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Album Review: Cascades
Arturo Mayorga
Cover image of the album Cascades by Arturo Mayorga
Arturo Mayorga
2009 / Arturo Mayorga
47 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Cascades is the debut recording from pianist/composer Arturo Mayorga. Most of the ten tracks are piano with keyboard orchestration and embellishments, and several indicate a strong influence from Yanni. There is a variety of moods in the pieces - some are soft and romantic while others are darker and more powerful - indicating that Mayorga has a good range of styles. Cascades is a very strong debut even though it is a little heavy on the synth strings.

“Sunrise” begins the album with a hushed sense of mystery. As the piece evolves, it becomes more colorful and melodic while maintaining a mood of calm optimism. The title track picks up the tempo a bit. The left hand plays a flowing accompaniment to the lovely melody while gentle percussion and string washes in the background add dimension. “Painting On Silence” has a very strong influence from Yanni’s “In My Time” era - graceful, smooth, and melodic. “Lone Walk” is a favorite. Darker and more melancholy, this one reminds me of Dax Johnson in places. Piano, strings, and percussion are evocative and moody. “In-Side Change” is also on the dark, pensive side, and voices join the instrumental mix. It’s a beautiful piece, but I’m not crazy about the solo violin (keyboard). “Nocturne No. 2” takes a more classical turn and is solo piano. I really like “Secret Life,” which also has hints of Yanni. Upbeat and rhythmic, it is one of the more joyous pieces on the album. “Water Dance” is another favorite. A bit more ambient for the first two minutes, the haunting flute casts a quiet spell. Then the piano comes in, swirling and dancing. Eventually, the flute returns along with strings, creating a joyous celebration.

Cascades is a strong and promising first album from Arturo Mayorga, a musician who obviously loves what he’s doing. It is available from arturomayorga.com, cdbaby.com, amazon.com (download), and iTunes. Have a listen!
June 18, 2009
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums
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