New Album – Panama Piano

Panama PIano Cover

Panama Piano was released on July 10, 2020.

Recorded at the Peace Palace, Sedona, AZ on a Steinway B in the first two weeks of May 2020.

This album was the result of a two week road trip through the country of Panama. It was totally magical. It was inspiring and joyous. Hopefully you will hear it in the music. I approached this album in a similar way to Southwest Solo Piano, with one major difference. For Southwest Solo Piano, I would think about each of the places that we visited, and then improvise music based on those thoughts and feelings. With Panama Piano, I started with an improvisation after considering places and experiences, but instead of recording the improvisations, I would compose the pieces using the ideas and melodies that came up during the improvisation. For more information and photos about my Panama experience and the making of the music on this album, check out the blog entry on this site.

It is also available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora Radio

It is also available for downloading at iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp

All music produced, arranged, composed & performed by Louis Landon
All music published byLandon Creative, Inc. BMI
Louis Landon is a Steinway Artist
Music mastering by Michael McDonald, Eugene, OR
CD cover design by Jamaica Cole and DanLevin.com
Packaging and photos by Louis Landon

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New Single – “Diablo Rojo”

Diablo Rojo Cover

“Diablo Rojo” was released on July 3, 2020. It is a single from the upcoming album, Panama Piano.

It is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora Radio

It is also available for downloading at iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp

This song is about the rogue buses of Panama City and beyond. Diablo Rojo means Red Devil. These are colorfully painted buses with magnesium rims and chrome plated exhaust pipes that roar through the city streets with music blaring. These old U.S. school buses were the only mass transit back in the day. The buses are privately owned and charge $.25 a ride. Apparently with no seat belts or safety, these buses are pretty dangerous and they are being phased out and replaced by normal looking mass transit buses. It is sad that so many of them have been scrapped as each of these buses is uniquely painted and can be seen as works of art.

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New Single – “Casco Viejo”

Casco Viejo Cover

“Casco Viejo” was released on June 26, 2020. It is a single from the upcoming album, Panama Piano.

Stream on Spotify   Apple Music  and  Pandora Radio

Download on Amazon  iTunes and Bandcamp

“Casco Viejo” is another single from the upcoming Panama Piano album. Casco Viejo is Spanish for Old Quarter. This area reminded me of the French Quarter in New Orleans architecturally. It is well known for its dining and nightlife scene with cocktail lounges, rooftop bars, and global restaurants. Approaching this song musically, I connected with the music of the old dance halls of Cuba. The music is definitely old school Latin. I felt like I was channeling that type of music with this song.

 

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New Single – “Las Lajas”

Las Lajas Cover

“Las Lajas” was released on June 12, 2020

Stream on Spotify   Apple Music  and  Pandora Radio

Download on Amazon  iTunes and Bandcamp

“Las Lajas” is a single from my upcoming album, ‘Panama Piano.” It was our second beach experience on our amazing Panamanian road trip.  We took a five minute walk to the beach from our little B&B casita and were blown away by the fact that we were the only ones on the beach for as far as we could see in either direction! We saw living sand dollars and some baby sea snakes when the waves would wash in. It was a fantastic experience and super relaxing. We were filled with openhearted gratitude. 

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Panama: A Dream Road Trip Through the Country and an Album

Volcan baru large

Christine and I were considering places to go for winters, or perhaps even as a place to retire full time. We did some research and were reading a lot of good things about Panama. The more we read about Panama, the more we felt that we needed to actually go there and see what it was like. For me personally, travel is always about exploration and inspiration, and I thought it would also end up inspiring new music.

What we put together was a two week road trip through Panama with a particular focus on Boquete, a small town at the base of Volcan Baru, an active stratovolcano that is also the tallest mountain in Panama.

Our flight was in two parts. First a short flight to Houston where we stayed overnight. From Houston, we flew to Panama City. When we got off the plane in Panama, before going through customs, we had to fill out a form relating to the Corona Virus and if we had visited China. Immediately after deplaning, we were met by a crew of people in full protective wear, masks and temperature guns. They took each person’s temperature. If you had a fever, you didn’t get into the country. Getting through customs took a while in a hot, crowded, smelly room. Not a pleasant Panama welcome.

