Journey to Forever
2008 / Bruce Smith
Review by Kathy Parsons
Journey to Forever is a “favorites” album hand-picked by the artist himself, Bruce Smith, from his previous twenty-three albums. Smith has been one of my favorite artists for quite a few years now, and I love his effortless playing and flawless technique. Smith’s music doesn’t really fit into one single genre or category, as he blurs the lines between jazz, pop, classical, and even some blues and new age. His music is intelligent and sophisticated, but also passionate and accessible. He has quite a distinctive playing style that dazzles without being flamboyant. These eighteen tracks are a great get-acquainted package for those new to Smith’s music, and a thoroughly enjoyable “best of” compilation for those who know it well. It is always interesting to learn what an artist’s favorites are of his or her own works, and this is a fascinating sampler.
I like all of the tracks on Journey to Forever, but I’ll mention a few favorites. The CD begins with the title track, a flowing, passionate, and very intense piece that I love (hey, Bruce - how about some sheet music???). “Lost Children” is another dark and haunting beauty. “Joyous Soul” swings the mood back up into the sunshine. “Lover’s Stride” is as effortless and comfortable as a cozy nap - not a care in the world and just happy to be alive. “Piano Sonata in Cm” is a fascinating tapestry of mostly classical themes woven together to create an almost eleven-minute piece that works beautifully. “Children of Spring” is light and breezy and melodic enough to support lyrics if Smith ever wanted to do that. “Rhythm Me” picks up the tempo and dances around the piano with a very catchy left hand and beautiful right-hand melody. “Coming Home” is more of a ballad that hints of happy anticipation. I especially like “Cool Fancy.” Jazzy and very “cool,” it has a bit of sass and attitude coupled with a more down-to-earth theme - a great piece! I also really love “My Solace,” an eloquent soliloquy that is on the dark side for a couple of minutes and then picks up the tempo and rhythm to a swirling variation, returning to the original theme. The closing track, “Sunset,” is a gorgeous piece composed to honor the passing of Ronald Reagan.
Journey to Forever is another great album from Bruce Smith, and is available from CDBaby.com. Very highly recommended!
September 10, 2008