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Binkelman's Corner by Bill Binkelman
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Four Days in My Life
By Louis Colaiannia
Label: Self Released
Released 10/14/2016
Four Days in My Life tracks
1. Aurora's Light
2. By the Sea
3. Waiting for Her
4. Reflections
5. Winter Rose Song
6. Starry Night
7. Winter's Fire
8. Just Now
9. Sea of Stars
10. Moon Over Florence
Louis Colaiannia - Four Days In My Life
Louis Colaiannia returns to the same mellow, gentle sound of his 2014 album Closer on Four Days In My Life, even to the point of having an album cover that resembles the earlier release. I like this idea, frankly, as it resembles how Windham Hill and Narada had a specific visual format for their album covers, too (back in the day, that is)—smart move on the part of this talented pianist and composer, very smart. The music is as impressive as it was on Closer—subtly jazz-inflected piano mediations accented by guest appearances from who could be considered the "standard bearers" in that regard. Yes, I am referring to the Imaginary Road Studios "usual suspects:" Friesen, Bisharat, Wilding, Levin, Haley, Russell Tubbs, Eaton, and two relatively new members: Jim Matus on laoutar (which resembles an acoustic guitar based on my Google image search), and Gus Sebring on French horn. There are no solo piano pieces on the recording, and only one song, "Winter Rose Song," features a solitary guest artist (in that instance, it is Eugene Friesen on cello).

Per the digipack back's liner notes, most of the songs were composed during a four-day period while Colaiannia sat on a beach in Florence, Oregon. There is even a photo of his electric piano and recording gear set up on the sand on the back of the digipack. What a great locale for composing music, what with sunsets, breezes, and waves rolling in. Indicative of the setting, the music here has a rolling, fluid quality to it, but always mellow, with distinct but subtle traces of the pianist's jazz side of his musical persona. Sometimes the jazziness is more overt, as when Premik Russell Tubbs' sax sways gently over the rolling chords of "By The Sea," but plenty of other times, the mood is a bit more plaintive and serene. "Waiting For Her" is a soft ode to romance, tinted with subtle longing but also colored with warm hues of fondness.

Romance actually winds its way throughout much of these ten selections. Not necessarily in the song titles, but certainly in the abundant warmth of the melodies that Colaiannia plays. In the hands of a less-talented piano player, some of these songs might come across as a bit "loungey" not that there is anything wrong with good lounge music as far as I'm concerned. However, the sincerity and commitment that Colaiannia brings to each piece (aided, of course, by the support from the guest artists) sells each and every note and chord. There is a distinction between schmaltzy make-out music and music that is genuinely emotive, romantic, and ideally suited for entertaining a lover, whether over dinner or whatever is your pleasure.

Since this is an Imaginary Road Studio recording, helmed by the dynamic duo of Ackerman and Eaton, do I need to state the obvious about production and engineering quality? Good, because I have extolled their talent and virtue enough already! Oh alright, then —yes, this album sounds fantastic!

From the first note to the last to the final fade-out, Four Days In My Life represents the epitome of what a hybrid of jazz and "that Windham Hill sound" can produce in the right hands. If you are lucky enough to live near a beach, especially one that faces west for sunsets, listen to this album on that beach, and if possible, have your loved one near. Bring a bottle of wine, sit down on the sand and let this perfect musical backdrop merge with nature's beauty. Breathe deep, relax, and rediscover the wonder of romance.
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 1/26/2017
 
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