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Archive for the ‘Produced by Will Ackerman’ Category

Pianist Denise Young PassionataNew Denise Young Album Passionata – Neo-classical new age piano with instrumentals album produced by record producer Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton at the Imaginary Road Studio.

If you love classical piano and new age music combined, one of the best new collectives of the two genres is now hitting store shelves. In fact you will find the artistry and production of this album is top shelf. The marvelous sound you hear, which transcends narrowly defined genre categories into popular, easy listening music is appropriate for a wide variety of listeners.

American pianist, song writer and Steinway Recording Artist Denise Young made an impression on me after listening to her brand new neo-classical new age piano with instrumentals album titled Passionata.

Denise Young’s new 2014 follow-up album Passionata is comparable in elegance and style to her two releases in 2007 titled Time Alone & Something You Dream Of, all of which may leave you wondering if you are listening to classic piano music by an old master like Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms.

Pianist Denise YoungWhile I am far from an expert on modern classical music, I found Passionata breathtaking by the elevated emotional feel and quiet poignant phrasing on each of the 11 songs.

This new album by Denise Young also has the distinction of being produced at the Imaginary Road Studio, home of famous record producers Will Ackerman and co-producer Tom Eaton.

Beautiful by a distinct cinematic nuance, Denise Young’s Passionata is reminiscent to the style of cinematic film music producers John Williams and Michael Nyman.

The artists performing with Denise Young include: Jeff Haynes (percussion), Tom Eaton (bass), Eugene Friesen (cello), and Noah Wilding vocals). The 11 solo piano and piano with instrumental songs are: Above the Clouds, Moon Song, The Way, Starlight Melody, There, Cobblestones in the Rain, Awakened, Desire, Figure 8 & Secrets.

To sample and purchase Passionata visit DeniseYoung.com. Recently offered on digital CD or MP3 downloads formats find Denise Young’s newest album Passionata at iTunes.com and Amazon. Cover artwork and design by Matt Strieby.

U.S. Soldier Peter JennisonU.S. Army Soldier Peter Jennison plans newest release Coming Home, an album dedicated to military families and personnel, and follow-up album to Longing For Home.

Award-winning artist Peter Jennison is set to begin final recording of his new album in 2014 titled Coming Home. Due to be released this summer in 2014, Coming Home is  an album dedicated to service members and their families like his first piano instrumental album Longing For Home.

If this newest album is anything like his earlier album Longing For Home the interest in Peter Jennison’s new music in 2014 will be significant.

Coming Home is unique in its own way musically, but both albums are produced in theme to Peter Jennison’s recollections of his experiences as an active U.S. service member serving his country at a time of war.

Peter Jennison Album Coming HomeThe funding for Coming Home is being held at Kickstarter which establishes a platform for the project’s funding, so be sure to help make this important album a reality.

While on active duty, Peter Jennison’s earlier tours of duty were performed in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan as a U.S. Army Captain and MEDEVAC helicopter pilot. Both albums were composed from his first hand perspective of his two tours of duty.

On Peter Jennison’s Facebook page Peter states he recently spent 3 weeks of studio time with award-winning record producer Will Ackerman at his Imaginary Road Studio.

Longing For Home is a piano instrumental album produced by the production team of Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton so expect Coming Home to be a high quality album too.

Visit the Peter Jennison Music Facebook Page and learn how to help with this project honoring the nation’s military personal by visiting Peter Jennison at KickStarter.com.

Photo and album cover art courtesy Peter Jennison.

New Music in 2013: Laura Sullivan’s piano & instrumental album Love’s River, featuring top music professionals Will Ackerman, Nancy Rumbel, Eugene Friesen, Jill Haley and Jeff Oster.

If you like to be informed about brand new music, let me tell you about one of the newest piano with instrumental releases available as digital downloads and upcoming physical CD release at online store outlets on January 1, 2013.

Laura Sullivan is foremost a gifted composer and pianist, but her new album Love’s River is also my first album review for 2013. Knowing Laura Sullivan’s illustrious career and her achievements as soloist and concert pianist, I was excited to take a first look into what sentiment await fans and music consumers in 2013. I am pleased to say Love’s River has a setting of beautiful harmony with a pleasingly calm atmosphere, surely destined to be a popular album in 2013!

The instrumental bliss of Love’s River bestows a wonderful collection of peaceful songs everyone is sure to find enjoyable. Comparable to album Pianoscapes: Trails of North America, Laura Sullivan’s 2013 release Love’s River is an exceptional album by the manner piano music is united with acoustic guitar, cello, English horn, oboe, flugel horn, and trumpet.

Love’s River likewise has the distinction of a number of instrumentals by leading professionals like award-winning, Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, who produced 4 songs and played acoustic guitar on the song Blessed.

An ensemble of award-winning music professionals also performing on various songs are Nancy Rumbel, of the duo Tingstad and Rumbel, playing Oboe and English Horn, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English Horn, Jeff Oster on trumpet and flugel horn. In the music sense, knowing now what Laura Sullivan has in store for us in 2013, it’s appropriate to say our future has never looked brighter.

The 11 songs on Love’s River are Secrets from the Deep, Wishing on a Dandelion, Awakening to Love, Blessed, Holding Heaven, Moonlight Passage, Love’s River, Calligraphy, River to the Sea, Story of the Rain and Snowfall on Water.

