is a delightful collection of smooth jazz pieces inspired by the birth of Chris Welch’s child. Mostly lullabies and nocturnes, the music is gentle and easy, but never mushy or cloying. Welch plays piano and keyboards, and is joined on most of the pieces with a combination of bass, guitar, percussion, and vibraphone. Smooth enough for a backdrop for other activities, this music really should be listened to and savored. My favorite track is “Nocturne in C Minor”, which begins with a melancholy guitar melody line. Welch comes in with a simple rhythm on piano, and then the piece evolves into a gorgeous duet for piano and guitar, maintaining the bittersweet flavor of the opening passage, but becoming improvised and almost bluesy. A great piece! The opening track, “Prelude, Op. 11 #3” is also especially nice - a warm and inviting solo piano piece with a jazzy rhythm. “Interlude #2” opens with rather darkly mysterious piano chords, and then the guitar enters to lighten the mood a bit - another stand-out piano and guitar duet. Classical influences can be heard in Welch’s music as well as the more obvious jazz background. His music is a cut above a lot of smooth jazz. It is immediately accessible, but complex enough to listen to over and over, discovering different nuances each time. This is a very enjoyable album, and I recommend it! It is available from chriswelch.net
, amazon.com, and cdbaby.com.