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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Filed under CDs, Healing, Music, News, Review, Uncategorized

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