Reviews 09-18-2010

Music Reviews 



The Landing
(Special Edition)

by David Clavijo

Visit David's  website


The Landing - Special Edition is an expanded version of David Clavijo’s exciting 2009 debut EP, The Landing. For this Special Edition, Spain’s Clavijo has added four new tracks that broaden and enhance the world music experience that began with the earlier recording. A fascinating combination of new age, chill, and world ethnic styles, Clavijo takes us on a vibrant, rhythmic musical journey that begins on the moon and travels to Africa, India, the Middle East, and back with ten lush electronic instrumental tracks. It’s not easy to create music that is both relaxing and energizing, but Clavijo succeeds well in both areas - often at the same time! If you enjoyed the EP, you will absolutely love the Special Edition!

The album begins with “Dancing on the Moon,” a sensual and mysterious piece that pulls you in as it spins its magic. A strong rhythm, strings, wordless vocals, keyboards, and atmospheric sounds create a mood that is warm and inviting. This piece segues into “Distant Love,” which reminds me a little of Fiona Joy Hawkins’ chill music, which I love. A sultry female voice enters from time to time saying, “I’ll give you pleasure.” Upbeat, sexy and fun! “Es Vedra” begins with the sound of the ocean and gives way to a big cinematic sweep that feels tropical and lazy. Guitars, keyboards, voices, and a pulsating beat make this piece an ode to joy as well as a tribute to a legendary rock island near Ibiza. “Las Dunas” is sultry and relaxed, moving leisurely and with grace. Silky vocals, shorebirds, and an infectious rhythm cast an irresistible spell. “Nowhere” is the most “new age” of the pieces. Piano, keyboards, guitar, and gentle percussion exude warm, melodic tones that soothe away any cares and woes. Nice! “Sailing In My Dreams” returns to a more dramatic mode that is dark and mysterious. “African Spirit” dances with delight to a bright, infectious rhythm and voices singing the happy melody. I love “East Winds” and its feeling of exotic mystery. Electric guitar and driving percussion send this piece soaring. “Uttara Kanda” takes us to India and reminds me a bit of some of Yanni’s blending of cultures and musical eras. The danceable rhythms and joyful sounds uplift. “Promises” also hints of Yanni’s influence, but Clavijo is definitely not imitating. Wordless vocals and a sensuous flow of strings, piano, and percussion make this a gorgeous and addicting close to a fantastic album.

David Clavijo is an exciting new artist to watch! The Landing (Special Edition) is available from, Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Very highly recommended!

Reviewed by Kathy Parson's Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions



by Amy Lauren

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August is Amy Lauren’s fourth CD and contains twelve original, beautifully melodic piano solos that convey love, contentment, and nostalgia occasionally tinged with a feeling of dreamy melancholy. In the liner notes, Amy Lauren says, “After completing this album it was difficult to find the words to describe what it means to me. This music is simply a gift that I am fortunate enough to be the creator of and no more words are really needed. Fireflies, sunsets and rain. Following the one you love and going the distance with them no matter what the twists and turns in the road. It all became music... it became August.” This hints at how personal the music is to the composer and invites us as listeners to experience it without too much information, allowing us to draw our own conclusions about where the music came from and to adapt it to our own life experiences. Simple and graceful melody lines are intertwined with just enough harmonic and rhythmic complexity to keep them interesting and compelling after many listens while staying accessible to less musically-seasoned ears.

August begins with “I’ll Follow You,” a tender love song that is more about maturity and commitment than starry-eyed lovers. This piece stops me in my tracks every time I hear it because it rings so true and conveys such deep emotion. Love it! I also really like “Travel This River,” which has a wonderful flowing quality and a gorgeous melody that conveys a range of emotions. “Fireflies” dances around the piano keyboard light-hearted and carefree. “Fly Away” suggests to me someone sitting at the piano late at night, expressing loneliness - or aloneness - by candlelight. This is another favorite, as is “The Rain Came Down.” Rain is often used to describe hurt or tears, but although the emotions in this piece are not joyful, the piece suggests peace and renewal. The title track is poignant and deeply-felt. Possibly the darkest of the pieces, it’s incredible. “Keeper of Light” and “Resolution” swing the mood back to hopeful yet remain very introspective. “Summer’s End” concludes August on a gentle and bittersweet note that fades out at the end without a final note. To be continued?

