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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
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Beyond the Turning
By Heidi Anne Breyer
Label: Winterhall Records
Released 8/28/2012
Beyond the Turning tracks
1. Farewell
2. World Without End
3. My Peace Piece
4. Rive Droite
5. The Long way Home-Passage 1
6. Eight Steps Free
7. Tea and Sympathy
8. The Long way Home-Passage 2
9. Moondancing
10. May I Suggest
11. Joy of the Road
12. Adungu IInspiration
13. Beyond the Turning
14. The Long Way Home-Passage 3
Here we Go Again
Contemporary pianist Heidi Anne Breyer surprised me with her new album, Beyond the Turning. I was lulled into a sense of awe and admiration by her last work, Another Place and Time. On this one however, even though I do not have a rating higher than excellent, she is getting it. There is something about her piano compositions that is jazzy, bluesy, and earthy. Most of them are soothing, but then they can be incredibly thought provoking as well. I sit and listen and I wonder where that came from?

Take for instance the first track on the album called, Farewell. How can you start out with farewell? Rather easily obviously. She starts with an unassuming piano riff and then in the background the subtle sound of David Cullen's electric guitar floods the senses for counterpoint. Then I realize it is not a goodbye, but a turn of the page. So starts a new era.

Heidi Anne has so much talent on her fourteen track album that is hard to keep track without a program. Ubiquitous cellist Eugene Friesen and cerebral vocalist Samite joins Heidi Anne on the melancholy tune World Without End. It is a world without end, but not without troubles. The thoughts for peace and love live symbiotically with the notes of this song.

There are many times in my life when I have chosen the long way home just for a little quiet time before the second wave of an energetic family filled my day, but I always looked forward to encounter. I guess it was what is now called "me time", although I lacked a label for it. Heidi Anne's tune The Long Way Home Passage 1 is a retrospective written in reverse order seeing that it was one of her first works. Then we come to the present and Passage 2 caps off the experience like opening a door. Once again the music is comforting, but pensive.

May I Suggest is a true vocal and one of the album's best tracks. Originally penned by Susan Werner, the soft ballad is sung by Heidi Anne Breyer in a sweet contralto. I do not know much about Werner, but I can tell you that the song is deeply moving and full of hope. It is the wish perhaps of a mother, giving advice and encouragement to a child ravaged by the times. It is a song you would want to sing to your own children tomorrow.

One of my favorite literary characters, Frodo Baggins, inspires the song Joy of the Road. The advice given to Frodo is no different that the sentiment in Ferris Buller's Day Off or the wisdom of Lao Tzu, as in, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Michael Manring's well-known fretless bass and Heidi Anne's carefree piano score team up to give us the advice and a push in the right direction.

Beyond the Turning, the title tune, is my favorite for a variety of reason. I often choose the road less traveled and the hidden path. It gets me in trouble sometimes, but I choose to live my life on my own terms. With the adroit help of Jill Haley and her English horn, Heidi Anne's song suggests that it is perfectly acceptable to go and explore what is around the corner, beyond the turning. Many choose to have their feet glued to the straight and narrow, but they never meet with adventure. It is not something that you can do on a computer or a smart phone.

The album closes with The Long Way Home Passage 3 and it is a fitting end to the experience. It has the ring of Passage 1 for a bit, but then segues into its own theme. It is a emotional ending, but hopefully it is not really the end, just a detour on the road.

I give Heidi Anne Breyer's Beyond the Turning my highest recommendation for those that like piano that has more than just notes grouped together to make sound. This is sweat and tears mixed with life and music. The brew is phenomenal.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 1/20/2013
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