2014 / Brian Hagen
Review by Kathy Parsons
Midnight Moods is a six-song/19-minute EP that contains the piano solos from Brian Hagen’s full-length release, Inward Spaces... Outward Places (2014). The longer album includes ensemble arrangements of some of these pieces (as well as the solos) plus a very interesting blend of music styles, but if you are looking for piano solos with smooth jazz and classical vibes, Midnight Moods is a great choice!
Brian Hagen has been playing the piano since he was a very young child and took lessons all the way through being piano music major in college, studying both classical music and jazz. In addition to a regular playing gig at an upscale restaurant in Madison, WI and composing and arranging his own music, Hagen has been active in improvisational theater, providing improvised music on keyboards.
Midnight Moods begins with “Dizziness,” a warm, breezy piece with hints of Antonio Carlos Jobim - smooth and elegant, yet energizing. “Sonatina Op. 38 #1” is one of Muzio Clementi’s many shorter works for piano - light and gently playful. “I Never Knew Her” is a beautiful jazz ballad with a melody strong enough to support lyrics (although the melody speaks volumes without any words) - elegant and heartfelt. The strong jazzy melody of “Distantly” is supported by a gracefully swaying rhythm. At a little over five minutes, “Clara’s Song” is the longest piece on the album. Sometimes wistful and dreamy, sometimes bolder and more confident, I love the free, spontaneous feeling of this lovely piece. As its title suggests, “Quietly” is more subdued and introspective. Even so, the warmth and expressiveness of the piece make it my favorite of the six.
Midnight Moods is a very nice sampler of some of Brian Hagen’s playing styles and is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
March 8, 2016