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Album Review: French Impressions
David Lanz
Cover image of the album French Impressions by David Lanz
French Impressions
David Lanz
2017 / David Lanz and Kristin Marie Lanz
38 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
I have been a big fan of David Lanz’s music since the mid-1980’s when he released a couple of nature-themed albums with guitarist Paul Speer. I saw his first San Francisco concert and almost all of the concerts he did in the Bay Area until I moved to Oregon ten years ago. Lanz’s sheet music has been a staple of my teaching repertoire for going on 30 years, and he has performed several student workshops and house concerts in my home, so I think I can safely say I’m very familiar with all of the music he has recorded and released. There have been a few of Lanz’s dozens of recordings that have featured solo piano improvisations, but this is the first album of only improvised music. Over the past few years, Lanz has moved out of the US, re-married, and is a very recent father of twins, so why wouldn’t there be some changes in his music as well? Artists need room to grow and evolve, and while these improvisations are different from Lanz’s more composed music, they are beautiful, intimate vignettes born when the artist was completely in the moment, letting the music happen without conscious direction or control.

The twelve improvisations were recorded in the early mornings of the summer of 2016 in Lanz’s temporary home in France. They were his warm-ups and mental preparations for recording the compositions that became his Norwegian Rain album. When he listened to the recordings of the improvisations, “I found that the lack of structure and preordained melody made for an enjoyable ambient yet sophisticated sonic experience” (quoted from the liner notes of the album). I admit that I have always preferred Lanz’s composed music to his improvisations, but there is something very fresh and heartfelt about this collection that I really like. The pieces range from under two minutes to about 5 1/2 minutes and are relaxed, flowing and very beautiful.

I know there are many people who would like David Lanz to keep producing music similar to “Cristofori’s Dream” and some of the other music that made him a piano legend and a major influence on so many younger pianists and composers, but I love that French Impressions is David Lanz just being himself, at one with his piano and allowing his musical persona to evolve a somewhat different direction.

French Impressions is available from www.DavidLanz.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Very highly recommended to those who are open to a different side of David Lanz’s music. I think you’ll enjoy the journey!
October 16, 2017
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