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Album Review: Essence of Being
Bruce Smith
Cover image of the album Essence of Being by Bruce Smith
Essence of Being
Bruce Smith
2008 / Bruce Smith
59 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Essence of Being is a new collection of fifteen original piano solos - two appear here for the first time and thirteen are some of Bruce Smith’s favorites from his previous twenty-three CD releases. Bruce Smith has been one of my favorite artists for quite some time. I love his sophisticated and emotional compositions along with his elegant and masterful playing style, and the way he deftly blends his classical training with contemporary jazz and new age genres. These are truly some of the best of his best, making for an hour of soothing yet complex piano music that comes from the heart.

“Emotions In the Night” makes its debut by opening the CD. Passionate and intense, it demonstrates Smith’s effortless virtuosity as his fingers dance all over the piano. “To My Love” is one of my favorites of all of Smith’s works. He has two versions of this piece, and this one has a rolling left hand that gives it a gentle grace. “Soldier In the Rain” is dark and tragic yet incredibly beautiful. Smith paints a vivid picture of loneliness and isolation with this piece, but it isn’t without hope. “Arija Mones” is a bit more abstract, creating an easy but melancholy mood. “Agitation” flies all over the piano - edgy but fun. “Kirsten” is another favorite. Heartfelt and full of longing, this one makes me sigh. I also love “Summer Ease,” a lazy, languid piece about steamy days and sultry nights. “Simple Joy” is one of Smith’s lighter pieces, flowing warmly and gently like a dream. “From the Inside Out” is something of a musical soliloquy, making it very easy to picture Smith playing the piano late at night either in the dark or by candlelight, pouring out his heart. “New Beginnings” is the other new piece, and is warm and cautiously optimistic. “Music’s Mystery” is another favorite. Dark, rolling, and very intense, it’s a beauty! “Nutie” is a breezy little piece of carefree piano jazz. “Romantic Baroque” always makes me smile. Smith introduces the theme in a very baroque style, which becomes more Romantic and then more romantic and contemporary. The piece goes through all kinds of thematic changes but holds together beautifully.

Bruce Smith is an artist who deserves much broader recognition. Do your ears and heart a favor, and check out Essence of Being. Very highly recommended!
September 2, 2008
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