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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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By Andy Iorio
Label: Self Released
Released 11/12/2015
II tracks
1. Opening
2. Burn
3. Descent
4. Embers
5. Silhouttes
6. Rush
7. Waltz
8. Amour
9. Reniniscing
10. Unspoken
11. Lament
12. Closing
Stir the Cauldron
Andy Iorio is the best kind of alchemist. Yes, he is a composer and pianist, but his talent lies in perfectly blending classical elements with contemporary components to achieve a sound that is pleasing on multiple levels. His latest album, II is twelve tracks of these amalgamations that sound like musical postcards. These cards are black & white to the eye, but to the ear, the heart, and the soul they have about a million shades of emotion. There is a cinematic feel to some of the tracks and a nod to classical roots in others. The music is mostly piano with an artist’s touch of strings where necessary. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that he reminds somewhat of Ludovico Einaudi. That’s a good thing. The album, like a journey, has a definite beginning and ending, but from start to finish, it is music that mollifies the senses with pleasure with just a hint of melancholy.
Opening is literally, the beginning of the album and what a bold choice to begin. Strong piano melody and story line make it memorable. Images come to me like the opening of a book cover, the beginning of a film or the rise of the sun. It is the start of something big.
Descent has physical movement to the music. I can feel the rope lowering me into the darkness. I swing clockwise as I fall, but I’m not really falling. I am being lowered into the depths of a new discovery. There is light below me.
Andy’s tune Silhouettes did have a definite Einaudi sense to it, but at the same time Erik Satie could have been standing over his shoulder. It is by tempo a waltz, but the melody is made up of petite explosions of light and color. It makes glowing shadows in the night. It is shadows that make us honest, for they replicate our true selves. This is one of my favorites.
Amour is a solo piano number, bright and shiny, but there is a subtext here as well. There are times when even though you are deep in love, there is a tiny bit of doubt. Are you strong enough? Are you good enough? Can you make a future? Fortunately, the ultimate answer is “yes” to all and life together is assured. Let us celebrate.
When you have been together for long, long time there is special kind of communication that goes on. It is not just the knowing smiles or the lingering looks. Iorio’s tune Unspoken puts into music all the other little things that pass between lovers that no one else is privy to. You know what they are. Anything can bring on a memory, but every memory is special.
Lament is not just a sad procession of events. It is a song that notes all the memories that were made, the time passed together and a commemoration of those reminiscences. There is a sense of yearning for all of that again and much more.
Closing, the last tune on II is actually sad. It is time to shut the book, acknowledge the end and get ready for twilight. I couldn’t help thinking that this was only a goodbye for now, not forever.

Andy Iorio began playing piano at five years of age. I was just learning how to hold onto those fat crayons at that time. But some people just “get it” and it is apparent that Andy is one of them. He was influenced by the music from the movie "The Never Ending Story" and I can understand that. It is a favorite that I watched a hundred times with my children. A stint at the Berklee College of Music earned him his degree and he went onto scoring films and a multitude of live performances. II is his second foray into recorded music and I for one want to hear more. His evocative performances are what soul needs from time to time to rejuvenate.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 5/3/2016
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