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Album Review: Pieces of Piano
David Alstead
Cover image of the album Pieces of Piano by David Alstead
Pieces of Piano
David Alstead
2005 / Narrow People Music
45 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Pieces of Piano is David Alstead’s follow-up to last year’s “Piano For Both Ears.” Alstead once again brings a variety of playing and composing styles, effectively mixing his classical training with jazz and pop idioms. Pieces range from gentle and soothing to very big and discordant, once again showcasing the artist’s wide-ranging musical sensibilities. This is a CD to sink your teeth into and to grow with each time you listen to it. Ear candy it isn’t, nor was it intended to be. Citing Alstead’s classical training, this is more like free-form 20th century classical music than Bach or Beethoven, and there are many exciting moments as he effectively juxtaposes styles, creating a strong and distinctive musical voice.

The CD opens with “Nymph,” the breeziest piece on the album. With fingers lightly dancing on the keyboard, there is a mischievous feeling, but also one of grace - a promising beginning! “Sometimes I Feel” is much darker and more reflective, and has some fascinating chord changes. “Downtown” is one of my favorites. There are feelings of rushing, nonstop activity, and agitation. This piece really moves! “Flip Side” is also lively and exciting, but much more playful - fun! “Through the Falls” effectively conveys the power and grace of a waterfall - constantly moving and sparkling as the water pours down. “Jazz In a Box” is full of fun - I really like this one, too! “Not Even 5 Yet” has a nostalgic, old-fashioned feel to it and is much more classically structured than some of the other pieces. The title track almost feels like a love song, and it probably is! Elegant and graceful with a beautiful, flowing quality, this is also a standout. “Tin Man” is wild and one of the more abstract pieces. Totally free of musical restrictions, this one won’t put anybody to sleep! It has flowing moments and then runs all over the piano, with an agitated rhythm and jazz chords that carry some bite. The closing track, “You Can Go Home Again,” returns to a lovely, bittersweet melody and a feeling of longing.

As you can see, this was an adventurous project that covers a lot of musical territory. David Alstead is an incredible pianist and isn’t afraid to show it. I really enjoy this album! A lot of the music is on the experimental side, so expect to have to listen to it a few times to “get it,” but I think you’ll find it’s well-worth the effort! Pieces of Piano is available from www.davidalstead.com and cdbaby.com.
December 1, 2005
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