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Album Review: Shadowlight
Brad Jacobsen
Cover image of the album Shadowlight by Brad Jacobsen
Brad Jacobsen
2020 / Brad Jacobsen Music
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Shadowlight is the ninth solo piano album from award-winning pianist/composer Brad Jacobsen. On his website, Brad describes the album this way: “[Shadowlight] was inspired by recent thoughts, feelings, and experiences that have caused me to view life from a new perspective. The year 2019 brought some positive changes in my life, and these ten tracks of original music are among the most personal I’ve ever written.” The title refers to the concept of a shadow that is produced by the projection of light rather than the absence of it and is associated with someone bringing their light and positivity into a dark and/or gloomy environment. A children’s librarian as well as a composer, Brad is a natural storyteller whether he uses words or music (and sometimes both!), and he tells colorful musical tales that are vivid and personal yet allow listeners to relate them to their own experiences. For the piano players out there, a songbook of all of the music from this album is in the works and should be available shortly.

Shadowlight begins with “Abundance,” a bright and sparkling piece that doesn’t stop moving until the final passage - a great and joyful beginning! It was recorded in one take on the first day of recording the album. “I was really feeling peace, joy and gratitude, and every time I listen to or play this song, I feel that way again.” “Path” is one of my favorites. Brad mentions that it is about watching his sons growing up and becoming fine young men. The smooth and relaxed walking tempo feels much like following a path you’ve never walked before just to see where it goes, enjoying all that it has to offer. “Quiet Wisdom” is very gentle and understated, and refers to learning to be alone with one’s thoughts and “the peace and wisdom that come from simply being still.” A calming grace flows from every note as well as the spaces between the notes. I like Brad’s description of “Awareness and Affirmation”: “The beginning of the song reflects some self-realization, and so it is a bit melancholy.  The awareness that things may need to change isn't easy, but as the song progresses, the recurring melody develops a tone of strength and affirmation.  That feeling of, ‘Yes, I AM good enough, and I CAN do this.’” “Gold” is another favorite and is about recognizing and appreciating the things that truly matter in life and bring lasting happiness. Thoughtful and introspective, it also seems to express warmth and gratitude. I love the freedom and flowing motion of “Lucid Drift,” a nod to the Tolkien quote that “Not all that wander are lost.” “It kind of feels like bobbing aimlessly on the water, but there is a feeling of intention in there as well.” I really enjoyed playing this piece when I was editing the sheet music and find it to be peaceful yet purposeful! “Clarity” was inspired by Brad’s 12-year-old son and thinking about how life should never lose the joy, wonder and innocence of childhood. Graceful movement expresses that moment when everything makes sense or falls into place. “Soul Conversation” is an evening or late night meditation - working things out at the piano - a heartfelt and intimate look into someone’s deepest thoughts.

Shadowlight is a very special shared experience and could easily be Brad Jacobsen’s best album to date. It is available from www.BradJacobsenMusic.com, Amazon and iTunes/Apple Music.
February 17, 2020
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