Love’s River will be available at Amazon on January 1, 2013, however you may visit Laura-Sullivan.com to sample or purchase at iTunes by visiting her music store. Photo and album cover art courtesy laura-sullivan.com.

World Fusion Album Review: New Music by Todd Boston.

If you happen to be in the mood for summertime songs with an impressive blend of instrumental world fusion music, acoustic guitarist Todd Boston has a brand new 2012 multicultural follow-up to his 2010 release Alive. In close balance with Alive by flowing acoustic guitar and percussion melodies, Touched by the Sun heralds in a noticeable international, world fusion blend of Eastern and Western music.

Todd Boston is a brilliant guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist performing international tours in 2012, as a soloist and in a number of ensembles including a tour with the world renowned American singing songwriter Snatam Kaur.

After my interview with Will Ackerman last week, I have to say it is by coincidence that tomorrow on (July 20, 2012) Will Ackerman will be among other musicians at a concert celebration for Todd Boston’s Touched By the Sun album. This special concert event will be in Mill Valley, California at the Throckmorton Theatre.

The concert artists in attendance with Todd Boston to help celebrate the launch of Touched by the Sun are guest artist Will Ackerman on guitar, and other top ranked instrumentalist and vocalist.

Most are award-winning artists, and several are artists who have been featured at this site. They include vocalist Snatam Kaur, GRAMMY® nominated bass guitarist Michael Manring, percussionist Ramesh Kannan, cellist Matthew Schoening, violinist Emily Palen, trumpet and flugelhorn specialist Jeff Oster, and guitarist Shambhu.

Touched by the Sun studio album, which has 12 great world fusion melodies, is a refined instrumental with vocals album, likewise comprised of an impressive team of music professionals. Many of whom you are sure to recognize. There are a number of studio session artists who often provide instrumentals on Will Ackerman productions at Imaginary Road Studios, so the contributing members are indeed a select group of musicians.

Artists on the studio album joining Todd Boston on guitars, dotar, flutes and base are female vocalist Snatam Kaur, cellist Eugene Friesen, violinist Charlie Bisharat, percussionist Jeff Haynes, drums Aaron Sterling, bass guitar Tony Levin, fretless bass Michael Manring, hand clapping Tom Eaton, whispers Tina Malia and Ramesh Kannan on tabla and cajon.

There are other strategic elements about Touched by the Sun that isn’t by chance. Given the fact that Todd Boston is a great performer, and the quality of artisanship delivered by other top-ranked artists, this new Imaginary Road Studios production has every component needed to reach the upper limits of success. Stated more precisely, I expect Touched by the Sun to be an award-winning album in 2013.

Touched by the Sun made the #1 Top Recording for June 2012, with the Top 10 & Top 100 Radio Airplay Charts at Zone Music Reporter. The Brightest Night is a song by Todd that has made its way into the elite 22 artist and 22 instrumental song compilation album in 2012 by Will Ackerman entitled The Gathering.

Once more, Touched by the Sun was created in the care of GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Will Ackerman, and co-producer Tom Eaton and Todd Boston, so every component of Todd’s album was given the attention it deserves by a team of specialists. Comprised of elements that make a great recording, decisive actions taken by Todd Boston has lessened the mystery of whether this is a quality album or not. The question now is where to sample or purchase Touched by the Sun.

Visit the homepage of ToddBoston.com and visit Todd Boston’s music page, where you can sample or purchase at several popular online music stores including Amazon, CDBaby, and iTunes. Cover artwork & photo courtesy toddboston.com.

The professional music production services of William Ackerman, a Grammy® Award-winning record producer. Today Will Ackerman continues the legacy of his legendary Windham Hill Records at Imaginary Road Studios in the mountains of Vermont.

Will Ackerman is the founder of Windham Hill Records, a Grammy® Award-winner, and the recipient of more than 20 Platinum and Gold records in the United States and overseas.

Will’s productions at Windham Hill Records defined a new genre of music. The seminal work of George Winston, Michael Hedges and Liz Story among many others established Will as one of the preeminent producers of acoustic and instrumental music recordings in the world.

Now with Imaginary Road Studios, the engineering of Tom Eaton, a magnificent Steinway piano and a collection of some of the finest microphones and preamps anywhere on earth, Will is doing the best work of his life.

In the last 4 years alone, Will has produced 10 records that have achieved the #1 position on the NAR/Zone Music Reporter Charts. Seven of the ten highest rated albums ever reported by NAR/Zone Music Reporter, including the #1 and #2 positions, are Will Ackerman productions.

Imaginary Road Studios is available either for musicians who wish to work with Will as producer or for musicians who are simply looking for the finest studio in which to create.

We would be honored to help you make the record you dream of a reality. Visit our website or call us so we can chat about your project.

Visit: WilliamAckerman.com & ImaginaryRoadStudios.com. Contact: will@williamackerman.com & Office 207.929.5777.

The best musicians in the world & the ability to capture it all . . .