We headed to the car rental area and went to Thrifty Car Rental where we had a car reserved. The “$25 per week” car that we reserved turned into a $425 rental due to the fact that you have to buy liability insurance in Panama. Credit cards would not cover it.

We started driving towards Panama City, where our hotel was located, and only then found out that Google Maps would not work without internet. So, with Christine navigating, using only our GPS to see where we were, and me trying to stay clear of the insane Panamanian drivers, AND it being Friday rush hour on Carnival weekend, it was a recipe for disaster. What should have taken twenty minutes to get to the hotel, took at least two hours, sometimes totally stopped in traffic for ten minutes or more. When we finally arrived at the hotel, we were relieved to be in a beautiful Marriott hotel that was above our expectations. We spent two days exploring the city before hitting the road.

Rather than describing every detail of our trip, I think it best to discuss Panama Piano, the album that was inspired by our Panamanian experiences. I approached this album in a similar way to Southwest Solo Piano, with one major difference. For Southwest Solo Piano, I would think about each of the places that we visited, and then improvise music based on those thoughts and feelings. With Panama Piano, I started with an improvisation after considering places and experiences, but instead of recording the improvisations, I would compose the pieces using the ideas and melodies that came up during the improvisation.

This is the Panama Piano album cover. We were relaxing in the backyard of Casa Alegria when a misty rain blew through in one particular spot while the sun was blazing. I had never seen such a brilliant rainbow.

Panama PIano Cover

Here are the songs on the album. 

Pan-American Highway

The Pan-American Highway is a 19,000 mile highway that goes from the very southern tip of South America to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. For the most part, it runs north and south, but in Panama, it runs east and west. From Panama City, we headed west to begin our road trip. About a twenty minute drive from our hotel in the financial district of Panama City, we stopped at the Miraflores Visitor Center to see the locks at the Panama Canal. We were fortunate to get there just as an cruiseship was going through.

Panama Canal

From there we headed towards Santiago, a city right in the center of the country. There was construction on the hightway at the beginning, but things began to open up and the highway was a good ride. I got pulled over for speeding at one point, and even though my Spanish gets me by, I pretended that I didn’t speak Spanish. They let me go because my not speaking or understanding them was too problematic. I slowed down after that. Ha! The further we got away from Panama City, the fewer cars and trucks there were on the highway. We saw beautiful countryside with not a whole lot going on in the way of towns along it. The song reflects movement. For me it captured the feeling of our crusing through the country. We had a number of three and four hour streches on the highway. We practiced Spanish a lot of the time we were driving. The drivers were better behaved on the highway than the ones in Panama City.

Playa Santa Catalina

This was our first beach town. We stayed for two nights at a beautiful hotel called Hotel Santa Catalina. It was actually made up of small building with two casita-like rooms in each building. There were hammocks and chairs outside of each room and Christine and I enjoyed a lot of Balboa beers there. This was a very relaxing stay. There was an open-air restaurant and a pool overlooking the beach. The beach was private, but it was not a sandy swimming beach. It was very shallow and rocky. But during low tide, it was fantastic to be able to go way out and look at all the tidepools. The pool was an infinity pool overlooking the ocean. The temperature of the pool water was perfect and we often had the pool to ourselves. The town itself, was very small.

Here is the view from the restaurant and pool at Hotel Santa Catalina. IMG_6832

Here I am enjoiying one of those Balboa beers.Panama hammock 3

Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo is Spanish for Old Quarter. This area reminded me of the French Quarter in New Orleans architecturally. It is well known for its dining and nightlife scene with cocktail lounges, rooftop bars, and global restaurants. Approching this song musically, I connected with the music of the old dance halls of Cuba. The music is definitely old school Latin. I felt like I was channeling that type of music with this song.

This is the cover of the single “Casco Viejo.” Another building in Casco ViejoCasco Viejo Cover

Another building in Casco Viejocasco

Las Lajas

Las Lajas was another beautiful surprise. We had trouble finding our little B&B. What a delight to find our little casita was so much nicer than what we saw in the pictures. This place was run by an Italian man and his wife. We managed to communicate through a Spanish, English and Italian. We took a walk to the beach, which was only about a five minute walk, and were blown away by the fact that we were the only ones on the beach for as far as we could see in either direction! We saw living sand dollars and some baby sea snakes when the waves would wash in. It was super relaxing and we had a fantastic dinner and margaritas at pretty much the only restaurant in town that was open.

