2009 / Real Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Gentle Spirit is the perfect title for this latest release from German composer/pianist Bernward Koch. Silken melodies float on soft languid tones, soothing the mind and easing away the cares of the day. A few of the fifteen tracks have strong but quiet rhythms, while others are more ethereal. Koch appears on piano, keyboards, guitar, bass, glockenspiel, and programming. He is joined by his wife, Christiane Boehm, on flute, and his brother, Christoph, on percussion, making this is an elegant family project. There are places on this record that remind me strongly of label-mate Kevin Kern - never a bad thing, by any means! I just hope that the Real Music signature sound doesn’t become so homogenized that one artist is indistinguishable from the others. The production quality on this album is incredible, as it always is with Real Music releases.
Gentle Spirit begins with “The Treasure,” a breezy piece for piano, light percussion, and keyboards that sets the serene tone of the album. If it’s possible, “Immortal Thoughts” is even more soothing. As the title suggests, it is reflective and dreamy, seducing the listener into a peaceful state of mind. I really like “Get Free,” which picks up the rhythm a bit and offers a poignant, bittersweet melody. “Fragrant Way” also has a compelling rhythm along with a touch of exotic spice - lovely! “Under Trees” has the lazy pace of an afternoon daydream. Flute and organ add some contrasting colors that really work. “An Ancient Dance” is a surprising guitar solo that fits in better than you might expect. Elegant and graceful, it harkens back to less stressful and complicated times. “Back To Myself” is another favorite. More improvised and free, it is both mysterious and reflective with a slightly agitated edge. “A Little Ode” shimmers with grace and solitude. “Multi-Colored Windows” has a magical tranquility and a gentle sparkle. “A Shimmer of Leaves” ends the album with a message of hope and peace.
Gentle Spirit is a soothing balm for the mind and soul. Find it wherever Real Music releases are sold. It’s a beauty!
July 29, 2009
Review by Michael Debbage