2010 / Christopher Boscole
Review by Kathy Parsons
Inner Voyages is pianist/composer Christopher Boscole’s seventh solo piano release, following his very successful Presents of Angels. Boscole is a classically-trained pianist with a background in jazz and improvisational styles. He has been an educator and performing pianist for more than twenty years, and obviously feels completely at one with his piano. Blending a wide range of musical influences with his very impressive playing style, Boscole has the musicianship to express whatever he chooses at the piano and the sensibility to “keep it simple” when the music calls for it. The only thing that bothers me about this album is Boscole’s humming on several tracks. Instead of getting lost in the music, I found myself rearranging things on my desk that were near the speakers to see what was causing the buzz. I’m sure the humming is a sign that Boscole is thoroughly enjoying himself, but I find it very distracting since it isn’t always in tune or rhythm with the music itself.
“A Melody In My Heart” begins our voyage with a smooth, lyrical piece that exudes warmth and contentment. The title track is much more complex, with a left hand in constant rapid rolling motion and the right hand expressing a slow, dreamy melody - the contrasts are fascinating! “Heart of Romance” is a tender, graceful love song that evokes images of slow dancers and flowing gowns. “The Ice Skater” is one of my favorites. A piece with a Russian flavor, it alternates between a smooth, fluid style and flashy, sparkling one - much like the contrasts of a skater’s routine. “Princess Taiping” has a Chinese sound and is named for either The Tang Dynasty’s “Princess of Peace” or the replica of a Ming Dynasty junk built to sail from China to the US and back, but that sank shortly before it reached its final destination in April 2009. Very flowing and relaxed, it’s an elegant musical story either way. “Land of Sea and Sky” is another favorite. My impression is that the left hand is depicting the rolling wave motion of the sea while the right hand is the more solid earth - beautiful! I also really like “Memories of Satie.” It begins with a variation on Satie’s “Gymnopedies,” and evolves from there, suggesting the original, but going in different melodic directions - a very effective tribute! My favorite track, “Cry of the Birds” is darker and more impressionistic. With the freedom and expression of a passionate improvisation, Boscole creates a vivid musical picture. “Suite Sunrise” depicts sparkling sunlight dancing on water as the sun slowly rises and sets the world aglow. And so ends our “inner voyage” - at least for now.
Inner Voyages is a great choice for those who like solo piano with substance and exceptional playing. It is available from Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Check it out!
March 20, 2010