  • “Working with Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studios was one of the most creatively transforming experiences of my life. There is no better producer than Will Ackerman, and no better studio and team than the one at Imaginary Road to make your musical dreams a reality.” Jeff Oster (two times ZMR Record of the Year award winner)
  • “Imaginary Road Studios is even more special than the name implies. Expert professionals, all nice folks, gather there to conspire in the gentle business of creating good, meaningful music – all in an incomparable setting in the New England Mountains. No wonder everyone loves working there – for me it’s one of my all-time favorites.” Tony Levin (John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, James Taylor, King Crimson)
  • “This is a place where music and talent is fostered and nurtured and comes to life as it should, as you had always hoped, dreamed, and imagined.” Fiona Joy Hawkins (7 times ZMR Award Winner)
  • “My experiences at Imaginary Road Studios have been a delight. Professional, inspirational and comfortable beyond belief. Simply a pleasure.” Steve Holley (Elton John, Paul McCartney)
  • “There has been no single greater influence upon me than Will Ackerman. He is a staggering example of a true musical voice and visionary unparalleled in his abilities. Working with him has been one of the most tremendous honors of my life.” Patrick Gorman
  • “A state-of-the-art environment where musical dreams and visions effortlessly become reality.” Eugene Freisen (Paul Winter Consort, Multiple Grammy® Award winner)
  • “As producer of my last four projects, Will Ackerman’s influence elevated my composing and performance to new heights. I just “happened” to write the best music of my career while working with Will.” Stanton Lanier
  • “I’m so proud to be part of the art that is created and produced at Imaginary Road; a pure, peaceful and spiritual environment.” Jeff Haynes (Pat Metheny, Grammy® Award winner)
  • “Producing your album at Imaginary Road will become one of the greatest experiences of your life. The idyllic setting of Imaginary Road will capture your heart and call the music from your very soul like you’ve never seen before. There is simply no better place on earth more technically and artistically suited to produce your album than Imaginary Road.” Peter Jennison
  • “It’s really about the vibe up there, the magic that happens at Imaginary Road, the magic I’ve experienced and the exquisite music that they create.” T Bone Wolk (Hall and Oates, Shawn Colvin, Billy Joel, Elvis Costello)
Producer Will Ackerman – 2012

Best Instrumental Songs Review: The Gathering by Will Ackerman.

When deciding on a review title for Will Ackerman’s collection of contemporary instrumental songs, the first caption that came to mind involved the word best. There are several reasons why I gave The Gathering a desirable best instrumental song collection title, and I am prepared to give the reasons why. Synonymous with quality music, the name Will Ackerman alone seems to shout excellence! This is apparent, whether it is his own music recording, or one of the 20 plus gold and platinum albums he produced throughout his 35 year professional career.

The Gathering is the newest 2012 instrumental music compilation album from the acclaimed, GRAMMY® Award winning guitarist and producer Will Ackerman. Featuring an exclusive music collection of 22 top-quality songs by 22 great artists, The Gathering is a decisive who’s who of the best quality artists Will Ackerman selected for this release, out of the many fine musicians who had their album produced at his state-of-the-art Imaginary Road Studios.

Will Ackerman is famous worldwide for his production talents as founder Windham Hill Records, and his strong influence in the instrumental music recording industry yesteryear and today. In addition to his role as producer, Will Ackerman is an award-winning composer and guitarist, having performed a vital role in launching the careers of many award-winning artists. Over the past 35 years Will Ackerman has produced albums for over eighty four artists. Some of the most notable artists are Alex de Grassi, Michael Hedges, Michael Manring, Shadowfax, Liz Story and George Winston.

The Gathering by Will Ackerman is an excellent compilation album with 22 of the best contemporary instrumental songs on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label. Famous for founding Windham Hill Records, the legacy of the highest quality artists endures on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label.

The Imaginary Road Studio today engages the expertise of producer and engineer Tom Eaton. Taking the high road in quality studio productions, William Ackerman and Tom Eaton’s expertize help artists embolden their music compositions with grace, elegance and imagination.

Visit WilliamAckerman.com and the Imaginary Road Studios. You can sample or purchase The Gathering at CDBaby.com. Listed below are the 22 artists and 22 song credits for The Gathering 2012 compilation release.

There are a number of new age and contemporary instrumental artists whose music I have reviewed over the years. The 13 artists with album reviews at this site are listed first in the credits. Photos courtesy willackerman.com.

The Gathering Credits – 22 Artists and 22 songs:

1. Ann Sweeten song Dawn on Red Mountain, from Grey Sky And Bittersweet album.

2. Devin Rice & Erin Aas song Thyn Ayre, from The Arrival album.

3. Fiona Joy Hawkins song Feeling Sunshine, from Live At The Q album.

4. Jeff Oster song Serengeti, from True album.

5. Kathryn Kaye song Mountain Laurel, from Heavy as a Feather album.

6. Kori Linae Carothers song Carpe Diem, from Trillium album.

7. Lawrence Blatt song The Color of Sunshine, from The Color of Sunshine album.

8. Masako song Glastenbury, Vermont, from Masako album.

9. Paul Jensen song Taoist Winds, from The Other Side album.

10. Peter Jennison song Anthem, from Longing From Home album.

11. Shambhu song Hide and Seek, from Sacred Love album.

12. Todd Boston song The Brightest Night, from Touched by the Sun album.

13. Will Ackerman song The Wheel, from New England Roads album.

14. Dean Boland song Intimacy, from Soul Whispers album.

15. Denise Young song Livia’s Song, from Something You Dream Of album.

16. Frank Smith song Porch with a View, from Earth Spring album.

17. Ken Verheecke song Forever, from A Place Called Home album.

18. Patrick Gorman song Shades of You, from Chasing Tornados album.

19. Rhonnda Cadle song Shalom, from Will’s Embrace album.

20. Rocky Fretz song Kim’s Song, from The Path Ahead album.

21. Rudy Perrone song The Prophet, from The Language Of Spirits album.

22. Stanton Lanier song Bread of Angels, from A Thousand Years album.

New Age Piano Music: Masako Album Review.

It’s a fact that every artist is characterized as a debuting artist upon the release of their first album. To some, the term debut may suggest negative connotations or a lack of experience, but I believe the majority of people know an artist’s debut simply means they have made available, and distributed their first album to the public.

Masako is the name of a composing pianist making a debut with her first, self-titled piano with instrumental album called Masako. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, composing pianist Masako is a perfect example of a music professional with decades of experience prior to the first official introduction of her music. In fact, if I hadn’t known firsthand the original piano with instrumental music on Masako’s 2012 album was a debut release, I never would have guessed it.

Composing pianist Masako has released an extraordinary instrumental album with every hallmark of a seasoned professional. In fact, two highly respected artists, Will Ackerman and Liz Story themselves have release press comments about Masako’s abilities affirming her skill level is equated to that of a virtuoso. And I agree.

The Masako album was produced by Will Ackerman at his Imaginary Road Studio. Recognized for the excellence in his talents, Will Ackerman produced this album at Imaginary Road Studio, but needless to say, a producer can only enhance by bringing out the best of an artist’s talents. It’s clear, composing pianist Masako herself gives a magnificent performance, and her arrangement design of piano with instrumental music deserves to be characterized as a world-class release.

There are 12 songs total on the new Masako album, which easily passes the litmus test, in regards to the quality of music she produced, and alike in comparison to those who have rose among the top ranking artists that are associated with Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio. Masako’s song titled Glastenbury, Vermont was also selected for the top playlist of songs on the newest 2012 compilation CD by Will Ackerman entitled The Gathering.

Masako’s first introduction album is an impressive one and the term debut artist no longer applies. The only instance of where her status as a debuting artist applies now is perhaps when categorized, as the highest rated debut artist or for a best new artist of the year award. In either event, I believe Masako would be pleased to have her first release designated as a new debut album in either category.

The majority of the 12 songs on the Masako album are solo piano arrangements, or duets and ensemble, with an emphasis on piano. Top raking artist selected for the Masako album are Eugene Friesen (cello), Tony Levin (bassist), Jill Haley (English horn), Premik (wind synthesizer), and Jeff Haynes (percussion).

Visit Masako-Music.com to sample or purchase and find Masako album at iTunes. Portrait courtesy beltramistudios.com.

Award-winning producer Will Ackerman has released a new compilation CD featuring great songs by some of the best artists today. They are an elite group of instrumental artists who enlisted Will Ackerman to produce their albums at his Imaginary Road Studio.

The Gathering is a compilation album of 22 songs on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label. I plan to write a review for The Gathering once I receive the new compilation CD, but I can tell you a little about this release right now since I have already reviewed many of the complete albums in the song list. In the future I will be reviewing more artist’s with albums produced by Will Ackerman at Imaginary Road Studio.

The Gathering is a “best of the best album” since many of the songs selected by Will Ackerman are designated songs from a number of best albums, composed by top-ranked artists in the music recording industry. Famous for the highest quality in music productions, the tradition continues on Will Ackerman’s West River Records label. The artists with reviews at this site, and whose songs are in The Gathering are shown below.

Visit WilliamAckerman.com and find more about these select artists, and purchase The Gathering at CDBaby.com.

Ann Sweeten song Dawn on Red Mountain, from Grey Sky And Bittersweet album.

Devin Rice & Erin Aas song Thyn Ayre, from The Arrival album.

Fiona Joy Hawkins song Feeling Sunshine, from Live At The Q album.

Jeff Oster song Serengeti, from True album.

Kathryn Kaye song Mountain Laurel, from Heavy as a Feather album.

Kori Linae Carothers song Carpe Diem, from Trillium album.

Lawrence Blatt song The Color of Sunshine, from The Color of Sunshine album.

Masako song Glastenbury, Vermont, from Masako album.

Paul Jensen song Taoist Winds, from The Other Side album.

Peter Jennison song Anthem, from Longing From Home album.

Shambhu song Hide and Seek, from Sacred Love album.

Todd Boston song The Brightest Night, from Touched by the Sun album.

Will Ackerman song The Wheel, from New England Roads album.

Music Review: Heavy as a Feather album by Kathern Kaye.

Kathern Kaye’s second album Heavy as a Feather has been getting substantial media commentary this year. It could very well be due in part to the success and recognition she has received with her first piano and instrumental album Dreaming Still, which is another top album by Kathern Kaye, with Will Ackerman as producer.

Kathern Kaye’s first album succeeded in opening up new horizons for the once debuting new artist who was among top artists recently under consideration for Zone Music Reporter’s best album awards for 2011. Kathern’s nominations were two ZMR categories of Best New Artist & Best Instrumental Album – Piano.

Dreaming Still acquired the #1 position in the ZMR Top 100 charts for 3 months, and the #2 album on ZMR’s Top 100 Recording chart in 2011. Dreaming Still achieved an impressive top ranking from over 2300 albums by some of the best artists worldwide.

Heavy as a Feather is much in the same artistic signature as Dreaming Still by the contemporary resentation of Kathern’s skills as composing pianist with ten years of classical music education. I believe it is clear to everyone now Kathern Kaye is a versatile pianist who knows how to create beautiful song melodies with emotional depth and charm, which in turn, has moved her music career to the next level.

Heavy as a Feather is another great album produced with Will Ackerman, engineer Corin Nelsen, and a team of music professionals. Of the 11 songs, half are solo piano pieces, with the balance of songs in the accompaniment of some of the most respected artists in the music business. It’s a select group of esteemed artists that justifiably includes composing pianist Kathryn Kaye.

Kathryn Kaye composed the 11 original songs and performs on piano, with additional artists Will Ackerman (guitar), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Tom Eaton (accordion and percussion), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jill Haley (English horn), Tony Levin (bass), Michael Manring (fretless bass),and Ramesh (percussion).

Visit KathernKaye-music.com to sample Heavy as a Feather. Or visit Kathryn’s page at Amazon.com. Visit Will Ackerman and the Imaginary Road Studio at WilliamAckerman.com. Cover art courtesy A. Handelman.

Fiona Joy Hawkins has just returned home to Australia after her successful United States recording and concert tour. This visit to the U.S. has proven to be a productive recording and concert tour according to her press release where Fiona Joy Hawkins states; “The trip was absolutely exhilarating, considering I would spend weekdays recording and doing interviews and then on the weekends concert performances.”

Fiona has finalized her newest projects 600 Years in a Moment & Christmas Joy due to be released in October 2011. The word is that Fiona lends her own vocals on some songs for the first time too, so we will have to see if this is a new trend for her. The YouTube song video below is a preview of Flight of the Snowbird from her soon to be released Christmas Joy album which will arrive well before the holidays. She also has a concert DVD and has a number of live shows in Australia planned this year.

Actually the song video is a re-recording of Flight of the Albatross from her earlier album, Angel Above my Piano, already a beautiful piece and one of my favorites. This time around however she performs on an Australian 102 key Stuart & Son’s piano, which was later overdubbed with instrumentals at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio. Needless to say Flight of the Snowbird is a masterful re-creation!

Fiona Joy Hawkins most current album Blue Dream is a piano and instrumental collaboration with other artists that had received top music honors and again extended the worldwide admiration for her work. Recognized as an awarding winning pianist who covers New Age, Classical, Contemporary, Jazz and World Fusion genres, it’s easy to see Fiona’s music is well worth the wait!

Visit fionajoyhawkins.com.au for news and concert date info in Australia. Visit Fiona’s official YouTube channel and read my reviews of Blue Dream & Ice on my pages dedicated to Fiona Joy Hawkins. Photo is courtesy fionajoyhawkins.com.au.

Kathryn Kaye is a talented pianist releasing her first piano and instrumental album. After learning every detail like her lifetime of music experience, the collaborating artists and production credits, I had a feeling her new release was going to be great. In fact Kathryn Kaye’s new release greatly exceeded my expectations since this album really goes the distance.

Dreaming Still is an Acoustic, Contemporary Instrumental, New Age release having many integral advantages, one being the importance of music in Kathryn Kaye’s life, which began with playing the piano at age four.  She attended college and began working toward a major in music, earning a performance degree with a double major in voice and keyboard.  In addition to her strong educational background she pursued classical training while living in Germany, appearing on television in both the U.S. and Germany as a vocalist during concerts, recitals and operas.

Kathryn Kaye is a musician and songwriter presently residing in Colorado. The beautiful Rocky Mountains region and Appalachian mountain territories in Kentucky recalled from childhood are in part a focal point for this contemporary nature inspired release. Dreaming Still contains 14 songs she composed, half of which are Solo Piano, with the balance in piano and instrumental harmony support by violin, cello, bass and English horn.

The world-class musicians providing instrumentals with piano are commendable, and are as follows: Charlie Bisharat (violin) Eugene Friesen (cello) Dan Greenspan (bass) Jill Haley (English horn) Derrik Jordan (percussion) and Noah Wilding (vocal). Dreaming Still is a Will Ackerman production, with recording, mixing, and mastering by Corin Nelsen at Imaginary Road Studios. The assistance from these two Grammy Winning talents is a fine enhancement to her proficiency as a composing pianist.

Dreaming Still is a delightful album, and I was pleased to hear a wonderful cinematic touch at times. Waiting For The Rain with piano and cello, then a Solo Piano song August Light were my two favorite songs, however this album is consistent and enjoyable throughout.  I believe Kathryn’s commitment and expertise in music has been vital to the level of quality on her first album, and her choice of music artists was first-class. In contrast to the vast expanse of the Appalachian territory, I expect the appreciation for this beautiful album will go the distance and travel far.  At the time of publication, Dreaming Still by Kathryn Kaye is #1 in the ZMR Top 100 Radio Chart for January 2011. Congratulations Kathryn Kaye!

Visit kathrynkaye-music.com to sample and then purchase at her CDBaby.com page & Amazon.com page.

Photo courtesy Delanda Licata. Cover art courtesy Robert Kooken.

