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Album Review: Liverpool
David Lanz and Gary Stroutsos
Cover image of the album Liverpool by David Lanz and Gary Stroutsos
David Lanz and Gary Stroutsos
2009 / Moon Boy Music
51 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Liverpool: Reimagining the Beatles is a collection of David Lanz’s arrangements of Lennon/McCartney songs plus one Lanz original, performed by Lanz on piano and keyboards, Gary Stroutsos on flute, Larry Knechtel on Hammond organ, and several other musicians on cello, upright bass, drums and percussion. Four of the tracks are medleys, giving you more tunes for your entertainment dollar! Lanz purposely stayed away from The Beatles’ biggest hits, but most of these songs are familiar - especially if you grew up in the 60’s. (Lanz jokes that if you remember that era, you weren’t really there!) I was a little surprised by the serious tone of most of the album, the use of sound effects on several tracks, and that only one track is solo piano, but none of these points are negatives - just surprises. Quite a bit of the music feels improvised, giving it a free, jazzy style rather than a rock flavor. None of it really rocks - nor was it supposed to - so fans of Lanz’s soothing, relaxing piano music won’t be disappointed with this release. Some of Lanz’s familiar touches are readily apparent although he gives the other musicians (especially frequent collaborator Gary Stroutsos) plenty of room to share the spotlight.

Liverpool opens with the title track, Lanz’s original composition. It begins with the sound of a ferry boat, and the music includes snippets of phrases from various Beatles songs as well as Lanz’s music. Mostly a duet for piano and cello with a little percussion and keyboard, it’s a beauty! “Things We Said Today” is a haunting ballad that Lanz gives an interesting rhythm and freely flowing tempo. The medley of “Rain” and “Eight Days a Week” is slow and somber yet very smooth and relaxing. It features Larry Knechtel on organ and Stroutsos on flute as well as Lanz on piano. The most upbeat song on the album is “Lovely Rita,” the only piano solo and one of my favorites. The medley of “Because” and “I’m Only Sleeping” is a 9 1/2 minute piece that seems to become more improvised as it develops - a fascinating collaboration that includes a variety of artists and instruments. “Norwegian Wood” is possibly the best-known piece on the album, but this arrangement is much more jazz-influenced than the original: smooth, mellow, and soulful! Stroutsos’ flute really soars on this one! The last track is “London Skies: A John Lennon Suite” that includes “Tomorrow Never Knows,” “Across the Universe,” and “Give Peace a Chance.” At just over eleven minutes, the piece has plenty of time to evolve organically and leisurely. Mostly a piano/cello/ and flute trio, Walter Gray’s cello is gorgeous and Stroutsos’ flute casts a spell. Lanz concludes the Suite with a very simple but haunting version of “Give Peace a Chance” on piano with atmospheric sounds, bells, and a slow fade-out.

Liverpool is a winner and should bring a new audience to David Lanz’s music. It is currently available from davidlanz.com, Amazon, and iTunes. Check it out!
January 18, 2010
This review has been tagged as:
Kathy's Favorites: 2010
More reviews of David Lanz albums
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Cover image of the album Living Temples by David Lanz
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Review by Michael Debbage
Michael's Favorites: 2008