Walk in the Sun
2005 / Creative Muse Productions
Review by Michael Debbage
As a reviewer, each year there comes a time when you find a hidden treasure that the listening public seems to have mysteriously overlooked or missed. It appears it is that time of the year with the discovery of pianist Jeanette Alexander. Combining elements of David Lanz and Tingstad and Rumbel along with her own signature playing, Alexander presents her third recording, Walk in the Sun which is as warm and invigorating as the title would suggest.
Alexander arrived on the recording scene back in 1998 when she released her impressive debut Still Point on her own label Creative Muse Productions. All self penned, Alexander teamed up with violinist and producer Geoffrey Castle (previously known as Jeffrey Sick) for her freshman effort and fresh the music was indeed. Nevertheless, this did not stop her from making some changes on her follow up album Open Sky, creating a more vibrant and colorful performance. With the exception of a co-credit on “The Road To Caernavon”, the songs were once again self composed reflecting the strength of this up and coming composer. The album also featured both Nancy Rumbel and Eric Tingstad on oboe and guitar respectively, thus the musical comparisons.
Which brings us to a Walk in the Sun, which continues on the very fine traditions set by her prior recordings. There is a repeat appearance from Nancy Rumbel who is featured on the flowing opening track “Peaceful Path”. The magical merger of Alexander’s piano work with Nancy’s oboe immediately sets the tone of the entire album. Rumbel can also be heard on “While I’m Waiting” that also integrates seamlessly with the violin work despite the cross rhythms, making it sweetly intoxicating.
For a more scaled down and classical approach there is the bare “Rain” that features Alexander counter pointing with the violin work of Geoffrey Castle. In contrast it sits next to the simplistic yet gorgeous lullaby of “Grandfather’s Clock”, with the light percussion duplicating the precision of a clocks heartbeat. Apparently, this particular song has already been featured on the Japanese album version of Open Sky. Speaking of percussion there is the full fledged drums of Ben Smith found on “Anniversary Song”. It is probably the most upbeat song on the album, yet it does not sound out of place nor does it put the pastoral theme at risk.
Alexander closes out the album with the appropriately titled “Sun Down” which also features the lyrical content that inspired the composition. The reflective and fluid song avoids a vocal performance keeping with the all instrumental theme. However, considering the lyrics were also partially penned from Alexander, who knows what the future will hold as far as vocal exploration is concerned.
That said, if you enjoy those sweet warm summer days of your therapeutic walks in your local park, enhanced by natures colorful pastel of flowers soothed by the shades of the oak trees looming over you, then you will love the soundtrack of Walk in the Sun. Endorsed by the likes of David Lanz and Paul Speer, it is time the listening public lend a ear and take a walk in the warmth of the music of Alexander.
January 1, 2005