When you integrate one proficient acoustic guitarist with select vocalists and instrumentalists, along with the skillful production talents of Windham Hill Records founder and GRAMMY® Winner Will Ackerman, the album as you might expect, will be a top rated album compiled by dedicated music professionals that virtually everyone would love and appreciate.

Shambhu is the proficient guitarist clearly asserting in his website news pages that his first album has truly been a “labor of love” while composing, performing and co-producing with Will Ackerman, along with his time spent working beside other top music professionals.  This I can believe since at the end of the day, Shambhu and his insightful selection of collaborating musicians has paid off rather handsomely, and by their collective time spent together, have helped convert this debut release into a commodity of premium value.

Sacred Love – Feel The Journey is New Age Fusion, Contemporary Instrumental, and Jazz, having East, West, and World elements which help facilitate the conversion of artful melodies into solid gold entertainment that requires only simple involvement for the rest of us to acquire the appreciable benefits of this grand endeavor.  Sacred Love has already achieved a quantifiable amount of success, where at present Sacred Love – Feel The Journey is # 1 for the month of October 2010 in ZMR’s Top 100 Chart, but I also have a feeling this album will appreciate in value even more over time.

Shambhu is an esteemed musician in his own right performing concerts or on albums with top music entertainers like Bob Hope, Carlos Santana, John Anderson and on Whitney Houston’s multi-platinum album titled simply Whitney.  The list goes on since Shambhu has also been involved in projects with many of the respected musicians I continually write about like Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, Eugene Friesen, Ann Licater plus many more.

Sacred Love – Feel The Journey has an impressive cast and crew since many have toured or recorded with top musical groups themselves.  Some of these artists on Shambhu’s album include Tony Levin of Peter Gabriel on bass, Jeff Haynes of Pat Metheny on percussion, George Brooks of John McLaughlin on saxophone, Celso Alberti of Steve Winwood on drums, and then Premik Tubbs of Santana and John McLaughlin on flute.

Together is the first of 12 songs total and what a memorable impression it creates.  The center stage guitar and violin pairing established securely alongside flute and reflective instrumentation is magnificent, plus it is easy to visualize this song and others in a Cinematic role since the warm, sincere, and dynamic atmosphere echo the characteristic essentials for a multitude of made for the big screen movie settings.

Natural Moment is a warm and casual song that positively takes off and ascends to new heights.  First expressed by xylophone and percussion enhancements, these lively components merge into a free spirited narrative complete with graceful electric guitar rhythms, which intensify and progress neatly into a picturesque arrangement.

Maiu Breeze is refreshing by exhibiting a jazzy tropical presence.  First conveyed by acoustic guitar highlights, the xylophone rhythms and energetic vocals are a natural accompaniment to the guitar arrangement.  Together they merge perfectly to bring out the fascinating aspects of this album and its entirety, creating a dynamic atmosphere that gives one an impression of total harmony refinement.

This first release by Shambhu will always be termed a debut as one might expect, but when you consider his proficiency as a guitarist, the impressive number of outstanding talents on this extraordinary album, and their combined lifework totaling a significant number of decades as esteemed music professionals, then this masterful first album by Shambhu truly does amount to a rewarding and appreciable “labor of love.”

Full musician credits are Eugene Friesen – cello, Charlie Bisharat – violin, Ravichandra Kulur – flute, Michael Manring – bass, Jill Haley – English horn, Claytoven Richardson – lead vocal, Jeff Oster – flugelhorn, Noah Wilding – vocals Todd Boston – sarod, mixed and engineered by GRAMMY® Award-winning Corin Nelsen.

Visit ShambhuMusic.com and find at his CDBaby.com page and Amazon.com page. Big Stock Photo – rkasprzak.

During times of war most sovereign nations remain dependent on men and women serving in the military for defense and protection of their country. While protecting the freedoms and individual rights of private citizens, returning soldiers acquire imbedded memories that last a lifetime and clearly the grandest memory of them all is during the homecoming when they are happily reunited with their families.

Peter Jennison is a U.S. Army Captain and MEDEVAC helicopter pilot returning from active duty during the war in Iraq with revealing memories he witnessed from a firsthand perspective. From this experience, Peter Jennison began to compose music.

An American living at home in Florida now, his latest CD composed during the time period he served in Iraq is meant to evoke imagery of the conflict as a more peaceful musical experience for every listener, along with providing renewing therapy for soldiers and families upon their return home from service.

Longing For Home (Songs From War) is a New Age Contemporary Instrumental release Peter Jennison composed for piano with renown musicians supplying refined instrumentals in most of the 10 songs.

This album also has the notation of being a Will Ackerman production and with Corin Nelsen providing the mixing and mastering, their GRAMMY© Award-winning expertise can be perceived as a winning strategy by the quality work they produce.

Peter Jennison, in another strategic move enlisted highly recognized artists on his album including Jeff Haynes on percussion, Eugene Friesen on cello and Steve Schuch on violin. In addition, Will Ackerman performs on guitar in one song and vocalist Noah Wilding gives soft vocals on two songs. Longing For Home is some of the last performances given by the late Tom “ T-Bone “ Wolk, a highly regarded multi instrumentalist remembered in part by his outstanding talents.

War is a song with lighter phases in the beginning that build with increasing drama as piano, violin and percussion recreate a battlefield image during a dramatic illustration projected within the musical arrangement. Peter Jennison’s illustration is shown by a precise context by increasing tempo and percussion rhythms that project distant artillery rounds. The song’s imagery of chest moving recoil from artillery rounds and ejected shell casings makes it seem all too real.

