Reviews 01-21-2012

Music Reviews 




by Michael Brant DeMaria

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Bindu is the fourth release in Michael Brant DeMaria’s “Healing Sound Project” and was 1 1/2 years in the making. DeMaria recently received his fourth Grammy nomination, and I would expect Bindu to earn him his fifth in 2012. Demaria’s previous albums have explored outer nature as a place of healing, but Bindu is an exploration of our deepest inner nature. Dr. DeMaria further states: “As a 30 year practitioner and teacher of meditation I have learned one of the most effective ways for us to take care of ourselves and our world is by quieting our minds and opening our hearts to the miracle of this moment, this life and each other. That is what Bindu is about for me.” The title is a Sanskrit word that means “point” and is often used to signify the moment of creation in both a universal (origin of the universe) and deeply personal sense (any moment of creativity). The sound quality of this album is amazing for its clarity, warmth, and effectiveness in creating an atmosphere for deep self-exploration. DeMaria composed and performed all of the music as well as doing the graphic design for the project. The artwork is bold, dramatic, and very beautiful, as is the music. Although the album presents a journey and a progression, each of the ten tracks is distinctive and tells its own story through the use of ambient sounds, keyboards, Native American flutes, and voices.

Bindu begins with “The Way Beyond,” an invitation to find the path beyond oneself on the journey within. Keyboards, Native American flutes, and light hand percussion are hypnotic and welcoming, and the lively tempo is upbeat. “Journey Within” goes much deeper, with the sound of slow but powerful breathing, angelic voices, and mysterious, ambient instrumentation. Breathing from the heart continues in “Anahata,” accompanied by haunting voices and feelings of vast openness and effortless movement. I really love this one! “Twilight” is a bit more piano-based, with a simple but lovely melodic line, a gentle rhythm, and ethereal voices. A Native flute joins about half-way in, sharing the melody and adding its own poignant quality.  “Journey To Nowhere” evokes images of moving through vast, dark space, completely at ease, while taking in the beauty and wonder of it all. The title track brings us to the moment of creation. A bit more intense and mysterious, the exotic instrumentation and hypnotic rhythm wrap around the mind and spirit, drawing us in even deeper. Exuding a peaceful ambience, “Tripura Sundari” tells of passing through the Bindu and seeing all places, beings, and things bathed in a sacred light. “Turiya,” the closing track, goes “beyond the beyond,” melting into formless infinity.

If you are looking for music with strong traditional melodies and beats, Bindu might not work for you, but for a rich spiritual journey through inner exploration, I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Kathy Parsons of the Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions



by Michael Logozar

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Time is the wonderful follow-up to Michael Logozar’s 2008 debut, Coming Into View. The ten original piano solos convey a variety of moods and experiences, but the music is always flowing, elegant and beautifully expressed. Where Logozar’s first album was mostly improvised with some post-recording editing, Time is more composed - and recorded on an acoustic Yamaha grand. Logozar worked with Grammy Award-winning Corin Nelsen on mixing and mastering the final product and the results are a warm, clean piano sound that is clear but not overly bright. As often happens with artists in all genres and media, life’s difficulties seem to have inspired Logozar to reach new heights with his music. However, rather than expressing the dark side of those difficulties, Logozar’s newer compositions seek a peaceful and calming influence in his often late-night compositions.

Time begins with “The River,” a gentle piece that sets the tone of the album. The graceful motion of the music suggests the movement of water as it flows lazily but constantly. The more energetic passages convey power and strength, returning each time to effortless tranquility with sparks of sunshine dancing on the water. “Awakening” expresses the hope and promise of a fresh start, whether it is a new day or a new phase of life. “Midnight Waltz” is a bittersweet waltz that begins slowly, picking up the tempo at the mid-point and then gradually slowing as it winds down. I really like this one! The title track is another favorite. Gentle and very introspective, it evokes images of reflective late-night musings at the piano. “Around the Bend” feels like a musical daydream - wondering what’s ahead and anticipating the unknown. “Innocence” sweetly captures that elusive quality found mostly in very young children - simple, full of wonder, and very fragile. “The Sun Will Shine” is hope and optimism set to music. Graceful and uncomplicated, the warmth of this piece is inviting and deeply comforting. “In a Dream” closes the set with a longer piece that feels more improvised than the other nine tracks. Very free and unstructured, it floats on air much like, well, a dream, making it easy to surrender to the music, allowing it to take you on a effortless musical journey. 

Time has been an anxiously-awaited gem that was well worth the wait! Pre-orders and downloads are now available from CDs and downloads will be available on January 25th, 2012 from Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Very enthusiastically recommended!

Reviewed by Kathy Parsons of the Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions


Reflections in Black & White

by Kareem Powell

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Reflections in Black & White is the debut CD by Ohio pianist/composer/arranger Kareem Powell. The thirteen tracks are an eclectic selection of original jazz-infused compositions and his arrangements of three traditional folk songs and spirituals. Powell has a very impressive background that dates back to his starting piano lessons at the age of five, and continuing through to a BS in Music Education from Florida A&M University (1998) and a Masters of Music in Music Theory from Indiana University (2001). Since then, his musical activities have shown tremendous versatility - Music Minister, director of musical theater, chorus rehearsal accompanist, adjunct faculty, to name only a few of the items listed on his website. While Powell’s playing is masterful and elegant, he has a strong sense of when to keep it simple. The music is sometimes flowing and sometimes a bit edgy, but it is never difficult to listen to. The multitude of musical genres that Powell has become fluent in have shaped his musical voice into one that is strong and distinctive. I’m impressed!

Reflections in Black & White begins with “Let’s Remember,” an upbeat piece with complex rhythmic changes and a conversational style that suggests that maybe this song has lyrics - an intriguing and inviting opening piece! “Louisa” also has a very strong melody, but the mood of this one is more reflective and somewhat nostalgic. “Walk With Me” is the first of the arrangements. Its gospel/jazz feeling is infectious and demonstrates Powell’s very impressive chops. “Londonderry Air” is a very pleasant surprise. Powell’s arrangement is fairly straight-forward, but played with such heart that it sounds brand new. “Take It Away” is a beautiful ballad and one of my favorite tracks. Flowing and poignant, the melancholy melody and Powell’s emotionally charged playing make this a standout that I could listen to over and over. (sheet music???) Powell’s arrangement of “Deep River” is elegant and heartfelt. “Piano Keys” picks up the tempo and playfully dances all over the piano keyboard. “Demons In My Head” is perhaps the most improvisational and experimental piece on the album. The closing track, “The Sun will Rise Again Someday” is another favorite. I love the haunting melody and dark minor chords, played simply and with abundant grace.

Reflections in Black & White is an exceptional debut, and I look forward to hearing more from Kareem Powell in the future! The album is available from, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!

Reviewed by Kathy Parsons of the Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions


Musical Rapture

by Frederic Delarue

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I have been intrigued with and often captivated by Frederic Delarue’s music since I reviewed his first American album, Voyage of the Soul, back in 2002. Musical Rapture: A Healing Gift to Humanity is Delarue’s seventh release since then, and, as all of his recordings do, this one has a fascinating story. Joao Cota-Robles, the son of spiritual speaker Patricia Cota-Robles, “made  his transition to the Light” the end of 2010 from a sudden pneumonia. Delarue did not know Joao personally, but he knows his parents and regularly performs his music at an annual spiritual conference Patricia organizes. When he learned of Joao’s passing, Delarue felt compelled to drive to Arizona for his Celebration of Life. Joao communicated to Delarue that he would like a “Music of His Soul” CD created as a legacy of him for his family. (Delarue has been creating these CDs for people for many years.)

After the Celebration of Life, Delarue sensed that Joao wished his CD to be “A Gift to Humanity” with music that can comfort anyone (including pets) dealing with any form of cancer, a music that helps people to “raise their vibrations.” On Pentecost Sunday 2011, Delarue made this recording and felt that Joao’s wishes were that the music should never be bought or sold by anyone. It is being offered as a free download with permission to make copies to share with friends and loved ones at no charge. It is also stipulated that the music NOT be used as background music for guided meditations, webinars, YouTube videos, voice-overs and other recordings because recording other information over the music will interfere with the healing process and divine intent of the music. Downloads are also available from Patricia Cota-Robles’ website.

The music itself is a sixty-two minute improvisation performed on several keyboards and using a variety of musical sounds - ethereal voices, strings, piano, atmospheric sounds, etc. It has a    similar feeling to Delarue’s live performance, which can be a very profound spiritual experience. The music is soothing, uplifting, and very relaxing; it is also very beautiful. If you haven’t experienced Delarue’s music before, this is a wonderful opportunity to try it for free. The download link is A more detailed description of how the music came into being is there as well. Recommended!

Reviewed by Kathy Parsons of the Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions