2016 / Daniel Chadburn
Review by Kathy Parsons
Beyond Words is the sixth solo piano release from pianist/composer Dan Chadburn, and I think it’s his best album to date. The fourteen tracks were composed over a period of almost thirty years and were inspired by a wide variety of life experiences that are near and dear to Dan’s heart. A master of piano improvisation, most of these pieces began as improvs at home, in the studio, and in concert (one at my house two years ago!). Chadburn really opens his heart when he plays, and his sincerity and deep emotion communicate so well both live and in his recordings!
All of the tracks on Beyond Words are exceptional, but I’ll tell you about a few. The album begins with the beautifully-flowing “Awakening,” a piece that represents that exact moment when you remember someone or something from earlier in life and discover that the strong emotions you felt then are still there. Spilling over with love and tenderness, it’s a wonderful opening! Lively and carefree, “Joyful Morning” suggests a happy innocence and delight in simple things. If my CD player could smile, it would! “Healing Waters” is somewhat more ambient and free-form. It was improvised in the studio and reflects on the peaceful effect of waves on the seashore - so soothing! “Shelton Rain” is the oldest of the pieces on this album and was composed during a rainstorm in Shelton, WA in 1987. It reminds me of sitting by a window watching the rain and allowing your thoughts to drift from one thing to the next. “Tears of Angels” comes from an improvisation in memory of those shot and killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL a few months ago. Proceeds from the sale of this heartbreaking piece will be donated to the OneOrlando Fund (www.OneOrlando.org), a group committed to providing 100% of all money raised directly to victims' families and survivors. It’s an incredible piece and a very worthy cause. “Love is Love” is an emotional love theme that was created with the hope that one day everyone would have the right to marry his or her beloved. Another beautiful expression of passionate emotion, “Falling Forward” addresses those times when the only choice is to move - and fall - forward to get around the obstacles in our way. I really love this one! “Kal-Boy” is a loving tribute to a 20-year-old cat that will touch the heart of anyone who has ever loved a pet. I’m thrilled to say that “An Evening in Florence” began as in improvisation at one of my house concerts in 2014 - the first concert Dan performed here. I remember Dan’s father telling me that it was the first time he had heard Dan play in eight years, so it was an emotional evening in many ways. This lovely piece captures the feelings of love that enveloped the room throughout the concert. “Lullaby for Peace” was improvised in the studio and brings this wonderful album to a serene close.
Dan Chadburn is finally getting more of the name recognition he so deserves and Beyond Words is certain to be named as one of the best albums of the year. I guarantee that it will be on my Favorites list for 2016! It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. I give Beyond Words my highest recommendation!
August 31, 2016