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Album Review: Pools of Light
Brian Kelly
Cover image of the album Pools of Light by Brian Kelly
Pools of Light
Brian Kelly
2004 / Skylight Music
48 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Pools of Light by pianist/composer Brian Kelly is sure to be on my Top 10 favorite CDs list for 2004. An amazing debut, the album is comprised of music composed and played in a variety of styles that include jazz, classical, and world. Two of the pieces are solo piano, and the other eleven tracks include keyboards, flute, and/or percussion. Kelly’s playing style has an easy elegance that comes from a phenomenal technique and chops to burn. His music is rhythmic and lyrical, and the moods range from pensive to joyous to ethereal. Despite the changing moods, the CD as a whole has a wonderful flow and cohesiveness, creating an uplifting and relaxing musical experience.

“Open Sky” opens the album with a buoyant, carefree piece that is full of rhythm and excitement. The title track is much more meditative and soothing, and was inspired by a trip to Maui. “Cool Blue” is a great jazz piece for flute, piano, percussion, and bass - this one sounds like fun to play! ”Sacred Waters” is a surprising little percussion interlude inspired by a waterfall in a jungle on Maui. My favorite track is “Troubadour,“ an ensemble piece where Kelly played all of the instruments himself (piano, sampled guitar, bass, and drums). A little mysterious, it was influenced by Kelly’s years of singing a capella Renaissance music. Parts of the piece swirl and dance, and others are a bit quieter. I really like the energy in this one! “Angels Breathing” is very new agey with floating sounds, gentle bells, and a beautiful piano part. “With Eyes Closed” is another favorite. Rhythmic and kind of dark, it, too, has a compelling energy and spirit that are addictive. “Home At Last” is a gorgeous piano solo with a beautiful flow. “Calling For Rain” is more of a smooth jazz piece, a little dark, a bit mysterious, and there’s that catchy, compelling rhythm again! Good stuff! The second piano solo, “Speak Your Heart,” is much showier and full of passion - it really shows what Kelly can do at the piano. “When Stars Align” closes the album with an upbeat and breezy little jazz piece.

Pools of Light is an outstanding debut, and Brian Kelly is a very versatile musician who is comfortable playing many styles. Samples and purchases are available at briankelly.com, and the CD is available at amazon.com and cdbaby.com. Very highly recommended!
August 31, 2004
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