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A Piano Story by Jim Pearce
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 3/29/2018
Filling all of your musical desires
Today brought with it an abundant layer of sunshine and warmth, and a real feel good, spring is here mood about the day, as such I was fortunate enough to find the latest album by Jim Pearce called A Piano Story on my desk for a review, which turned out to be the perfect soundtrack for this day for me.
So let’s take a sojourn within the realms of this new release with the artist, and begin our voyage of sound with the very pleasant opener entitled Tender Story. The soft and delicate performance here by Pearce is sublime and is so redolent of the subject matter, it is truly moving.
The resonance of energy has changed and we now have a real empowering moment, in fact an a moment of Uplifting Piano is upon us, the tempo here raises the rhythms and brings us a positive piece as we move deeper into the realms of the release.
The Old Neighbourhood has a certain feeling of reminiscence about it that is attractive; there is a slight Jazz motif, but one that mixes well with the contemporary flavour of the composition. We could imagine roaming old haunts and playgrounds to this one, the strings here manifest a real energy of remembrance too.
The fluency of the keyboards on Beautiful Moment is quite moving, Pearce creates something magical on this arrangement, one which bristles with reveries of the past and present, mingling together to bring us something truly memorable and at times quite emotive as well.
On A Leap of Heart, we have a piece that has lightness about its construction, a certain hope filled narrative of giving oneself to the moment, this sun kissed twinkling of musical brilliance, is a really refreshing point to have reached in the album, and one extremely well placed on it.
Preludial Moon is our next doorway of music we must enter, and you will be glad of this new room of tone and sound, the performance on piano and added instrumentation builds a really beautiful short form composition for us, one that seems to just hover and float around us with consummate ease.
We now have this symbiosis with strings and piano on The Years Gone By, but there is also a very intricate piece that deserves multiple listens, it has a hint of Jazz, a smooth orchestral flavour, with a mixture of flute and also a lush ethereal energy about its overall construction too.
We continue of our journey with Jim Pearce with the composition Deep In Your Eyes, the piano gets us underway with a strong and meaningful narrative, you can enjoy a level of musical sincerity here that is quite charming to listen to.
Hymn to Rain takes us on, and I for one hope the gods on Mount Olympus are listening to this one as we need loads! This is an almost processional motif that has its roots in a hymnal style, but transcends even that.
Ecstatic Musing is our next port of call, here Pearce, probably better known for his Jazz and TV offerings, has produced a perfect almost idyllic starting point, and falling nicely into the new age and piano with instrumentation genres, fondly known as contemporary instrumental music with ease, this light hearted reverie is simply divine.
Twilight Reveries is a charming piece, very easy and calming as befits that time of day, and the laid back tempo creates a soothing narrative with piano and keyboards that will lull us into a peaceful sleep.
My Heart is Yours, well that’s not a statement, but the title of the next track and a more honest and loving piece you will find hard to discover. There is a delicacy about the string sections within this composition that seem to almost dance in a symbiotic way with the piano.
Now we come across a most curious title and this next opus is entitled Clouds and Bicycles. This is a most clever track indeed and manifests the sense of onward movement with great skill and attention; this is one of those, riding down country roads, with the sun on your face, wind in your hair, happy tracks, which will give the listener freedom and a blissful sense of floating on clouds of tone to enjoy.
Dark Mood Sets, the next arrangement off the album, really highlights the talents of Pearce the pianist, and the mood set here is a lush but reflective moment of musical magic. One could visualise sitting by a window on a dour day, watching the never ending rain fall on the glass, creating puddles of tears on the ground below, a sombre, but artistic offering can be found here.
The longest track off the album at well over four minutes also happens to be the penultimate one and is up next, it’s called You Are My Sun and Moon. With a turn of the switch, Pearce drops into his more familiar back yard of Jazz, and produces one very smooth and warm offering that will ease the listener further into this musical voyage of tranquillity.
My favourite track off the release also happens to be the final one, it is entitled Hope Breaks Out, there is a wonderful sense of a new world or dimension trying to form within this offering and all created in just under two amazing minutes.
Piano Story by Jim Pearce is an album that will caress the musical senses and create pockets of harmonious peace each time you voyage within the contents of the release. The artist has built a dimension of warmth and radiance on Piano Story, which will full fill each and every corner of your musical desires.
Rating: Excellent
Mountains Made of Shadow, Anthems Made of Light by Dan Kennedy
- posted by Steve Sheppard on 3/29/2018
One of his most inspiring albums ever
I have admired the work of Dan Kennedy for years now and with his partnership on Bloom Road with David Rose, something exceptional was born into the world of music. Well Dan is back once more, this time providing us, the ever eager listener, with a piano based release of supreme quality.
What a better way to start the album Mountains Made of Shadow, Anthems Made of Light, than with one of the most tender, but also most descriptive offerings I have heard from the artist entitled Chilly Morning. One could imagine with ease, waking to the start of the new day, pulling back the curtains, opening the windows and feeling the coldness of a new day, but one that reminds us we are very much alive.
On Give It All Away a raising of energy can be found; a piece that has a wonderful flow about its arrangement, but also an exciting sense of freedom about its musical nature, this lively and happy composition contains power, fluency and joy, all wrapped in one heck of a sublime performance.
Another reflective arrangement can be heard on Wintergreen, the performance here is filled with memory and hope, and one can really detect Kennedy’s classical training here. This is so beautiful played and with such a delicate level of emotion contained within too.
