“Piano Expressions” is Lore Constantine’s follow-up to her 2007 debut recording, “Piano Impressions.” The fourteen solo piano tracks consist of a broad range of music most of which is played in a New Orleans jazz style. Two of the pieces are originals, and the others are Constantine’s arrangements of pieces by Lyle Lovett, James Booker, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and others – a rather dizzying mix that is held together by Constantine’s playing style and approach to the music. Her playing is often big and bold, so I wouldn’t call this music to fall asleep with. It’s more for energizing than relaxation, although a few of the songs are on the quiet side. Along with the obvious rock and blues influences, Constantine has a strong classical music background that is the most apparent in her original music.
The CD begins with Lovett’s “She’s No Lady,” arranged in an upbeat, playful style that seems to grin. My favorite track is The Grateful Dead’s “Black Peter” with its slow, soulful, funky blues. Constantine’s “Serenity” is more delicate and peaceful, in keeping with its title. I never would have thought of Pink Floyd’s music being workable as piano solos, but Constantine’s version of “Breathe” is very effective. On the other hand, most of The Beatles’ music sounds great on the piano, and her take on “Norwegian Wood” is beautiful and flowing. I also really like Bruce Springsteen’s “New York City Serenade,” a slow, enchanting ballad that evokes real passion. Constantine included two of Bob Dylan’s songs, “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” and “Lay, Lady, Lay.” The first is good-time music, full of fun and spirit; and the second is a tender love song – Constantine brings both to life even without the words. “Hop Skip Blues” is the other original piece, and Constantine calls it “a kind of blues meets Chopin” piece – also a lot of fun! She then finishes the album with another Grateful Dead tune, the bright and energetic “Ripple.”
The music on “Piano Expressions” is a lot of fun to listen to and I’m sure it will bring some real piano pizzazz to many parties! It is available from www.loreconstantine.com, cdbaby.com, and will be available soon from iTunes. Enjoy!
Reviewed by Kathy Parson's Mainly Piano website reprinted with permission on Ambient Visions