2005 / Paradise Music
Review by Michael Debbage
While the multi instrumentalist Chris Conway maybe a new name for this reviewer, this US born talented musician has been recording music for many years. In fact, his website indicates that he has been involved in over 35 recordings in some capacity. An artist with the wanderlust desire to express, Conway refuses to be restricted by either genre or his instrumental voice. However, Sanctuary is a very successful attempt in placing the artist behind a grand piano to record compositions that he has recorded over a 20 year period.
Despite featuring compositions that Conway has created over time, the album has a very spontaneous and improvised feel to it. For the most part the tracks have a very loose structure to them allowing Conway to weave around on the keys but in a very contemplative fashion. The songs with the greater frame work and melody standout include the tracks such as “Beyond Distance”, “Cry For The Mountains” and “Mantra”. Though melodically, “Kishori” is by far the most memorable track.
From a completely different angle, Conway’s title track “Sanctuary” clocks in over 7 minutes and has an expansive style reminiscent of the Great Improviser Michael Jones. Recorded live and produced by the artist himself under the watchful ear of Llewellyn, the sound quality is notable. Meanwhile, if you are looking for the more eclectic Conway, check out the remarkable River Of Life released the same year where he plays just about everything but the kitchen sink.
There is no doubting the talent of this multi-instrumentalist who is equally at home on the piano as he is on the guitar and the many other instruments that he is more than capable of playing. From the album cover to the musical content, Sanctuary is a very purposeful album that is focused on providing us with a quiet backdrop during our retreat from the everyday hustle and bustle of life.
May 5, 2005