Peter Jennison composed his album with much regard to stories from the heart and mind. This is apparent in his compositions where most songs portraying a tranquil atmosphere with a strong sense of drama and emotion can be easily felt and is consistent, during his solo piano expressions and in songs with instrumental refrains.

Performing on a Steinway B, the emotional feel of 4 Solo Piano songs; Hold Me in Your Heart, The Promise, Anthem & Longing For Home ( Title Song ) are classic and uplifting yet each one holds a certain melancholy as if telling of the days spent apart from family and the extra weight of uncertainty this carries.

The piano and instrumentals of violin during Time Passage convey this more poignant feeling where piano, cello and bass in High Mountain Dreams has a more relaxed atmosphere.

The song Desert Storms has a bass guitar and piano duet which band together as one. A wonderful piano melody combined with guitar, violin and tenor vocals in The One breaks into a resolute wave of harmony. With everything considered, it is music empowered to portray the sentiment the majority of us will never experience firsthand.

Longing For Home (Songs From War) is told from a U.S. soldier’s perspective, made more real since this story is voluntarily given by someone who has honorably faced and met the challenges war can bring. Recounting American men and women risking all in service to their country, reverent tribute is given to those lives we honor in memorandum of, while celebrating the virtues of every U.S. soldier as a private citizen and beloved family member who has served their country.

Visit Peter Jennison’s Facebook page. You can sample or purchase at his Amazon.com page or CDBaby.com page.

Note: A portion of the proceeds from every album sold will be given to charities that support veterans and their families.

Picture copyright BigStockPhoto.com – JustASC.

Much like the seasonal changes we encounter daily at various locations around the world, many musicians I encounter have their own change in atmosphere in relation to the music they produce.  Their adaptations in style and structure can sometimes be expected to a degree, but most times it is tempered just like the weather and cannot be easily predicted.

Matt Millecchia is a great example of a guitar player making a more profound change in his performance style by releasing of all things, a new age album.  Currently residing in New York, Matt is most acclimated to performances with various metal rock, punk and folk bands over the past 20 years and really not a matter of being a hot to cold disparity by this, but this departure certainly is polarizing.  Interestingly, he is also a senior engineer who takes precision measurements on one of the most powerful lasers ever produced so is uniquely familiar with the technical aspects of extremes.

Silhouette of a Season is his more equalizing new age contemporary instrumental debut with 12 original compositions featuring Matt on 4 solo guitar songs.  Employing another key change in style, he specializes in the flat-pick method of acoustic guitar verses a more common finger style and has also enlisted notable artists most will recognize.

Taking the legendary journey to Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont, GRAMMY® Winner and founder of Windham Hill Records Will Ackerman has produced and performs guitar with Matt on two songs.  Another GRAMMY® Award-winner Corin Nelsen engineered, mixed and mastered this album so the quality shines by their expertise, plus the all inclusive list of top musicians on various songs which includes Michael Manring on bass, Eugene Friesen on cello, the late T-Bone Wolk on bass and accordion, Derrik Jordan on electric violin and percussion, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Steve Schuch on acoustic violin, and Samite on flute.

Silhouette of a Season shows a natural beauty in composition and performance while dramatizing a glowing atmosphere during each of the 12 songs placed mainly in a moderate tempo.   All have a pleasing feel of radiance and song Arrivials is the first prelude into the many qualities you will experience on the entire album.  Orchestra and electric violins provide a swaying motion while guitars evenly enhance this refined image by counter rhythms and then again in a more pronounced Summer Tears.

Antietam Spring is a light introspective song where accordion and guitar inscribe a peaceful feeling while achieving a pleasing sense of intrigue and perhaps only natural given the interesting choice in instrumental harmonies.

The guitar pairing of flugelhorn in Mist and cello in Acid Lake are like the percussion, guitar and flute instrumentals in Sphynx where each artist imparts their proficient expressions while revealing the fine naturalistic atmosphere envisioned for each song.

Matt Millecchia takes a graceful departure apart from more familiar genres by the 4 solo guitar improvisations of Georgia Springs, Expectations, August Eclipse & Moonset and while adapting this gentle change of seasons with over 20 years of experience and by using the flat-pick method without sub-rhythm overdubbing.  The transition is made solid by a fine performance, along with his artistic stance on the evenly represented concepts of harmony.

Silhouette of a Season is an album anyone can become acclimated with every single day of the year and since the glorious presentation given by every musician transposes a fine exploration in atmosphere, their precise harmonies bring to light an integral shine for success which to me, turns out to be an even more predictable quality.

Visit mattmillecchia.com to sample / purchase or at his CDBaby.com page.  Learn more about Matt on his biography page.

Photo copyright Matt Millecchia and Cover courtesy of Marcia Birken.

Solo instrumental albums are a natural source of personalized music, so when two reputable soloists merge their singular talents, an alliance from soloists to duettists is an even more valuable source of personified music for everyone.

Devin Rice & Erin Aas are seasoned musicians already recognized by their proficient styles as individual artists. Now they emerge as a team that write and perform original piano with guitar, and finger styled guitar duet compositions with hand selected artists adding polished accompaniments on their new release titled Arrival.

