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Reflected In A Flowing Stream
By Kathryn Kaye
Label: Self Released
Released 1/1/2017
Reflected In A Flowing Stream tracks
1. A Lark in the Last Light of Day
2. As Seasons Change
3. Procession of Moon and Stars
4. The Stillness Before Dawn
5. No Reason Not to Dance
6. Winter's Deepest Sleep
7. As Summer Fades to Fall
8. April Rain
9. A Shower of Summer Nights
10. Reflected in a Flowing Stream
11. Arctic Night
Kathryn Kaye - Reflected in a Flowing Stream
Pianist Kathryn Kaye once again, as she has on every recording, displays an uncommon grace and elegant simplicity on Reflected In A Flowing Stream. Kaye's music is suffused with not just ear-pleasing melodicism but also straightforward sincerity, untarnished by the need to show off through pianistic pyrotechnics. The warmth woven into Kaye's playing has been one of her calling cards since her first release, Dreaming Still (2011), and it's this musical characteristic that continues to set her apart from many of her contemporaries. Reflected…is a bit darker at times than her previous albums, not in any kind of off-putting fashion, but in a more introspective way, some of the songs here are like delving deep into memory and perhaps recalling harder times. Kaye's romanticism (heard in abundance in 2016's There Was A Time) is still present on some tracks here, so if that trait is what draws you to her music, have no fear. In addition, a more pronounced classical influence can sometimes be heard, not necessarily overt, but woven into the fabric of a piece nonetheless. As on past recordings, the album was recorded at Imaginary Road studios with assistance from the production team of Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, as well as appearances from their stable of guest stars: Eugene Friesen (cello), Tony Levin (bass), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Jill Haley (English horn), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Jeff Haynes (percussion) as well as Tom Eaton (bass and accordion) and Ackerman (guitar).

Two of the eleven tracks are solo piano and Kaye's deft touch on the ivories is obviously in the spotlight on each of them. Kaye also plays around a little with time signatures, such as on the opening "A Lark in the Last Light of Day," where she flits between energetic flourishes of keyboard runs and sparse notes enveloped by moments of silence. "No Reason Not To Dance" showcases a lighter side of the artist's musical persona, as the cheerful melody and uptempo pace could indeed induce one to get up and perhaps do a few carefree twirls on the floor. A severe counterpoint is the next track. "Winter's Deepest Sleep," although the somber mood here is actually buoyed by the tenderness of the melody, so while the title might hint at something sad, instead, the track feels peaceful and, appropriately enough, reposeful. A more somber take on the seasons can be heard on "As Summer Fades to Fall," which carries more than a hint of gentle unforced sadness, even though the music also has a subtle urgency to it at times, as if Kaye is trying desperately to hold onto summer's delights but even as she tries to do so, fall advances steadfastly and with increasing rapidity. "Arctic Night" closes the album on a sedate note, laced with a subtle sense of the ominous, Friesen's cello casting a shadow over the already darkly-tinted piano melody.

Kathryn Kaye is a musical treasure and she is one of my favorite pianists recording today. She's at the top of her game here, both playing and composing. Her music invites both close, intent listening as well as serving as a wonderful backdrop to day-dreaming, relaxing late at night, or taking an inward journey to memory and reflection. Reflected In A Flowing Stream will definitely captivate her many fans, I'm sure of it, and hopefully it will win over a few more as well.
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 1/2/2017
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