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Album Review: Red
Cover image of the album Red by Isadar
2013 / Mainya Music
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Red is pianist/composer Isadar’s genre-defying tenth solo piano album and seventeenth independent release from the past twenty years. It is also the third installment in a trilogy of solo piano albums released in the past year - Reconstructed, a Will Ackerman-produced anthology of some of Isadar’s best piano pieces; O Christmas, Isadar’s second piano Christmas album; and now Red, a bittersweet love-themed album that took seven years to produce and that consists of the first new original solo piano material Isadar has released in more than ten years. I have been reviewing and thoroughly enjoying Isadar’s releases since his second piano album, 1999’s Active Imagination, which still stands as one of my favorite recordings. Even though I have been a big fan for many years, I was still blown away by Isadar’s live performance in my house concert series in July 2010. The man has magic fingers and an extraordinary piano touch that are perfectly suited to express his imaginative, distinctive, and emotionally powerful music. Isadar is also a singer/songwriter and an electronic musician who creates the music videos for much of his music, dramatizing the stories that inspired the songs. I will always be partial to Isadar’s piano albums because his voice and vision are unique, incorporating jazz, new age, pop, and classical stylings into a musical language all his own.

Red opens with “Broken Valentine,” a free-flowing expression of heartbreak and the broad range of emotions that go with it, alternating between grief and confusion then shifting to perhaps anger and resignation - a great beginning. The title track conveys the freedom of an improvisation while weaving together a variety of upbeat themes. “The Man Who Broke My Heart” is energetic and in constant swirling motion - also very free and from deep within. “The Stairwell” is darker and much more mysterious, overflowing with Isadar’s intriguing accented rhythms and picturesque compositional style. My favorite track is the almost nine-minute “Letting Go,” a piece that intertwines a series of musical vignettes into a powerful, colorful musical collage. I love the way Isadar seamlessly goes from flowing and smooth to a bouncy jazz style to high drama without missing a beat. Great stuff! “En Face Du Miroir (Facing the Mirror)” is much lighter, with fingers dancing nimbly around the piano keyboard. The album closes with “Blood ... Thicker Than Water,” again a combination of changing themes that could well be a musical family portrait - different personalities working separately and as a unit, bound together by the unseen ties that keep families together through thick and thin.

Isadar has created another piano masterpiece that should be more widely heard than his previous releases due to the success of Reconstructed. I hope so, anyway! Red is available from isadar.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
February 4, 2013
More reviews of Isadar albums
Cover image of the album The Gathering II by Isadar
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