2016 / Trent Briden
Review by Kathy Parsons
Introspection is the debut recording of a very promising young pianist/composer, Trent Briden. Currently a sophomore at Auburn University in Alabama, Briden was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. A recipient of the Kay Reynolds Beaty Music Endowment Scholarship Award, Briden is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in classical piano performance. He is the pianist for The Evans Project jazz combo and the Auburn Big Band. He is also pursuing a degree in Finance and is a member of the Auburn University Honors College. Citing influences as diverse as Rachmaninov, Dave Matthews Band, Keith Jarrett, and Oscar Peterson, it is no wonder that Briden’s music is impossible to categorize (always a good thing in my book!). Some of the nine original pieces are lyrical and melodic while others are more powerful. Briden describes his music in this way: “….my music does not fit into one specific genre. I like to think of it simply as music. Ultimately the purpose of music is to communicate ideas and emotions through the language of music, which I believe is far more powerful and compelling than the language of words. In order to authentically communicate my ideas that have resulted from a unique and diversified musical background, the walls between genres and styles must be broken down. With a focus on elements such as rhythmic complexity, jazz and classical harmony, and emotional builds/crescendos, my solo piano music is a unique blend that I am excited to share with you.”
Introspection begins with “Hope,” a lively jazz-infused piece that all but dances for joy. It begins fairly quietly with a repeated left hand motif, and then gradually builds to a dramatic peak that continues almost to the end and then trails off. “Days Go By” has a strong gospel influence. The second half of the track feels more improvised as a kind of theme and variations. As its title suggests, “Chaos” is all over the piano with a funky left hand rhythm and an intense theme that runs throughout the piece. “New Dawn” goes in an entirely different direction with a slower tempo and dreamier feel at the beginning, building to a jazzier and edgier middle section that seems to convey the exciting possibilities of a new day - or maybe it’s the jolt from that first cup of coffee in the morning! Anyway, it’s my favorite track. “Together” has a melody strong enough to support lyrics and has the feeling of a jazz standard. “Reflections” is another favorite. Much more classical in style, a variety of moods are expressed from peaceful and contented to intense and dramatic and back again. The warm, rhythmic and upbeat “First Day” expresses the excitement of new beginnings. “Losing Streak” is agitated and intense with a heavy percussive feel in the deep bass of the piano and an impassioned overall feel - a great way to let off steam and alleviate frustration! The title track is just over 6 1/2 minutes, giving it plenty of time to explore different emotions and to express a variety of themes and thoughts that can occur while looking inward. This one also becomes very intense and powerful, leaving a strong (and positive) impression as the album winds down to the end.
Trent Briden is off to a great start on his recording career, and I look forward to hearing what he does next! Introspection is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Check it out!
December 12, 2016