2009 / Wayne Gratz Music
Review by Michael Debbage
There are some albums that jump out at you with their immediate hooks and grab you by the throat and provide you as a listener with immediate gratification. However, the sustaining ability of these types of albums is sometimes very limited as they quickly become all too familiar. The other type of albums are unassuming that slowly find a quiet place in your heart with its understated melodies with an enduring soundtrack that will last a lifetime. Two Views, much like the entire catalog of the gentle pianist Wayne Gratz, is one of those albums that is both endearing and enduring.
Not since 2002’s A Place Without Noise has Gratz collaborated with another musician. Since then his creations have featured the occasional wispy synthesized strings lightly washed in the background. This time around we don’t even get that as Two Views is over 53 minutes of Gratz and his piano sharing his latest creations. Trying to find a favorite child is difficult but also trying to find a filler track just does not exist as all fifteen tracks have their own charming qualities.
That said, there are some compositions that stand out a little more than the others and the first obvious one being the slow rhythmic melody of “White Winter Dusk”. One can almost imagine the twilight of a cold winter’s day coming to an end yearning to embrace the warmth and security of home after a long harsh day. Similar effects are found on “May Morning” only this time it brings to mind the slow silent awakening of Mother Earth on a soft day of spring. Even more leisurely is the spacious and almost improvisational qualities of “Simply” that truly lives up to its title. Unfortunately, the song clocks in at just over three minutes leaving you with the feeling that the track could have been twice as long with no detrimental effect on its quality. The same can be said for “Place Of Inspiration” and while the song is a little more structured, its spatial qualities are ever present.
Two Views may not jump out at you but what Wayne Gratz album has? This gifted composer has found the ability to make intelligent and impressive music for over 22 years with or without a recording label. And while many other artists will come and go with their over the top musical presentation, Gratz track record, especially of recent, would suggest that ten years from now he will still be creating music that has the familiarity and friendliness of your well worn and favorite comfy chair. Sit down, put up your feet and embrace the warmth of Wayne Gratz and Two Views.
June 1, 2009
Review by Kathy Parsons