The London Sessions: Reflections From Studio 2
2022 / New Thought Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
The London Sessions: Reflections From Studio 2 is the third album by pianist/composer Ed Bazel and follows his 2021 release, Homecoming. Recorded at London's Abbey Road Studio 2 where The Beatles and many other major artists have recorded their biggest hits, the album fulfilled a bucket-list item and a dream. I can only imagine what it would feel like to be in a place where so much incredible music has been recorded over the years. To honor the experience, Ed arranged two of The Beatles' most beloved songs ("In My Life" and "Yesterday") and included them on the album. Some of the twelve tracks are solo piano and some are piano with cello and violin.
The founder of The River of Calm online radio station, Ed Bazel's music is often referred to as "beautiful piano music with a soul-searching touch" - and with good reason! He is a life-long musician who has performed all over the world and has won a very impressive number of major awards. Some people assume that relaxing piano music will always make you want to go to sleep, but Ed puts so much heart into his composing and playing that it is anything but boring, expressing emotions we all feel with deep sincerity.
The London Sessions: Reflections From Studio 2 opens with "Morning Glory," a warm and optimistic piece that begins the day with a smile - a great start! "Mountain Serenity" features piano, violin and cello and expresses the peaceful feeling of sitting alone on a mountain, gazing over a beautiful valley. The cello makes the piece even more blissful. The Beatles' "In My Life" has always been one of my favorite songs and this piano with cello and violin version is one of my favorite arrangements. Warmly nostalgic and deeply heartfelt, Ed recorded this iconic song in the same studio The Beatles did! The solo piano "Old Friends" expresses the emotional connection of spending time with a longtime friend - something I treasure more and more as I get older, too. "Soaring" feels very much the way I imagine floating on a cloud would feel - calm, peaceful and dreamy. The bright and uplifting "Mountain Joy" expresses the happiness and wonder of experiencing the beauty of the mountains and breathing in the cool, refreshing air. "Daydream" expresses another kind of bliss - one that resides in our own heads if we allow ourselves the time to go there. "Evening Stroll" becomes very reflective and introspective - a gorgeous piano solo! "Passages" is a tearful "goodbye" to a life-long friend made even more poignant with violin and cello along with the piano. Ed's soulful arrangement of The Beatles' "Yesterday" also includes violin and cello. I hate to think of how many years it's been since I fell in love with this song, and I'm sure recording it in the same studio that The Beatles recorded it must have had a very strong emotional impact. All of that is captured in this lovely arrangement and brings this excellent album to a close. Where's the "repeat" button?
The London Sessions: Reflections From Studio 2 is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and many streaming sites including Spotify. Both thumbs up!
November 1, 2022