Las Lajas beach with no people on it except Christine and me. Las Lajas beach

This is a palm tree that was on the property of the B&B we stayed at. That photo became the cover of the single, “Las Lajas.”Las Lajas Cover

Panama

I think that the reason why I went the direction I did on this song was because of all of the things that we saw and experienced while exploring the country. The music is very celebratory and positive.

Here we are on the Amador Causeway with Panama City in the background.Panama City Amador Causeway

Financial District, Panama CityPanama financial dist

Casa Alegria

Casa Alegria is a B&B. It actually means Joy House. It is located in Boquete and we stayed there for four nights, our longest stay in any one place. It is run by a very nice couple named Dean and Carol.

Pelicans

We saw Pelicans on numerous occasions anytime we were near water. We saw them around Panama City, Playa Santa Catalina and Las Lajas. There was one time in Playa Santa Catalina where I saw over a dozen of them flying in formation. I also videoed one that was diving for food when we were walking on the Amador Causeway in Panama City. That pelican inspired this song. He was flying up and then diving for fish. He would glide along, float up in the air and then dive. He made it look so easy. This song reminds me of Satie’s piano piece, “Gymnopedie”, because of its simpicity and waltz feel.

This is the cover of the “Pelicans” single.Version 2

Boquete

The town is small and beautiful. The restaurants in Boquete were off the charts amazing! Most of them are farm-to-table. We did a fair amount of shopping there at small stores and outdoor markets. We did some exploring driving around the town as well as walking around the town. There were beautiful tropical flowers everywhere. At one point, we witnessed the most glorious rainbow that I took a picture of. That photo ended up as the cover of Panama Piano.

Boquete sign

The Lost Waterfalls

This was a fantastic hike! One of the best! We drove a little north of Boquete to find it. It features three large waterfalls and a pretty rigorous hike which included some areas where ropes were needed to ascend and descend. There was some mud on the trail, but considering this was pretty much a jungle hike, it wasn’t too bad. We had a couple of the waterfalls to ourselves as we had gotten there early. I think the music captures the feeling of running water. I’d like to think that the music is very positive and exciting the way we felt about the hike.

Waterfall

Waterfall 1

Waterfall 2

Cafes de la Luna

When we were in Boquete, we found a coffee plantation at the foot of Volcan Baru that uses biodynamic gardening techniques and actually plants and harvests based on the phases of the moon. They also sun dry their beans. We went on a tour there. What a beautiful place. At the end they made us coffee. Delightful!

Luna 1

Luna 2

Diablo Rojo

This is about the rogue buses of Panama City and beyond. Diablo Rojo means Red Devil. These are colorfully painted buses with magnesium rims and chrome plated exhaust pipes that roar through the city streets with music blaring. These old U.S. school buses were the only mass transit back in the day. The buses are privately owned and charge $.25 a ride. Apparently with no seat belts or safety, these buses are pretty dangerous and they are being phased out and replaced by normal looking mass transit buses. It is sad that so many of them have been scrapped as each of these buses is uniquely painted and can be seen as works of art.

This is the cover of the single, “Diablo Rojo.”Diablo Rojo Cover

Volcan Baru

Volcan Baru is an active stratovolcano that is also the tallest mountain in Panama. I tried to give this piece a very large sound that would reflect the sheer size and beauty of this volcano. Volcan Baru

Sancocho

Sancocho is a spicy chicken soup that we tried for the first time in Panama. Many Latin American countries make variations of this delightful broth. Delicious! Colibri, which means hummingbird in Spanish, was our favorite restaurant in Boquete and had the best Sancocho.

Colibri

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New Single – “Pelicans”

Version 2

“Pelicans” is a single from my upcoming Panama Piano album. It was inspired by a pelican that I videoed when I was walking along the Amador Causeway in Panama City. That pelican inspired this song. I watched as he flew and dove for fish. He made it look so easy. This song reminds me of Satie’s “Gymnopedie” because of its simplicity and waltz feel.

