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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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Feast of Joy & Love
By Laura Sullivan
Label: Sentient Spirit Records
Released 3/30/2007
Feast of Joy & Love tracks
1. Starters: Bouquet of Bach (Medley of Jesu of Man's Desirign & Minuet in G)   
2. Starters: Café des Artistes   
3. Starters: Waltzing with Beethoven (Adaptation of Sonata Pathetique, served for 2)  
4. First Course: Greensleeves   
5. First Course: Pinot Noir   
6. First Course: Morning in the Meadow   
7. Second Course: Albinoni’s Secret Smile (Arrangement of Adagio, Giazotto & Albinoni)  
8. Second Course: Memories of the Ice Cream Truck   
9. Second Course: Porch Swing Night Romance   
10. Dessert: Shalaelah  
11. Dessert: A’la M’Ode to Joy (Interpretation of Ode to Joy, Beethoven)  
12. Dessert: Last Kiss   
Sumptuous Music
I know a work of love when I hear one. Contemporary pianist and composer Laura Sullivan does not say it outright, but the love on this album is for someone special. Feast of Joy & Love is a well-crafted romantic album that celebrates a bond that no man can put asunder. Shamelessly borrowing from classical masters and infusing the recording with her own original music Laura offers a musical repast that is only for lovers. New lovers, old lovers (like me) and lovers that have memories to relive or create. The music is intricate yet light with a touch of whimsy and passion. Lots of passion. The order of the album is set up like a bill of fare to a musical brunch. Appetizer, two courses and a desert fill your senses with a tuneful five-star banquet. You can read Laura’s bio on my other reviews of her albums, but this is about the music.

Bouquet of Bach is one of the Starters and full of surprises. Laura Sullivan sings! Her soft, echoing voice graces a fascinating adaptation of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and she does a splendid job on it. Cafe des Artistes is a warm, sunny seat along the Seine. Ah, Paris. It is for lovers. It is a bit of a walk to the Place D'Etoile, but holding hands it is well worth it. Waltzing with Beethoven is influenced by his Sonata in C Minor, Pathetique. For some reason the tune comes out pastoral under Laura’s performance, but is beautifully rendered.

The first course includes Greenleeves, Pinot Noir and Morning in the Meadow. On Greensleeves once again we hear a wonderful vocal with layer upon layer of seraphic voices. Pinot Noir is a bluesy, sexy pas de deux that lasts way into the night after all the candles have been melted and the sun peeks up from the horizon. It is a song that says, "I just want to hold you and never let go" and hopefully, the earth will keep on turning for one minute more. Morning in the Meadow replete with nature sounds has Laura at her best. Her piano speaks volumes on a flawless composition of nascent beauty.

The Second Course has Albinoni's Secret Smile, Memories of the Ice Cream Truck, and Porch Swing Night Romance. Tomaso Albinoni was noted for writing over 50 operas and his lush instrumental music. His Adagio is world famous and Laura takes the familiar and renews it with a sultry vocal and warm tempo. Where I lived as a child the tinkling of recorded bells brought a big, white boxy truck and frozen treats. Like the pied piper, we followed the truck until our nickels were traded for summertime bliss. Hot, sunny days, pick-up baseball and the public swimming pool at the park are memories that Laura dredges in her delightful tune. Bright stars punch holes in the black velvet sky, fireflies are flying just beyond your grasp and the creaking of the porch swing seems to beat in rhythm to two hearts. Porch Swing Night Romance brings back the evenings when dad was peaking through the curtain and mom just smiled.

On Desert we hear Shalealah, which is my favorite tune on the album, A’la M’Ode to Joy and Last Kiss. Shalealah, an original composition featuring haunting vocals and a phonetic language. The lead is engaging and the melody dreamy, a young heart’s fantasy in music. Her Ode to Joy tribute is bright piano work was a great deal of expression. Last Kiss is well, melancholy. If parting is such a sweet sorrow, then the light will never break upon yonder window. Laura's solo keyboarding is outstanding as she allows the piano to weep for the sad farewell. But there is always tomorrow.

Laura Sullivan has outdone herself on this purely romantic album. It is a musical celebration of passion that only lovers can know. When you hear this music, you will know that love is to be shared in order to be requited.
Rating: Very Good +   Very Good +
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/15/2007
 
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