August is a wonderful musical journey for daydreaming, relaxing, and pure listening pleasure. It is available from, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!

Reviewed by Kathy Parson's Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions



by Marc Enfroy

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Marc Enfroy arrived on the music scene two years ago with his impressive debut Unbounded that was inspired and driven by his search for peace after the loss of his sister’s battle to cancer back in 2006. One year after his freshman effort, Awakening shows no sign of this artist falling into the sophomore jinx that appears to unravel the best of musicians as Enfroy continues to share songs of optimism and hope.

Once again Marc composes all of his own material that is driven by simple melodies that are expressive and emotional. Despite writing his own material Enfroy does well to add some organic assistance via Janet Sullins on violin, Jack Chen on flute and piccolo and Jillian Aversa contributing the occasional delicate wordless voice. The complete ensemble is best heard on “Maiden Of The Morning Star” that brings to mind the musical magic found on the Titanic Original Soundtrack.

Those of you that enjoy the expressive musical escapades of Tim Janis will be most pleased with the sentiment of the arousing opening track “Always”. Similar comparisons can be found on “The Promise”. This is in utter contrast to the less cluttered “Above The Clouds” that has a more simplistic approach that focuses on Jillian’s vocals and Enfroy’s piano work.

Marc Enfroy has been composing and arranging for less than four years and with this in mind his progression has been quite outstanding. While Awakening does not disappoint it also comes with the expectation that we have not yet seen the complete artist. Nevertheless, fans of Unbounded will be impressed with this solid addition to Enfroy’s recording portfolio.

Reviewed by Michael Debbage from the Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on
Ambient Visions

Ever Ever On

by Tom Salvatori
and Iris Litchfield

Visit Tom and Iris' website



Ever Ever On is the anxiously-awaited new album from Tom Salvatori and Iris Litchfield, following their award-winning 2007 release When Evening Falls. This new release is a 2-CD set with one disc featuring solo versions of each of the twelve pieces and the other featuring ensemble versions of the same twelve songs. The ensemble CD is not just a re-recording with someone playing keyboard instrumentation - these are live chamber musicians playing additional parts lovingly created by John Catchings in Nashville. The sound quality is stellar! The CDs alternate between piano pieces composed by Iris Litchfield, a classically-trained pianist and retired math teacher from England, and acoustic guitar pieces by Tom Salvatori, a classically-trained American guitarist. John Catchings appears with his soulful cello on all of the ensemble tracks. The rest of the chamber group includes violins and viola, bass, oboe, and French horn. The music itself is classically-styled with a contemporary attitude - gorgeous and heartfelt. It is difficult to choose which CD I like best. I love the simplicity of the gentle tunes played solo, but the additional musicians on the ensemble CD create so much depth and color that I love that one, too. The good news here is that no one needs to choose a favorite and the only decision to be made is which one to slip into the CD player first! Lucky us!

Ever Ever On begins with Ms. Litchfield’s “You’re With Me Still,” a tender love song that is haunting as a piano solo and becomes achingly beautiful with the addition of cello. What a way to start! Next up is Salvatori’s elegant and mysterious “Ghosts of Levigliani,” arranged for nylon string guitar and string quartet. “Escher’s Lullaby” is a fascinating trio for guitar, cello, and oboe - an unusual combination that really works with each instrument’s unique voice. I love both versions of “Blue Horizon” - solo piano and piano with string quintet - graceful, melancholy, and full of longing. “Whirlpool Song” returns to the guitar/cello/oboe trio - enchanting and soulful! “Dark Round” is a lovely slow, somber duet for cello and guitar. “To You With Love” is another favorite, this time a trio for piano, cello, and bass. Tender and gentle yet passionate, it soars while touching the heart. The closing track is the dark and mysterious “Folk Dance” for guitar, violin, cello, and bass. It is a slow and serious dance with a distinct Renaissance flavor. A gorgeous ending to an outstanding album!

Ever Ever On is certain to be on my Favorites list for the year! Give your ears and your mind a real treat and check this one out! It is available from Amazon and CD Baby. I give it my highest recommendation!

Reviewed by Kathy Parson's Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions