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Album Review: Summer
Greg Maroney
Cover image of the album Summer by Greg Maroney
Greg Maroney
2018 / Hen House Records
55 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Greg Maroney’s Summer is the third installment in a four-part series of solo piano improvisations based on the four seasons of the year. Still on a very prolific creative streak that began when he retired a few years ago, Maroney is showing no signs of slowing down - not even a little bit. As much as I have always loved his composed music, Maroney’s improvisations have a freshness and spontaneity that is proving to be very popular. I have reviewed all of Maroney’s recordings over the years and also proof and edit his sheet music, so I am very familiar with his musical output, and his improvisations have become some of my top favorites. The emotional energy is so tangible, flowing freely from the heart to the fingers and expressing a wide range of thoughts and feelings. I’m sure that Greg’s finding his dream piano (a Steinway D concert grand) is partly responsible for this amazing outpouring of creativity, so that and retirement are a perfect combination! Lucky us!!!

Summer begins with “Summer Breeze,” a beautifully-flowing piece that is lighter than air with gently rippling chords that suggest the feeling of a warm breeze in your hair or the light wind that gracefully bends tall grasses and wild flowers without harming them. “Lost Love” expresses the passions of a summer affair that must end with the change of seasons and two people that must go their separate ways. From subdued to turbulent and very dramatic, this piece is something of an emotional roller coaster - love it! “Nightingale” is a night bird’s song to its true love. Both passionate and very tender, this is one gorgeous love song! “Lovers Waltz” paints a sweet picture of an older couple dancing while gazing into each other’s eyes. The beautifully poignant “Midnight Mist” could be about a misty fog rolling in or a lonely soul shedding quiet tears in the darkness - a favorite! “One Fine Day” describes the warm satisfaction of a really good day - perhaps kayaking on a lake or walking through a field of flowers where everything just feels right with the world. I think that for many of us, the image of a porch swing evokes thoughts of being able to really relax without feeling guilty as well as thoughts of what life was like in a much simpler time. “The Porch Swing” expresses those things and more with its easy rhythm and simple melody - also a favorite. “Sunflower” is the beautiful cover photo for this album set to music. If you’ve ever had these tall plants in your garden, this piece will remind you of the heavy flower heads bobbing slowly in the breeze - stately but very friendly and accessible. Where Maroney’s earlier “Nature’s Fury” describes a torrential storm that would likely cause property damage, “August Rain” conveys the refreshing feeling of a summer downpour that brings moisture and renewal to a dry land. Getting caught in one of those storms can cause giddy dancing while getting soaked - and loving every second of it. This piece doesn’t get giddy, but there is contentment and even gratitude expressed as this wonderful album draws to a close.

Each new album from Greg Maroney is a reminder of why he is one of my very favorite pianist/composers, and Summer is no exception. It is available to stream and/or download from gregmaroney.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby, to name a few. Very highly recommended!
July 23, 2018
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