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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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Safe in Your Arms
By Scott Cossu
Label: Heart Dance Records
Released 8/7/2015
Safe in Your Arms tracks
1. Safe in Your Arms
2. Angel Steps
3. Fawn
4. Little Sunshine Girl
5. Purple Mountain
6. Sweet Pea Lullaby
7. Gwenlaise
8. Starlit Walk
9. A Child's Eyes
10. Akaka Falls
11. Christo's Theme
12. Sanctuary
Can you play my song again, daddy?
I have a number of New Age pianist Scott Cossu's albums. After all, he is a substantial cornerstone in the foundation of the genre. I have the recording Islands that came out in '84 on cassette and I transferred it to CD so I could keep on playing it before I wore it out. But I believe the disc is showing wear. Even as a newcomer he had success with his music. The album She Describes Infinity hit the charts in 1987, something this kind of music does not do very often. He has just released a new collection of heart-driven tunes called Safe in Your Arms. Just after a few bars, I could tell this was a labor of love. Family will do that to you and frankly, there is no stronger, nor more persuasive muse then the smile of a little girl. Cossu has hovered around many genres over the years, but his jazz influenced contemporary music stands tall. Scott is accompanied on the recording by the talents of Ann Lindquist on alto flute, John Croarkin on flute and harmonicas and Van Manakas on piano.

In my mind the title track Safe in Your Arms opens the album like looking at a faded photograph album. The colors may have paled over the years, but the memories are still strong and vibrant. The piano and flute take turns telling the story of how the promises were kept even though they might not have been spoken aloud.

Imagine a waltz written for tiny feet and swaying tempo. Angel Steps is picture of a giant of a father looking down at the baby girl clinging to his fingers and rocking on his big, black shoes. He sees a heart that is lighter than downy feathers and a giggle that is all music.

I live at the base of the Smokey Mountains, so any song about mountains gets me. Scott's rendition of Purple Mountain is no exception. His song came on the player on a rainy day. The clouds promised more than rain and the thunder resonated with purpose. But just as the day was set to retire, the sun broke through the cloudy gray sky and the landscape took on colors of mauve and gold. Yes, they were purple mountains before me and the song played on, the only comfort at the moment.

Gwenlaise is my favorite on the album. It is one of his earlier works and it came out around 1986 on Windham Hill Records. There is something about the tone of the music of that era that makes me nostalgic for the then burgeoning genre. No one could accurately describe the music back then, but everyone knew how it made them feel. Calm, peaceful, and whole.

You leave Hilo and drive over the "singing bridge" and head up the Hamakua Coast. Just about ten miles mauka, that is, on the mountain side, you go down past the banyan trees, push through the trees ferns and go down the well-worn path and there Akaka Falls. Behold a spectacular waterfall that glistens in the sunlight making rainbows in the mist. Scott's piano and the flute make the journey a magical one as the music invites to you explore one of Hawaii's greatest treasures. Don't forget to look up for the tree orchids that hide everywhere. The Big Island of Hawaii is so full of wondrous niches to explore, you'll never run out of awe for them.

Scott's albums always seem to offer a little musical guidance, so from his 1990 CD Switchback, Sanctuary, the final tune on Safe in Yours Arms is a fitting conclusion. It is a place we look for all our lives and we find it in the most unusual places. I find it among the notes of the piano, guitar and flute of this flowing melody. It says to me, "Take your rest pilgrim, for tomorrow is another day."

Scott Cossu's recording is a musical form of gratitude for a life blessed with family, friends and opportunities that made his world bigger and better. With every note, however, he pays it forward.
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 2/26/2016
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