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Album Review: Rhythm 'n' Keys EP
Edmond Paul Nicodemi and Kerry Kennard
Cover image of the album Rhythm 'n' Keys EP by Edmond Paul Nicodemi and Kerry Kennard
Rhythm 'n' Keys EP
Edmond Paul Nicodemi and Kerry Kennard
2024 / Oakland Gardens, NY Usa
23 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Rhythm 'n' Keys is a six-track EP by Edmond Paul Nicodemi and Kerry Kennard. Three of the six pieces were released as singles ahead of the EP (and are also reviewed on MainlyPiano.com). Nicodemi is a very versatile composer and multi-instrumentalist whose music I have been reviewing since 2004, and Kennard is a versatile percussionist/composer; both are also music educators. Together, they create a unique sound that varies from track to track. The "Keys" in the album's title refers to Nicodemi's piano and keyboards, which add to the instrumentation with strings and other orchestral instruments. (Nicodemi is also a very accomplished guitarist, but I don't hear any guitar on this album.) The six tracks are quite different from each other, making the EP something of a musical adventure as well as an exploration of musical styles and emotional expression.

Rhythm 'n' Keys begins with "Night Jam," which was released as a single in November 2023. Propelled by Kennard's catchy Latin rhythms, Nicodemi's piano, keyboard and a variety of strings create a lively yet laid-back groove sure to get your toes tapping. "Sad Romance" goes in an entirely different direction, expressing heartbreak, loss and disappointment. Piano takes the lead on this one, accompanied by percussion, strings and voices. This beautiful piece appeared as a piano solo on Nicodemi's 2023 solo album, Portraits of Sadness. "Wild River" picks up the tempo and energy level with keyboards, piano, percussion and strings. A strong sense of urgency runs throughout the piece. "Shattered" was released as a single in September 2023 and reflects on heartbreak - no matter what the source. With Nicodemi on piano and keyboards and Kennard on drums and percussion, it becomes something of an instrumental rock ballad. Some of the passages express deep sadness while others are more vibrant and intense. "Strange City" was released in January 2024 and was inspired by the eerie emptiness of the city of Manhattan during the pandemic. With hardly anyone in sight, the city felt very strange. Nicodemi originally composed the piece as a piano solo, and then Kennard added percussion, voices, and vibes. "Innocent Cry" is more fully orchestrated with piano, strings, horns, percussion, vibes and choral voices. Powerful and deeply emotional, while expressing feelings of loss and tragedy, it would be very compelling in an intense movie soundtrack.

I really hope Rhythm 'n' Keys EP is just the first of many collaborative albums from Edmond Paul Nicodemi and Kerry Kennard! The album is available digitally from Ed and Carol Nicodemi's website, Amazon, Apple Music, Bandcamp and streaming platforms including Spotify.

June 12, 2024
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