Residing in the state of Washington, Devin and Erin traveled to the Imaginary Road Studios in rural Vermont to enlist the expertise of GRAMMY® Award-winning artist Will Ackerman. The level of quality with the album’s production retraces their visit to a highly specialized destination.

Arrival is an album where Devin plays piano and guitar along with Erin, showcasing their 15 song compilation that is adventuresome and symmetrical from the first song to the last. After meeting for the first time several years ago, I felt their earlier mainstay as professional soloists has been doubled and enhanced using simple math, along with their broad variance in individual styles.

Devin Rice and Erin Aas, have selected skilled team of artists, along with GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Will Ackerman, to emerge as a fortified musical team. By virtue of each artist’s specialized skills, they have attained an award-winning strategy with Arrivial.

Thyn Ayre is the crisp beginning song that sounds like a down to earth journey put to sheet music, like Procession, where a wonderful just right feel becomes the standard atmosphere. These folk styled narratives flourish during the piano and guitar duets set in a moderate tempo like most of the 15 songs.

Borderline is a breezy guitar duet by Erin and Devin, while their Tribute to Robert Frost expresses a more stately approach that includes percussion rhythms backing majestic piano melodies with subtler acoustic guitar highlights.

Lively acoustic guitar and percussion rhythms are heard on the memorable song Nevada, while Something About A Harbor has piano lead in for guitar, with rich melodic tones showing depth in a natural way. 

Perdido En Granada, Lullaby For Now & For JB are gentle and more introspective songs with English horn and cello support that compliment the pleasing atmosphere.

Whiskey In The Watertower is a spirited melody, and nicely coordinated guitar duet that features a wonderful guitar solo performed by Will Ackerman.

This song resembles Pulborough Spring by taking an up-tempo direction from the primarily moderate paced piano and guitar duets with instrumentals.

Rich cello harmonies are the scenic backdrop in songs, Morning With Annie, Southern Breeze, & Stars of Winter, with the latter song taking an adventurous free flight expression during the melody and refrains that gently lands with guitar, cello, and piano uniting in an ensemble.

Although solo albums are a mainstay and pleasing source of enjoyment, Arrival is a nice departure from singular solo albums given the enriching instrumentals and contrasting styles of the two principal soloists.  This departure notably doubles the fine harmonic value for the listener, along with Devin and Erin who have likewise doubled their musical achievements together as a team, and as individuals.

Additional artists are Derrick Jordan on djembe with Eugene Friesen and Traci Hoveskeland giving cello performances on several tracks. Jill Haley lends her talents on English horn and Will Ackerman plays guitar on the final song.

Visit devinriceanderinaas.com to sample or purchase, and at their CDBaby.com page. Read their biography page with how it all began. Visit the Imaginary Road Studios of williamackerman.com. Big Stock Photo copyright – MelMcNaughton.

The Piano as the leading musical instrument can be appreciated using just a few simple well placed notes. It’s the pianist who takes the leading role by their note by note delivery to determine the style and complexity of the note structure in hopes of creating a classic piece of music everyone can appreciate.

Ann Sweeten is one musician widely recognized for her classic style. She also sets a high standard in quality among many pianists in the wide range of genres employing piano music as the chosen manner for pleasing an audience. In a skilled full range delivery on a Steinway Baby Grand, her classic signature sound deserves respect in a natural way, lending itself to beautiful music that many have found, gives new meaning to the term music appreciation.

Just This Side Of Spring showcases her latest composing lead performance as a Steinway Artist and music professional, with several talented artists at her side. Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman performs on acoustic guitar on the title song, along with co-producing the album with Ann, who also conducts vocals and synthesizers. Andrew Eng on viola & violin, along with bass performer Michael Miksis, and Trisha Craig on Flute are the accompanying musicians of several songs contained on this album, who do excel in terms of fluidity as a collective unit.

Being the author of numerous solo piano reviews in the New Age genre, I promptly identified an admirable level of richness and depth in tone I rarely hear in many comparative piano solo albums. Stylish tonal qualities held in even the quietest patterns give complex sequences and a prolific feel of realism within every individual phrase. I likewise concluded the classic instrumentals supporting Ann Sweeten on Just This Side Of Spring clearly strengthen this opulent quality, validating my initial first impression.

Ann Sweeten is a Steinway Artist & Composer, and her achievements are numerous, including voting privileges in the National Recording Academy of Arts & Sciences, ASCAP Popular Award Recipient starting in 2002 thru the years 2009.

The ZMR nominations and awards are just as numerous and her talents are not limited to music achievements and concert performances on piano. Ann is also a professional actress, singer, and ballet dancer, realizing many achievements in her diverse life.

Just This Side Of Spring is a thoughtful Piano Instrumental album that holds many elegant touches leaning towards the classical side of life, while shown in a natural realistic way too, becoming a great follow up for her previous Piano Instrumental album Grey Sky and Bittersweet.

I concluded that both Just This Side Of Spring & Grey Sky and Bittersweet make you feel a pleasant sense of comfort and enjoyment in a much desired way, given by a qualified pianist who delivers an admirable performance on a Steinway Baby Grand, in another new release of her music almost everyone can appreciate.

Visit AnnSweeten.com to sample or purchase. Find at popular music outlets like Ann Sweeten’s CD Baby.com page.

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