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A Piano Story by Jim Pearce
- posted by Donna on 4/11/2018
If you enjoy good, instrumental, very melodic piano music, you would be hard-pressed to find a better new album than A PIANO STORY by Jim Pearce who has composed and recorded music for more than 300 television shows including “Saturday Night Live,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Parenthood,” “The Mentalist,” “Empire,” “Blue Bloods,” “90210” and “Pawn Stars,” among others. These compositions are not only impressive musically, but also extremely entertaining. The music on this piano album includes light strings, a few woodwinds and some percussion. It is reflective of his TV soundtrack career because these instrumental tunes are cinematic, melodic, catchy and highly-enjoyable. The pieces are short and fun. Some of the music is joyous and light-hearted, a few tunes are moody, some are love themes, and others jubilant and positive. All are heartfelt and inspire repeated listenings.
Rating: Excellent
Rising by Vicente Avella
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 4/10/2018
A wonderful collection of breath-taking music
The supreme smooth talents of Vicente Avella are back, and this time he explores the realm of Piano with instrumentation on this his latest release entitled Rising.
I first came across Vicente back in 2013 with his All the Days of My Life release, now with some delightful string and orchestral sections he powers back with a glorious album, one which contains cinematic styled tracks like Yours and then the long form and deeply expressive opus of, For Always.
The title track Rising is incredibly impressive and Avella manifests something so moving and intriguing here, within a mystical weave of notes that is truly sublime, whilst creating a modernistic feel with the strings and piano, all in total symbiosis of tone.
With sun kissed tracks like the inspiring and quite beautiful Daybreak and the dramatic determination of Relentless, this album is always going to be a winner, as it contains something for literally everyone.
Everything has a melody that seems so familiar and its alternation between minor and major made this a total hit for me. While the chilled back beat of I’m OK gave us that easy like Sunday morning feel.
As a composer Avella has grown in leaps and bounds, you only have to take a listen to compositions like Turning Point, which has a stunning elevation in power and intensity, then the longest track off the release at over 10 minutes entitled Looking Up At The Sky, which in total honesty is the most beautiful piece off this delightful collection, the intricacy here is sublime and this dramatic symphony of grandeur, is Avella at his very best.
The last two offerings off the release are equally as striking and very inspiring to listen to, the crescendo filled Beyond is a winner by a mile, and contains some of the finest build and construction you will ever hear on a composition regardless of the genre.
Avella finishes this latest project off with a clever arrangement called Turning Off The Noise. This is the ultimate ending for you to just simply drift off into a dream filled world of ambience and bliss.
Rising by Vicente Avella is not just an impressive return for the artist, it’s a wonderful collection of quite breath-taking compositions, which contain passion, power, sensitivity and soul; this is one album you are really not going to want to miss under any circumstance.
Rating: Excellent
Serenity II: More Peaceful Music on the Chapman Stick by Michael Kollwitz
- posted by Dyan Garris on 4/10/2018
Serenity II - Michael Kollwitz
Following the successful 2017 release of the album “Serenity,” Michael Kollwitz has done it again with his 2018 album release, “Serenity II.” This is his 22nd album and his 2nd album release in the New Age genre. Kollwitz’s instrument is the unique and unusual Chapman Stick, which he describes as “the perfect marriage between piano and guitar.” Kollwitz composed and performed all 16 tracks on “Serenity II.” The album is extraordinarily serene – aptly named – and melodic, speaking to us of gentle, warm breezes and flowing, peace inside and out.

The album opens with the rich and mellow, “The Presence.” Graceful and elegant, with a smoothly fluid melody, it’s soul-soothing and memorable. “Wrapped in Love” on track 2 follows suit, and we may find ourselves wanting to stay in this harmonic, tranquil space forever. Yes, I think I will.

Exploring further, and finding every song on this album to be stunningly beautiful, “One With Nature,” track 11, is a personal favorite; a dreamy composition with a soft flute underlay. Track 12, “Shaman’s Cave,” is most wonderful, with intricate, delicate, and transportive nuances. “Easy Does It,” on track 13 is just that. Easy, laid-back, and effortlessly peaceful. Although it was really hard to choose, “Breaking Free,” track 14, is my definitive favorite on the album. The mix here is gorgeous, making a lush and languid landscape for perfect relaxation. “Beyond the Clouds,” track 15, perfectly conveys a heavenly feel with an ethereal melody and whispy underlay. The album closes out with the facile and eloquent “Way of Knowledge,” which is just over 4 minutes of pure bliss.

“Serenity II” is just the right amount of everything on every single track, and the perfect addition to any contemporary New Age album collection. Timeless and utterly effortless, “Serenity II” by Michael Kollwitz is the ultimate oasis of true serenity. Highly recommended and a “must have.” — Dyan Garris for New Age
Buy “Serenity II” by Michael Kollwitz here:

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