David Lanz and Gary Stroutsos
2010 / Moon Boy Music
Review by Michael Debbage
Perhaps it was only a matter of time and also appropriate that the legendary group The Beatles would be covered by the legendary pianist David Lanz with a little help from his friends. And while the homage to this group is not a very original idea as it has been done by so many different artists, David’s liberal interpretations with his unique blend of New Age, jazz and classical strains makes Liverpool imaginative and inspiring.
Before you even have a chance to hear the first note a hint of things to come can be confirmed by simply looking at the running time of some of the songs. Three of them clock in from seven to eleven minutes the first being “Rain Eight Days A Week”. This particular track features one of the final recordings of the late great session musician Larry Knechtel who is featured on the Hammond Organ. Along with Gary Stroutsos on flute and Keith Lowe on upright bass, Lanz just wanders in and out of the team performance without distracting from this very fluid medley. Similar results can be found on the lesser known Beatle compositions “Because” and “I’m Only Sleeping taken from the Abbey Road and Revolver albums respectively. Here Lanz effectively merges the two into one memorable medley. Meanwhile Lanz closes out the album with his epic John Lennon suite “London Skies” that is anchored in the songs “Tomorrow Never Knows”, “Across The Universe” and then finally the barely recognizable ambient rendition of “Give Peace A Chance”.
In between the lengthy renditions include the very light, accessible and popular “Things We Said Today” that embarks with Alonzo Davideo’s guitar leaving you wanting more. In complete contrast, Lanz chooses to cover the rather obscure “Yes It Is” which was first released as the B side of the hit single “Ticket To Ride” back in 1965. And of course Lanz starts the whole shindig with his self penned composition “Liverpool” that takes subtle liberties of using the Fab Four’s musical phrasing’s throughout his song.
This is not the first time that Lanz has played tribute to the past. Back in 1998 he released the pleasant and predictable album Songs From An English Garden paying tribute to the British Invasion. This time around Lanz has focused on the Lennon and McCartney catalog and made his latest effort compelling and creative making Liverpool something borrowed, something old, something new, something bold.
November 25, 2010