Backstory has a melody and theme that will become a true legend in the solo piano genre, the minor structures brings a chill to the back of the neck and the emotive essences makes this one of the best arrangements of this style I have heard for ages. The repeating motif narrates for us a colourful progression, one that contains the ups and downs of life, beautifully portrayed in this quite powerful composition.
The combination of dark and light is superbly thought-out on this album, as now we once more raise the rhythms with the light and airy piece Souvenirs. Once more Kennedy creates a full and memorable melody, and then builds a musical box of many memories within a web of an outstanding solo piano performance.
The half way mark has been reached and we find a vast and lush arrangement called After the Heartache is Gone. The sadness of loss starts to leave us now and the pain seems to be subsiding, leaving little pockets of light and hope within the mood filled moments of our lives. Kennedy has really stepped up to the plate here; this is a true heart on the sleeve performance that may give the listener a moment of emotional healing.
California is now upon us and this musical moment of reverie is sublimely created by the artist. The theme is rich, but also light in style, there can also be found here, a feeling of slow but steady movement towards a goal that is about to be achieved. There are so many tunes here that you may find yourself whistling during your day, and that is the mark of an excellent composition, and yes, this is another one to add to that collection.
A favourite of mind, among many, is the quite picturesque Ennio; with the backdrop of a very gentle synth pad we now journey through a track via the piano, one that is so smooth but vast, but very attractive in its energy and build. Ennio as a piece is almost like floating on the clouds of tone, free from all that tethers us, and thoroughly enjoying the moment of peace and tranquillity.
We now move to the deeper regions of the album and come across a truly pretty arrangement called Wildflower. This has a vast mountainous feel to the arrangement; one could see a vista of beautiful wild flowers all dancing on the wind, to the tones of this track. This is one of those pieces of music you cannot help but fall in love with.
Implying Flying is our next offering; there is a duel aspect to this composition that I found fascinating. The construction is clever, as you are never truly sure where you are going, the dance from dark into light and back is compelling, and drives the piece forward with a certain narrative of intensity that is completely addictive.
The penultimate offering is Allelu; this aged melody will no doubt take some listeners back to their early upbringings of a religious nature. While the last arrangement on the album finishes our journey with a flourish and is entitled, The Fire Within. This is an absolutely classy way to end the new release and once more Dan Kennedy manifests something outstanding for us to leave this musical voyage with, the perfect end piece, which seems to sum up the entire release with ease, listen particularly to the change in pattern and form on this brilliant opus.
Mountains Made of Shadow, Anthems Made of Light by Dan Kennedy must be Kennedy’s finest work to date; he has allowed the creative muse to come forward and take him over completely. This album has moments of emotional genius, melody’s we will never forget, and a time for reflection and happiness. Dan Kennedy has now lain at our table, one of the most inspiring albums he has ever produced.
Rating: Excellent
Moonlight In Empty Rooms by Heidi Anne Breyer
- posted by Dyan Garris on 3/28/2018
Moonlight in Empty Rooms
Moonlight In Empty Rooms by Heidi Breyer
A Musical Study of the Art of Alexander Volkov
Album review by Dyan Garris for New Age CD.com
This is an undeniably exquisite Neo-classical piano and violin album by award winning composer and pianist, Heidi Breyer. Her 5th album, “Moonlight in Empty Rooms” is twelve tracks, each inspired by the original paintings of her husband, Russian-American oil painter, Alexander Volkov. The violin performances on the album are by Charlie Bisharat, an American Grammy® Award-winning violinist. Bisharat has performed with Yanni, John Tesh, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, and many other notables. The album was produced at Imaginary Road Studios, home to Grammy® winning guitarist, producer, and founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman.
Volkov describes his fine art as “. . .always a story of light traveling through darkness.” “Moonlight in Empty Rooms” is a superb reflection and interpretation of that story, and like rich icing on a luscious cake, it’s the perfect counterpart.
A booklet and a DVD both come along with the physical album. The booklet contains images of the artwork with inspirational snippets. The DVD is comprised of 12 videos; footage of Volkov’s artwork set to Breyer’s exceptional music.
Track 1, “An Unfinished Conversation,” opens the album brilliantly and sets the stage for the promise of much more to come. Passionate, emotional, and tender, this feels like the story of a meaningful soul relationship that lasts not only throughout this lifetime, but through eternity, with always more to learn and experience no matter where the road of life leads.
Track 3 is the charming, “Autumn in Bruges.” Bruges is a picturesque town in Belgium with a rich medieval history. “Autumn in Bruges” is captivating with its cascading nuances conjuring up images of cobblestone streets, romantic canals, and bell towers.

“Moonlight in Empty Rooms” the title track, is full of graceful movement and ambiance, the piano layered sumptuously throughout with the violin. Each nuance and subtlety is carefully coaxed out of hiding and brought forth to blend together in perfect harmony, like expert brushstrokes on a canvas begin to form a masterpiece. You can feel the resultant light right in your heart.

The composition, “Rainy Day,” on track 7, is exquisitely beautiful and hauntingly so. It’s a favorite of mine on the album. The violin performance is exceptional, forming a lush tapestry with Breyer’s gentle, evocative, and expressive piano performance. There is something that really speaks to the depths of the soul here. This is peace. Deep and satisfying peace.

“End of Summer” winds up the album and reminds us, similarly as in track 1, that even as the light of summer fades, there is always more to come. There is always the story.

We love it. Highly and most definitely recommended.


Buy the CD here: http://moonlightalbum.com/
Artist website: www.HeidiBreyer.com

Rating: Excellent
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