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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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By Joe Heinemann
Label: Self-Released
Released 1/15/2016
Gratitude tracks
1. Lenape  
2. Enduring Hope  
3. For Satie  
4. Sea Dream - Away  
5. Sign Of Spring
6. Longing
7. Solace
8. My Song - Carried Along
9. Gratitude
10. Golden Waves
11. Late At Night
Meeting in the Middle
For Joe Heinemann a trip to the landscape of Vermont pretty much became an epiphany. At that point it became a turning point. Then it changed into a source of inspiration. The landscape is not just mountains, valleys and trees. It is also people, comrades, and kind spirits. All these factors contributed to jazz pianist Joe Heinemann composing music that was somewhat improvised, but ended up polished as well as quite memorable. He attributes the result, his album called Gratitude, to the influences of producer Will Ackerman and Master Engineer Tom Eaton, but let's face facts, it came from deep within Mr. Heinemann.

The first cut is a soft, drifting melody dedicated to the Delaware tribe or the Lenape. If I hear Heinemann's musical dispatch, they are gentle, warm people with a lot to give. They were farmers who were pushed west by the Europeans, but they tried desperately to keep their families intact. The piano tune is somber, but not a dirge. I felt that I was traveling along the challenging path with these great people.

The tune For Satie pulled me in on the first few bars. I am a fan of anything Satie and I remain stalwart in my theory that Erik Satie is the father of impressionist music, even though he was labeled a minimalist. Heinemann embraces the concept that less is more and still manages to make a soft, flowing tune that my mind can wrap around in a daydream haze.

Sign of Spring is a myriad of sounds that come along in the start of each year. It sounds like a few stray raindrops at first, but then the moisture encourages nurturing green as new buds swell and leaves unfold. It is music of growth or refreshment or new beginnings.

Longing a contemporary piece that has a classical provenance and I liked for its old world quality. It is a solid solo work that seems anachronistic in this world of buzzing electronics, but the sentiment is stronger than time. It is the feeling of yearning that weakens the heart like no other sense.

My Song - Carried Along is a light, breezy ballad that it made of many voices. There’s Joe's piano, the main voice that speaks of something carefree and happy. There is the voice of a Eugene Freisen's cello that adds a mature element and Jill Haley's English horn that is the landscape for the piece. I was carried along too.

Gratitude is the centerpiece for the album. The solo rendition is Joe's sentimental thank you for those that believe in him. It is important for those that love you to give you support when needed, but to have it from strangers is another thing altogether. Most do not go looking for a pat on the back, but sometimes a little recognition goes a long way. And every gift of validation must be reciprocated, hence, Gratitude.

The final tune on the eleven track recording is called Late at Night. It was one of my favorites. Writers and musicians are night owls by nature, but so are lovers. The hours between midnight and dawn are stolen moments, cherished for the quiet that permeates the night. Whether the time is chosen for solitude or intimacy, Joe's tranquil, spiraling tune will complement the hours.

I am pleased to know of Joe Heinemann's music. The compositions on this contemporary piano album are plum with emotion, but are completely balanced with remarkable melody. Even after I stopped listened, I could still feel the music echoing inside me. Highly recommended.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 7/18/2016
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