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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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RJ Lannan's 2012 Holiday Music Reviews - Part I
By V/A
 
Holiday Reviews 2012
So I was thinking maybe this year I am going to make a donation to the Salvation Army. Then I am going to take out my crayons, make a small card, and place it under the tree. On Christmas day, I would open the card and it would remind that everyone needs help now and then. I cannot remember when more people on the planet needed more help than now.

Fortunately, no matter what holiday we celebrate, we have some incredible music that gives us comfort and joy this season. Here are nine gifts of wondrous melodies. I hope you get to take pleasure in this music and I ask that you join with me in wishing peace on earth or a planet of your choice.
- R J Lannan
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Chuck CapeE

In The Spirit Of Christmas II

Self-released (2012)


Chuck Cape's piano offers us a nostalgic look at traditional Christmas fare, but with a flare. His boomy piano obviously has more than the usual number of keys or at least that is what I thought as he brought the carols alive. Interspersed on In the Spirit of Christmas II are his own original works that brighten the mood considerably. Chuck’s rendition of Deck the Halls drew me into his world like a child peeking around the corner at a gift wrap session, but his song Swirls, touched even more deeply. I love watching the snow fall and I have since I was a kid. For me it was a quiet beauty that magically transformed everything it touched, making it clean and white in my darker days. Hymn For the Appalachians is incredibly melodious and became my favorite. I had never heard it before and what a gift it was. Thirteen tracks and I am a believer in Chuck Cape.
- Highly recommended.
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Danny Wright

Just Wright For Christmas

WH Sound Studio (2012)


With a icy tinkling of keys, Danny Wright's first song, Silver Bells chimes like an old memory. It is the sound of a Norman Rockwell painting with its vivid simplicity. One of my favorites on the album is called In Dulci Jubilo and if my Latin serves correctly it means In Sweet Jubilation. It is a traditional German/Latin hymn praising the birth of Jesus. Wright uses not only piano, but accompanying orchestration on the album, but his solo performance of Pie Jesu is outstanding. Danny's performance of The First Noel is heart wrenching. Although the album was first released several years ago, the thirteen tracks of traditional and original songs are as fresh and appealing as new fallen snow on Christmas day.
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Duog Hammer

Noël

Dreamworld Productions (2008)


I remember reviewing pianist Doug Hammer's 2- CD album Travels, Travels - Detour and thinking what a monumental task is was, but his holiday album is no small feat. Noël has seventeen tracks of deliriously nostalgic music and he has an offer in the liner notes to give you more on his website. His opening song, When Christmas Comes To Town from the Polar Express soundtrack is new to me, but set the mood perfectly and I had the look out the window and check the weather as it played on. In The Bleak Midwinter is based on a Christmas poem by Christina Rossetti and is fast becoming one of my favorite holiday songs. The first line reflects the harshness of the land at the time, "In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, in the bleak midwinter, long ago." Doug's piano seems to soften the reality considerably and reminds that the Holy Birth is a time of celebration no matter where we are. Every track is a gem. Great album.
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ISADAR

O Christmas

Mainya Music (2012)


I am new to Isadar's music, but a fan for life. Isadar opens with the traditional hymn Good Christian Men that celebrates the birth of the Savior, "Good Christian men, rejoice with heart and soul, and voice. Give ye heed to what we say: News! News! Jesus Christ is born today." His performance of Still had a jazzy sway to it and it made me smile. His album contains ten tracks of traditional music with more than a little gusto. Greensleeves 2012 was a remarkable track on a traditional tune (with a nod to Liz Story). Song of the Wise Men had that Vince Guaraldi swing to it that made it fun and innovative. The album is all solo piano works that reflect Isadar's well known style of perfection. It made me want to hear more.
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 11/30/2012
 
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