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Album Review: The Piano
Chad Lawson
Cover image of the album The Piano by Chad Lawson
The Piano
Chad Lawson
2011 / Chad Lawson
50 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Piano is Chad Lawson’s second CD of original piano solos, following his immensely popular Set on a Hill, the 2009 Whisperings Solo Piano Radio Album of the Year. It is no surprise that The Piano has been nominated for the 2011 Album of the Year as well. Lawson’s playing defines “velvet touch,” and he often approaches the piano with the French Impressionists’ ideal - playing the piano as though it doesn’t have hammers. A classically-trained pianist with an extensive jazz background, Lawson can do it all when it comes to music, but his original solo piano work is nothing short of sublime. The Piano was recorded at Joe Bongiorno’s Piano Haven studio, and his Kawai grand piano is a perfect fit for Lawson’s delicate and evocative music.

The Piano begins with “Preludium in C Major” by JS Bach, but not an exact playing of that piece. It is interesting to note that Bach didn’t like the piano (a new invention in his own lifetime) and considered it a passing fancy. He was also a great improvisor, and I can picture him sitting in heaven in his powdered wig smiling kindly on Lawson playing his own take on Bach’s most famous prelude. “Nocturne in A Minor” is a nod to Chopin and is absolutely stunning for its delicate complexity and emotional depth. I saw Lawson play this piece live recently, and the people around me said they had never seen me so enraptured in a performance. I’m really looking forward to the sheet music for this one! “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud” is as wistful as a daydream and as graceful as a spring breeze. Light and bittersweet, it’s gorgeous! “Rest Now Weary Soul” is dedicated to the late Amy Winehouse and expresses deep sadness and a sense of loss with a gentle touch filled with tenderness. “Swan Lake” is fragile it is so delicate, evoking visions of the graceful birds gliding effortlessly on a tranquil body of water. Music just doesn’t get more peaceful than this! “Ballade in C Minor” is another favorite with possible references to Chopin. This piece reveals a bit more than the others just what an amazing pianist Lawson is, both technically and expressively. This one rates a great big “WOW!” Love it! “Goodnight, Daniel” is a tender lullaby composed for the birth of Lawson’s son. I’d be willing to bet that this piece sends the baby boy into sweet Dreamland every time! “My Romance” is one of those wonderful pieces that feels like an intimate conversation with someone very dear - honest and unguarded, completely from the heart. What a lovely conclusion to a fantastic album!

I would expect The Piano to be on many Favorites lists for 2011, and promise that it will be on mine! This is an amazing album, so treat yourself to the pleasure of listening to one of the very best. It is available from chadlawson.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. I give it my highest recommendation.
December 20, 2011
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Kathy's Favorites: 2011
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