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Album Review: Swim To America, Vol. 3 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano)
Doug Hammer
Cover image of the album Swim To America, Vol. 3 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano) by Doug Hammer
Swim To America, Vol. 3 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano)
Doug Hammer
2024 / Dreamworld Productions
47 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Swim To America, Vol. 3 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano) is the third in a series of three albums that feature pianist/composer Doug Hammer's solo piano arrangements of Doug's favorite songs by Swiss rocker and pop chanteur, Stephan Eicher. Originally planned to be a one-album and then a two-album collection, each of the three digital albums contains thirteen of Eicher's songs, lovingly re-imagined as piano solos by Doug. (A two-CD set of the complete three-volume project is now available from Doug's website as well.) Like the two previous albums, the thirteen tracks that make up Vol. 3 vary from light-hearted and playful to quietly reflective to big, bold and passionate. Even with most of the titles in French or German it is easy to understand what the songs are about as Doug does a wonderful job of expressing the meaning of Eicher's music wordlessly with his heartfelt piano playing.

A major star in Europe, Stephan Eicher started releasing albums in the early 1980s and Doug became a huge fan of his music in the 1990s - and has been ever since. The artists have met and played together several times in Europe and Doug played the piano on one of Eicher's recent recorded tracks.

Doug Hammer released his first album in 2007 and I have been a huge fan of his music ever since! A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Doug started playing the piano at the age of six and is well-versed in contemporary, jazz and classical styles of music. He has released a jaw-dropping variety of both singles and albums as well as playing on and/or producing music for many other artists. Stephan Eicher is also an exceptionally versatile artist - just one of the many reasons that this project works so well. Here is a very impressive quote that Eicher posted (in three languages!) on Facebook about Swim To America, Vol. 3:

"And again I am surprised, touched and full of admiration for those interpretations of the American pianist Doug Hammer, who found the DNA of all these melodies.... Thanks [to] the sensitivity of Doug's interpretations, I still have a great appetite to write other musical pebbles, polished by the tides, warmed by the sun... Thanks to Doug and your light-filled fingers!"

Music very truly is a universal language and I can give a very enthusiastic recommendation for Swim To America, Vol. 3 (une rétrospective Stephan Eicher au piano)! It is available digitally and to stream and/or download on Doug's website, Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes as well on streaming platforms including Spotify. Fellow pianists will be delighted to know that sheet music is in the works for all three albums. I'll review the songbooks as they are released.
April 12, 2024
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