Stream on. Spotify   Apple Music  and Pandora

Download. Amazon  iTunes and Bandcamp

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Two New Album Reviews by Kathy Parsons of mainlypiano.com

Thanksgiving Piano Cover Final  Southwest Solo Piano Cover small 600

Southwest Solo Piano Louis Landon
2020 / Landon Creative, Inc.
56 minutes
I’ve lost track of how many albums pianist/composer Louis Landon has released, but Southwest Solo Piano is the twenty-seventh album of his that I’ve reviewed! A lifelong career musician, Landon has played and performed with some of the best artists in a variety of genres, but it is his original solo piano music that really defines him as an artist. Louis has made his home in the Southwest region of the US for the past several years, and his music has become much freer and more expansive. It is the beauty of the area that inspired the fourteen tracks on this album, and Landon explains his process: “The way that I created the music on this album was by visualizing some of the most beautiful places and then improvising music based on the thoughts and feelings that came up.” The titles of most of the pieces indicate the places that inspired them. The album was recorded at The Peace Palace, Landon’s home recording studio, and then mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ.

Southwest Solo Piano begins with “Agave,” one of my favorites on the album. Inspired by some of the very distinctive plants of the Southwest, the piece has a swiftly-moving flow that is both uplifting and gently energetic. “Antelope Canyon” is more atmospheric and ambient and seems to suggest the shimmering beauty of the heat of the day and how it slows everything to a relaxed pace. Vast and expansive, I really like this one, too! “Apache Trail” is quite different. The left hand keeps a steady drum-like rhythm while the right hand dances freely on the piano keys. Lively, yet darkly mysterious, it has a distinctly Native American feel. “Tuscon” has a light and breezy mood that is both carefree and joyous. The hypnotic “Monsoon” is another favorite. The left hand keeps a steady rhythm while the right hand is much freer and occasionally cascades down the piano keyboard to emulate the dramatic, heavy rainfall. “Bandelier National Monument” is named for an area in New Mexico that preserves the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloan’s. The homes are dwellings built into rocky hillsides and the surrounding areas are majestic. The piece creates a lovely blend of mystery and reverence – and yet another favorite! “House Mountain” is near Sedona, AZ, and the piece with that title is slow and expressive, conveying awe and wonder. “The Grand Canyon” closes the album with a bluesy gospel feeling that I makes me smile every time. Big and celebratory, it’s the perfect close to a great album!

If you’ve never visited the Southwest, this album will certainly kindle your desire to see it for yourself. If you have been there, Landon’s musical imagery will take you right back! The album is available from www.LouisLandon.com, Amazon, iTunes and many streaming sites. Both thumbs up!

April 19, 2020
Thanksgiving Piano
Louis Landon
2020 / Landon Creative, Inc.
53 minutes
Thanksgiving Piano is the second solo piano album by pianist/composer Louis Landon to be released in 2020. Several of the fourteen original tracks have a theme of gratitude and some are about the fall season. The album was recorded over a five-month period at The Peace Palace, Landon’s home recording studio, on his Steinway grand piano. Tim Jessup mastered all but one track on the album and the piano sound is somewhat brighter (but never harsh) than on previous recordings – especially at the high end of the piano keyboard; Michael McDonald in Eugene, OR mastered the last track. Landon is an avid outdoorsman and much of his music has an open, expansive feeling reflective of his time hiking in the Sedona, AZ area as well as other parts of the Southwestern US and beyond. He calls himself the “Pianist For Peace,” which is also strongly indicated in his music.

