Black and White: 25th Anniversary Edition
2012 / WH Sound Studio, Inc.
Review by Kathy Parsons
Black and White: 25th Anniversary Edition is a re-release of Danny Wright’s first album (1986) and the first of the Black and White series that put Wright on the musical map. Now available in both CD and digital formats and released on Wright’s own WH Sound Studio, Inc. label, the recording is a remastered version of the original recording plus the bonus track of Danny’s all-time favorite Broadway song, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. Danny Wright is one of the few artists who performs classical music, movie themes, and Broadway show and pop tunes as well as his own original compositions. All of these genres were featured in the Black and White series, of which there were at least seven volumes plus “Best Of’s.” The majority of these volumes have been out of print for some time, but Wright recently acquired the masters to his Moulon D’Or records and has been re-releasing them a few at a time, remastered and repackaged with retrospective liner notes and personally-chosen bonus tracks.
Black and White begins with Beethoven’s ever-popular “Moonlight Sonata,” played as originally composed - faithful and straight from the heart. The nine-minute “Gershwin Medley” includes “The Man I Love,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and “Rhapsody in Blue,” performed with tremendous depth and emotional richness. “Memory,” “Send in the Clowns,” and “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” have become almost too familiar over the years, but Wright’s elegant and soulful takes on all three are good reminders of why the songs became so popular in the first place. As a piano teacher for 30+ years, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” is a piece that has lost its sparkle for me, but Wright’s arrangement is true to the classic with some original touches that make it more contemporary. The only Danny Wright original on this album is the lovely “Breezes,” one of his early compositions (he started composing in 1985). Flowing and emotionally powerful, it’s a beauty. The ending piece on the first version of this album was an eight-minute Barbra Streisand medley of “The Way We Were,” “Evergreen,” and “People” - all beautifully-arranged and performed. The new closing track is “I Dreamed a Dream,” a fitting ending to an illustrious first effort from twenty-five years ago.
Black and White: 25th Anniversary Edition and Danny Wright’s other new re-releases are available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. If you are looking for some familiar solo piano music played masterfully and with grace, you can’t beat this collection.
January 3, 2013