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Album Review: Along the Curve
Dave Sterling
Cover image of the album Along the Curve by Dave Sterling
Along the Curve
Dave Sterling
2005 / Dave Sterling
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Along the Curve is pianist/composer Dave Sterling’s second release of energetic piano pieces, all of which are orchestrated to some degree. Sterling’s classical training is very apparent, but there are jazz, rock, and even country influences that make his music timeless and keep it fresh. Most of the orchestration is accomplished with keyboards, but several tracks feature “live” musicians such as Glenn Lambert on horns, Nancy Messuri on violin, Andrea Robbins on oboe, and Riley Wilson on guitar. Spiritually uplifting and optimistic, this is great music for when you need to recharge your energy level.

The CD opens with “Dancing on the Rock,” a piece inspired by Rene Magritte’s painting, “La Chateau des Pyrenees,” which depicts a castle built on a big rock that is floating above the ocean. One of the higher-energy pieces, the rhythm is infectious and the melody is joyful. “Stephanie’s Lullaby” is a lovely piece composed for Sterling’s niece. Nancy Messuri’s violin and an accompanying flute add a Celtic/folk song flavor that is charming. “Men of Honor” is very militaristic, honoring “men and women of the United States military, past, present, and future.” This is a big, celebratory piece that would work in well in a film or documentary. “The Offering” is a lighthearted little melody that reminds me a bit of Vangelis’ “Hymne.” I really like this one a lot! “When Lisa Smiles” is quite simply a love song. The dreamy introduction floats on air, bringing in the piano to play a solo version of the theme, and then adding more instruments as the piece develops. It’s a gentle, heartfelt piece. “Everyday Angels” is another favorite. Warm, bright, and passionate, it’s a thank you to those who quietly go about trying to make the world a better place. “Calvin’s Dance” is a jazzy confection inspired by the artist’s dog. Full of playful fun, this piece would brighten anyone’s day. The title track opens mysteriously and intensely. It refers to a quote about living life along the curve of a question mark, and the only way to know how the story unfolds is to move in one direction or another. This piece is a little darker than the others. Various themes depict the ups and downs of life, sometimes peaceful, sometimes harried - very intriguing! “A Bottle of Beer, A Picture of You” is a song that would adapt well to lyrics that are very funny, ending the CD with a wink and a smile.

Along the Curve provides a mixed bag of musical goodies that will give just about any listener something to savor and enjoy. Give it a try! It is available from davesterling.com, cdbaby.com, and amazon.com.
January 23, 2007