Piano Jazz Meditations
2023 / Dan Crisci
Review by Kathy Parsons
Piano Jazz Meditations is a wonderful solo piano album from Dan Crisci, a composer and life-long musician from New Jersey. As the title suggests, the ten tracks on the album are on the quiet, peaceful side, well-suited for sophisticated background music, but with plenty of substance to sink your listening "teeth" into again and again, discovering something new each time. There is a very pleasant variety of themes and styles in the music that never gets in the way of the flow of the album. All of the pieces seem to have a strong element of improvisation that enhances the relaxed feeling of the music, maintaining an easy-going vibe throughout. Dan has released a number of albums and singles over the years, but this is the first of his music that I've heard, and I really like it!
Piano Jazz Meditations begins with "Blossom," a graceful piece that sets the quiet tone of the album. You can almost feel a gentle breeze ruffling the petals of a flower as the warmth of the sun soothes. "One Last Midnight" could refer to many things, but (obviously) suggests the ending of something. Thoughtful, melancholy and perhaps a bit nostalgic, a variety of emotions are expressed within this beautiful piece - one of my favorites. Almost magical, "Twilight" begins very quietly and gradually builds, always staying very relaxed. "Floating Away" feels very much like a dream of sailing on a fluffy white cloud, not a care in the world. Or it could be about drifting peacefully on the gentle ripples of a calm body of water. Either way, it's wonderfully relaxing. "Distant Thoughts" is another favorite. Much like daydreams or being lost in thought, the music wanders in several different directions, never straying too far from the main theme but free to wander and explore. I really like "My Dream," too. A bit moodier and more mysterious than some of the other tracks, it always stays dreamy and a bit "misty," allowing for a variety of interpretations. As its title suggests, "Waiting In the Wings" hints at a show-tune with a strong melody that could support lyrics. Possibly a musical soliloquy where the character is baring his or her soul about waiting for someone or something unlikely to happen, it seems to be telling a very personal story. "Respite" provides a beautiful place to take a break and just breathe. Speaking of musicals, "Impressions of Sondheim" is a fascinating musical portrait of one of the giants of musical theater. The album comes to a peaceful close with "In a Sense," another colorful story told without words that I'm sure will mean something different for each listener.
I have really enjoyed my time with Piano Jazz Meditations and look forward to hearing more music from Dan Crisci! The album is available from Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes as well as many streaming sites including Spotify. If you are looking for some calming piano music with substance, I highly recommend this one!
October 25, 2023