2019 / Gina Lenee
Review by Kathy Parsons
Revealed is the eighth album from pianist/composer Gina Lenee’ and her second album produced by Will Ackerman and co-produced, engineered and mastered by Tom Eaton. The album features three original piano solos and eight ensemble works with some of the amazing artists who often appear on recordings from Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio. Those include Ackerman (acoustic guitar), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eaton (electric bass), Eugene Friesen (cello), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn) and Premik Russell Tubbs (electric wind synth and soprano sax). All but one of the pieces on the album are original compositions, and the one cover is a gorgeous and heartfelt arrangement of “On the Wings of Love” performed as a piano and sax duet with Tubbs. The whole album is very smooth yet deeply emotional and expressive, and I’ll be surprised if Revealed isn’t nominated for a whole slew of awards!
It is interesting and inspiring to note that Gina’s primarily motivation for her music is to make the world a better place. The liner notes include a panel devoted to words of encouragement for listeners to believe in themselves, to take charge of their lives and to love and be compassionate with themselves. Quoting Gina: “…I love when I can combine my music along with raising awareness and funds for organizations that deserve a voice. It's important for my music to extend beyond entertainment. I appreciate opportunities to work with other musicians who also want to make an impact, from inspiring young people to pursue their musical dreams, to spreading a message of unity through the international language of music.”
Revealed begins with “Undeniable,” a haunting and graceful duet with Jeff Oster. Strings are added in the second half of the piece, enriching the sound even more. “Finding Me Again” is the first of the two piano solos and seems to flow straight from the heart with hope and optimism - a favorite! The hypnotic “I Want To Get Closer” is primarily a piano piece with guitar, sax and percussion adding texture and tonal colors. The soft and dreamy “Run Away With Me” includes Oster and Ackerman who provide a beautiful counterpoint to the expressive, flowing piano - another favorite. I’ve always really liked Jeffrey Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love” (1982), but Gina and Premik take it soaring to new heights with their piano and sax duet. The title track is my favorite piece on the album. Darker and more intense than some of the other tracks, there is an air of mystery as well as the expression of very deep emotion. Cello and piano together always tug at the heartstrings, and this piece is no exception. “Even If I Have To Stand Alone” is the second piano solo and seems to be something of an instrumental soliloquy with the artist speaking her truth. “Are You Still Dancing With Shadows” is an exquisite piano and violin duet with Charlie Bisharat, always one of my favorites! The third piano solo is “Between What’s Lost and Found,” which seems to express reflection and soul-searching at the piano. I’m intrigued by the title for “To My Younger Self.” What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time? The piano and cello seem to offer encouragement, compassion and clear-eyed wisdom - a heartfelt closing to a beautiful album!
Revealed is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby as well as many online sites.
December 6, 2019