Keys to My Heart
2006 / Rauttnee Publishing
Review by Kathy Parsons
Bruce Smith has to be one of the most prolific composers on the planet, and his music is consistently topnotch. Combining many musical forms to create his own unique solo piano style, Smith’s music is impossible to classify - always a good thing! His original approach and incredible playing chops make Smith a musical force to be reckoned with, and I’m continuously surprised that he isn’t much better-known than he is. Some of Smith’s jazz stylings have a slightly old-fashioned, “standards” feeling to them that convey grace and elegance that are often missing from contemporary culture. Several tracks have a very strong classical influence from several eras. Others definitely fall into the new age category, so there is truly something for everyone and, like me, many will love and appreciate the stylistic variety. A few of the tracks have appeared on previous recordings, but fit in well in this new collection of mostly original works.
“My Temporary Groove” begins the set with an upbeat, jazzy confection. “Celebration of Life” effectively combines Baroque and contemporary forms to make a joyous, swirling dance. “Lovers Stride” is one of the graceful “standards” that brings to mind visions of a darkened ballroom floor with elegantly-dressed lovers dancing cheek-to-cheek. Sigh.... “Passion’s Sadness” has classical elements, but its main theme is almost wrenching with its deep emotional power. The secondary theme is much livelier and more spirited, and then returns to the first theme. This piece sounds like a lot of fun to play! “Daybreak” is a quiet, peaceful beauty. “A Taste of Scarlatti” is just what the title implies. “Life Begins Here” has a simple melody and a gently rolling accompaniment that create a lovely, romantic mood. “Lost Children” is a favorite. Dark and mysterious, it is both classical and contemporary. “From the Inside Out” feels like a late-night musing, alone in the dark with the piano. Emotional truth and clarity seem to come with those special times. Lightness and innocence return with “Children of Spring.” “A Gentle Touch” is another favorite. Combining classical structure and new age simplicity, a lovely, emotionally rich piece is created. “Benito’s Guitar” is gorgeous. Slow and sensual, the minor-key melody tugs at the heartstrings. Wow! “Lovers Goodbye” is beautifully poignant. The closing track, “Sunset (Reagan’s)” was composed in honor of our former president’s death. Quiet and simple, it is one of Smith’s most emotionally compelling pieces. What a lovely tribute, and what a great album!
Keys to My Heart is a wonderful addition to your collection if you have an appreciation for a truly versatile and eclectic artist who stays true to his own musical vision no matter which way the stylistic wind blows. Bruce Smith is one of my favorite artists, and I look forward to interviewing him in the coming months. Keys is available from cdbaby.com. Highly recommended!
July 9, 2007