Thanksgiving Piano begins with “Thanksgiving,” a smooth and mellow reflection on what we are most grateful for in our lives – and a lovely way to start the album. “Autumnal Equinox” has a light and breezy feel while celebrating the majesty of the fall colors and seasonal changes. “Rocking Chair” is one of two singles that came out before the release of the full album and has a relaxed, easy-going spirit that could easily serve as a lullaby – or at least an invitation to sit and “rock a spell.” “Contentment” is even more relaxing, expressing the warmth and calm of inner peace with a gently hypnotic left hand pattern and a freer, more dynamic right. “Melancholia” is one of my favorites. More pensive than dark, it has a quiet energy and a feeling of moving forward that I really like. “It’s Complicated” is my favorite piece on the album. Strongly melodic, it seems to be telling a story – undoubtedly a rather complicated one! I love the crossovers into the deep bass of the piano as well as the sincerity of the melody. “Friendship” is something to always be thankful for and the piece with that title expresses the easy openness that happens with a true friend that we love and trust. In “Inner Space,” Landon uses the damper pedal on the piano to create the feeling of vast space. Played mostly in the upper octaves of the piano, the piece is ambient and spacious as well as peaceful. I also really like “Always Moving Forward” with its uncomplicated left hand pattern and more emotive right. “After the Rain Forward” has a beautiful moodiness that’s on the melancholy side. The slowly-flowing rhythm and freely expressive right hand create an exceptional pairing that evokes a variety of visual images. “We Give Thanks” is the second single released prior to the full album, and brings the album to a warm and thoughtful close.

The consistently high-quality of Louis Landon’s albums is amazing considering his prolific musical output and Thanksgiving Piano is no exception. It is available from LouisLandon.com, Amazon, iTunes and many streaming sites.

April 22, 2020

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New Album – Thanksgiving Piano

Thanksgiving Piano Cover Final

THANKSGIVING PIANO was released on April 24, 2020.

Recorded at the Peace Palace, Sedona, AZ on a Steinway B July – December 2019

It is also available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora Radio

It is also available for downloading at iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp

All music produced, arranged, composed & performed by Louis Landon

All music published byLandon Creative, Inc. BMI

Louis Landon is a Steinway Artist

Music mastering by Tim Jessup, Sedona, AZ
“We Give Thanks” mastering by Michael McDonald, Eugene, OR

CD design and photos by Louis Landon

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The Quarantine Concerts

The Quarantine Concerts no date

In response to Covid-19 and the stay-at-home orders that began in March, I canceled my Northeast Tour that was scheduled for May. Also, all of my local concerts were canceled. Instead of playing out, I decided to play some online concerts. I played my first Facebook Live Quarantine Concert on Sunday, March 22nd at 6:00pm PDT/9:00pm EDT. I featured the entire Thanksgiving Piano album, that was unreleased at the time. The response was so positive, that I set an aim to play a concert every Sunday until the end of April, a total of six concerts. My plan was to play different music every week. I thought that after six weeks, things might get back to normal. My thinking was way off. My belief now is that things will never get back to normal. We will be living in the “Covid 19 New Normal.” In any case, I was hoping that I could get my piano tuned at the beginning of May so that I could move ahead on my new album, Panama Piano.

Having a concert each Sunday ended up being a great way to focus my musical and creative energy during the stay-at-home experience. It was a lot of work, but it was work that I love. I took requests and went back into my catalogue to revive songs that I hadn’t played in years as well as perform some songs that I had never performed live. It definitely kept me busy.

The Quarantine Concerts that I performed of Facebook Live in March and April are all available as videos on Facebook.
Quarantine Concert #1
Quarantine Concert #2
Quarantine Concert #3
Quarantine Concert #4
Quarantine Concert #5
Quarantine Concert #6

Spotify has graciously added a Covid-19 donation link on my Spotify mobile artist profile. If you are so inlined to donate for the Quarantine Concerts I would be very grateful! You can also donate HERE.


			

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New Single – “Rocking Chair”

2. Rocking Chair cover“Rocking Chair” was released on April 10th, 2020.

It is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora Radio

It is also available for downloading at iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp

Rocking Chair is very relaxing and positive. I tried to capture the feeling that one gets when in a rocking chair. I love this song but this song is most definitely an earworm. When I completed this composition and played it a few times, it got into my head and heart and would not let go. It followed me for days and every time I hear it, it goes on repeat in my head. The only way for me to make it stop is to play or listen to another song.

“Rocking Chair” is a track from the upcoming album Thanksgiving Piano out on April 24th, 2020.

Produced, arranged & performed by Louis Landon.

Music mastering by Tim Jessup, Sedona, AZ

Cover art and design: Louis Landon

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