2013 / Mark Freshwater
Review by Kathy Parsons
Nuevo Piano is the first solo recording by pianist/composer Mark Freshwater. The son of a piano teacher and a professional trombonist, Freshwater started taking classical piano lessons at the age of five and has been musically active ever since. The album title refers to a new keyboard Freshwater used for composing much of the music on this CD, the first music he has composed in about 38 years. He also recorded on a Kawai grand piano and a Korg Synthesizer. The twelve tracks present an interesting blend of instrumental musical styles. Some of the pieces are solo piano and others are more orchestrated. Freshwater says in the liner notes: “By design, this music can be played loud or soft, depending on your environment and mood.” All but one of the tracks was recorded in Freshwater’s home studio in Tucson, Arizona, and he promises a second album to be released later this year.
Nuevo Piano begins with “Cold Morn,” a mostly piano piece that has a light string accompaniment. Slow, graceful and just a bit moody, it’s a lovely opening. “Speak Your Mind” is an instrumental reworking of a rock song Freshwater wrote in 1974. Piano, organ, and a pulsing drum give this piece a catchy beat and spirited melody. “Target Hill Interlude” is an open three-chord jam done in one take and features Tom Abrahamson on harmonica. Freshwater plays an acoustic piano on this one and I like this sound much better than the digital. Dark and moody with a bluesy flavor, this is a favorite. I also really like “Win or Lose,” an uplifting piece that would be wonderful in the closing credits of a movie. Piano, organ, and atmospheric background sounds make this piece shimmer. The Chopin “Prelude in C Minor” is a short piece many advancing piano students learn. Freshwater includes it here along with his original variations on the theme. “Philly Jam” has the gentle sway of a cozy slow dance while “The Sea” includes sounds of the ocean and shorebirds to enhance the tranquility of the music. Freshwater saved the best for last with the closing track, “2000 Miles,” a very dramatic and passionate piece with piano and orchestrations that are powerful and emotional. Both thumbs up for this one!
Nuevo Piano is an impressive first effort, and I look forward to hearing what else Mark Freshwater has up his musical sleeves. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Check it out!
July 24, 2013