion the tracks on “Birds” sound more elaborate and refined. The epic composition “King-bird” (featuring Jaap van Eik on electric guitar) showcases the hugh potential of TRACE: dazzling keyboard runs, many changes of climate and dynamic interplay. The third album “Ladies” is a lacklustre effort, the band was running out of ideas. This record turned out to be their swansong.