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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke




WINDHAM HILL 01934 11591 2


1. DUBUQUE - George Winston
2. WEDDING RAIN - Liz Story
3. IF YOU BELIEVE - Jim Brickman
4. CHILDREN'S SONG - Oystein Sevag
5. AS FOR US - Fernando Ortega
6. IN FLIGHT - Michael Harrison
7.INSIDE OUT - Liz Story
8. ROCKET TO THE MOON - Jim Brickman
9. TO THE WELL - W.A. Mathieu with Bobby McFerrin
10. PAST VOICES - Taylor Eigisti
11. A MORNING WITH ROSES - Richard Dworsky
13. MONTANA HALF-LIGHT - Philip Aaberg

This fascinating disc probably belongs in the jazz category as much as it belongs in any other section that includes solo piano music. To quote from the liner notes, " Founded by guitarist Will Ackerman in 1976, Windham Hill became a pioneer in establishing a new genre of music whose artists combined their classical, folk and jazz backgrounds to create a new sound." This music is highly evocative and much of it reminds me of the type used in film scores set in New England in the Autumn. It runs through the whole gamut of emotions including sad, sentimental, happy and is even at times rather haunting.

The first track is "Dubuque" by George Winston and is a typical example of much of what follows. The melody is almost folk-like in quality and the form is quite classical. There is one passage that appears to be played by plucking the strings of the piano which gives quite a percussive pizzicato effect. The rhythmic balance between on the beat and syncopation is very delicately performed. The other Winston piece on this disc,"Loreta And Desiree's Bouquet - Part 1"is a wonderful mixture of a calypso - like melody played with the phrasing and touch of a composition by Chopin.

"If You Believe " by Jim Brickman is a romantic melody with strong "pop" overtones. Brickman has worked with such people as Carly Simon, Donny Osmond and Herb Alpert. His performance here is well-worthy of inclusion amongst such an array of talent as is gathered on this compilation. Oystein Sevag is Norwegian and his "Children's Song" is beautiful in its simplicity and yet achieves a certain drama as it progresses.

"To The Well" by W.A.Mathieu features an ethereal vocal from Bobby McFerrin ( the only name I was previously familiar with ). "Past Voices " by Taylor Eigisti is a tune which is typical of many of the pieces found here with its slightly eccentric off-beat style, whilst "A Morning With The Roses " by Richard Dworsky illustrates the wonderfully flowing lines inherent to many of these compositions. "Montana Half-Light " by Philip Aaberg is quite hypnotic with its repetitive left hand figures and careful use of shading both of dynamics and tempo.

This is new music for me but I will certainly be looking out for more of the same. I strongly recommend that anyone who reads this review gives this release a listen.

Dick Stafford

D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.

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