2002 / James Morello
Review by Kathy Parsons
Just James is James Morello’s first solo piano release. As the title implies, the music is unassuming and unaccompanied. There are no pianistic fireworks here, but the music is sincere and deeply felt. Morello is also a songwriter, and several of the pieces have a natural feel for lyrics. All of the songs are slow and reflective, so the CD has a consistent feeling all the way through, sustaining a mood of calm and peace. Some of tracks are exceptionally nice. “Vignette” is a lovely portrait of someone from the past - a little dark and somber, but very evocative and heartfelt. “Whispered Away” has a beautiful flow and feels very free and content. “Put It Back” could be a pop tune without words - very conversational and melodic. “Song For Ben” is a tribute to a beloved dog who died the morning this song was written. Pets certainly bring us to the core of our being, don’t they? Unlike Jim Chappell’s “Gone,” this piece doesn’t rip your heart out, but tells the story of the bond and affection between human and a furry companion - very touching. “Calm Within The Storm” is my favorite track. Much darker and more dramatic, this is a very effective piece. It is stormy at the beginning, but then becomes much calmer. There is a lot of deep bass in this piece that provides an interesting rhythm.
Just James is a promising debut.
September 22, 2004