by Mark Maxwell Abushady, NYC
WHEN EVERYTHING WAS POSSIBLE:
Sit back and enjoy a rarity; a full concert, captured with all anecdotal remembrances, presented as an adult fairly tale, punctuated with some of the best music from Broadway and sung by two of the finest voices from that venue. It’s a story about following dreams; replete with heartbreak, triumph and, ultimately, great hope for all performers who dream of a life in the theatre. Indeed, those who have spent even a small amount of time in that world will recognize some of their own experiences in those so openly and honestly shared by Kurt Peterson and Victoria Mallory.
And then there’s the singing. Ageless voices telling an ageless tale make for a great combination. For pure singing, the recording really takes off from the recreation of their roles as Tony and Maria in the first, 1968 revival of West Side Story at Lincoln Center. It’s hard not to get chills listening to these two. Truly, their voices are unfathomably ageless. Beyond all of this, there is the down-to-earth sweetness; a real kindness toward their listeners and a self-effacing humor toward themselves in the reliving and telling of their adolescent and adult adventures. In addition to the marvelous “Tonight” duet, “And I Was Beautiful” (Mallory), “Kiss Her Now” (a real stunner sung by Peterson), “One More Kiss” (Mallory), “Too Many Mornings,” “I Remember” (breathtaking as sung by Mallory), and a beautifully vulnerable “Being Alive” (Peterson) are all standouts. “You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow” has just the right amount of bounce and youthful joyfulness, but truly, every song is a gem. Enjoyable too are the many, many performance and production photos included in the accompanying booklet, some published for the first time. Sadly, Victoria Mallory passed away soon after this concert and recording. But thankfully, this wonderful CD exists as a testament to her enduring talent and heart. An album not to be missed.
There are many instrumental piano music albums that cross the desk of Creations Magazine. What makes Signature – Synchronicity stand out is Fiona Joy’s lovely, dreamy, Enya-like vocals and well-chosen, expertly interwoven accompanying instruments to her inspired piano playing. The melodies are haunting, otherworldly, and often meditative in feel. Beautiful moods are created by judicious use of vocals, percussion, electric guitar and bass, synthesizer, cello, violin, and the occasional wind instrument.
There is passion here as well. This is especially notable in the insistent “Invisible Train,” which is ripe with flowing melodic patterns and yearning. Featured players include Eugene Friesen (cello), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Marc Shulman (electric guitar), Nick Hawkins (beat box), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Rebecca Daniel (violin), Paul Jarman (Irish whistle), and Tony Levin (bass). A pleasure to listen to!
ON EAGLE MOUNTAIN
Lush guitar sounds hallmark this lively album. Evocative of vast outdoor spaces, as evidenced by wellnamed cuts (“Spirit of the Mountain,” “Soaring,” “Mountain Lullabye”), there are all sorts of influences at work here, including Native American, Jazz, Rock, Folk, and more. It is a thoughtful offering, at times cinematic, and always rich in imagery.
Todd Mosby is able to distill his experiences into these terrific musical poems, and we, the listeners, have only to listen to ride the wind through these beautiful places, moods and moments.
Notes, poems and images accompany each track in the booklet included. On Eagle Mountain features Will Ackerman (arrangements and rainstick), Noah Wilding (vocals), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jill Haley (English horn), Premik Russell Tubbs (woodwinds), Tom Eaton (synth pads), Michael Manring (fretless bass), Tony Levin (basses), and Jeff Haynes (percussion). Recommended!
IN THE GARDEN
How many remember their reaction the first time they heard ‘Enya’? Seay may evoke a similar response. This is full, lush, romantic music with world music beats and a mystic quality. Dreamy vocals forming transitioning harmonic chords, piano, nature sounds, and orchestral brush strokes fill the listener’s ears. Seay’s voice is warm, rich and melodically earthy – oftimes seeming ageless and sexless – in a word, “transcendental.” While there is some fine traditional singing (“I Will Love You Still”), her voice is more often utilized, and very well so, as a versatile musical instrument (though spoken word is also exploited to dramatic effect). Each song is more fascinating than the last. There is both something familiar and something entirely new about each offering. Lyrics are inclusive, healing, devotional and full of appreciation for life and the Earth.
The overall effect of the album is uplifting, comforting, and enlightening. Accompanying musicians are many, but include Jerry Watts Jr. (5-string fretless bass), Pat Thomi (guitars), Hitoshi Yamaguchi (cello), Jonathan Smith (Didgeridoo), Geoff Koch (String arrangements and keyboards), and Ricky Kej (keyboards). Truly, a special album not to be missed! I look forward to listening to it again and again.