A Cup of Moonlight
2006 / Sound Traveler
Review by Michael Debbage
Originally released back in 2003 via the David Lanz website why would one of the major labels not release this splendid piece of “sweet melancholy”. Is it indicative of the current condition of the New Age market? Their loss as this repackaging not only represents some of Lanz’s most intimate recordings that he has composed from 1999 thru 2006 but it is also one of the debuts on the new label Sound Traveler.
The original version included seven tracks that are all included here as well as the still lengthy improvisational track "Heaven And Earth". Despite taking about 7 minutes off the 17 minute track the new 10 minute version still has plenty of room to meander and breathe. It is probably not the highlight of the album as this format is better imparted by Lanz's former Narada label mate Michael Jones. Still, it is wonderful to hear David experiment and venture out.
The remainder of the album is the pure romanticism that his fans have come to love and adore. Some of the tracks may already sound familiar as they have already been made available as downloads on his website. One of the tracks that did appear on his site in the past is the fluttering and flirtatious "Butterfly". This is Lanz at his best allowing his music to live and play out its title. As he flitters over his keys softly one can only imagine the beautiful colors of a weightless butterfly floating gently in the soft breeze.
Meanwhile, there is the very bare title track A Cup of Moonlight that physically and musically falls somewhere between the more accessible "Butterfly" and the roaming "Heaven And Earth". But if you are wanting the more overstated there is the gorgeous classical influenced opening track "Lover's Tarot" and "A Song Of Soul" that are geared more to the Cristofori's Dream era. And what a commercial and critical success that album was. In contrast, there is "In Stillness" that is more placid and would fit more with Lanz's very early recordings.
For those of you that are thinking twice about purchasing the cd the repackaging includes extensive liner notes from Lanz sharing about the origin of each composition. Better yet there are two new songs, the first being “Ambient Plains” that pays a fitting tribute to George Winston. On a more somber note “Along The Garden Wall” pays homage to the soldiers lost in the Vietnam War with an appropriate incorporation of “Taps”.
Whether the above is persuasive enough or not the most important factor is that A Cup of Moonlight represents one of the first albums on Lanz and Gary Stroutsos’ brand new label Sound Traveler thus circumventing the restrictions that a big label may present. If you simply missed it first time around and his prior smooth jazz adventure The Good Life was not your cup of tea then brew up A Cup of Moonlight and sip slowly and gently...it is good to the last drop and will truly quench your thirst.
January 6, 2007