Longing For Home
2010 / Peter Jennison
Review by Michael Debbage
This is another of many albums that have received the production and performing high qualities that one has come to expect from Will Ackerman and his team. However, the most profound performance and creativity is not found in Ackerman et al but rather in the very personal compositions and presentation of pianist Peter Jennison. Titled Longing For Home (Songs From War) this album is not just a tribute to the soldiers and the families that sacrifice their relationships for our homeland but more so this is a musical memoir of Army Captain, Medevac Pilot and intensely sensitive pianist Peter Jennision.
This represents Peter’s debut recording album that was written during his second deployment during the Iraqi war. Written back in 2006 and 2007, Jennison expresses that the album is a means by which the listener can experience through evocative music the impact war has on all who are touched by it. And there is no better place than via the opening track “War” that begins with a rather solemn piano introduction that quickens in its tempo followed by subdued percussion from Jeff Haynes that almost sound like bombs exploding in the very far distance as the soldier darts while he attempts to advance.
Though “War” is probably the liveliest track on the album the more mellow tunes to follow do not diminish the visual images that Jennison continues to create. Such is the case on “Time Passage” that begins with Jennison playing on his piano the opening chime of a grandfather clock that you hear on the hour prior to it chiming. Though it reminded Jennison of his own Grandfather the music also effectively marks the extended time a solider spends away from their family. Such a simple musical idea that is profoundly visual. And then there is the more melodic “Longing For Home” that represents the beating heart and quickened pulse of that dedicated soldier right before they return to embrace their loved ones that they have dearly missed. The color yellow on the ribbons surrounding them on that day have never looked so bright.
Where Peter’s other songs are not quite as visual but nevertheless no less beautiful, his personal comments on each song assists you as the listener to feel the struggles of our armed forces and their willingness to lay down their life for their country with the hope that one day war will be no more. This is beautifully illustrated by the heart wrenching closer “Anthem (When We All Come Home)” that once again effectively uses Jeff Haynes well placed percussion embellishments.
Pianist Peter Jennison has not only recorded a beautiful and stunning debut but has also shared a deep part of his soul that has faced the brutal effects of war on the soldier and their families in hopes that others will be soothed by his therapeutic music. Peter will begun to write his follow up album next year that will be unfortunately driven by his third deployment to the parched deserts of Iraq. We will wish him traveling mercies and protection as this very heartfelt musician and soldier continues to bear arms and his soul for his country both at and away from war respectively.
October 10, 2010