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Album Review: Pure Piano Portraits
Jeff Bjorck
Cover image of the album Pure Piano Portraits by Jeff Bjorck
Pure Piano Portraits
Jeff Bjorck
1998 / Pure Piano
59 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
This debut solo piano album from Jeff Bjorck is a very pleasant surprise, and each of the twelve pieces is a soothing breath of fresh air. Dr. Bjorck is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and professor at Fuller Theological Seminary’s Graduate School of Psychology, and his music seems to be very reflective of an artist who knows himself well. A gentle serenity is present in each of the pieces, as is a sense of optimism and moving forward. “Be Thou My Vision” and “Jerusalem” are Jeff’s excellent arrangements of two of his favorite hymns; the other pieces are original, and were composed over the past twenty years. Simple, heartfelt melodies with a classical feel give the CD a very calm, pensive mood throughout. There are no pianistic pyrotechnics, but none were intended (or needed!). For reference only, I would say that fans of Wayne Gratz and Robin Spielberg will love the straightforward melodic lines, and the uncluttered performance style. Evocative song titles include “Butterfly Sunrise”, “Mountain Echoes”, and “River Sunset”, and each of these is a lovely musical portrait. “Twilight” is a spare, gentle mood piece. My favorite track is “Waiting for Farewell”, which Jeff composed during his father’s final stay in the hospital. Much sadder than the other pieces, its emotional content comes through with a special bittersweet poignancy. “Starlight Ragtime Waltz” is also a favorite, although I don’t hear any ragtime in there! “Jerusalem” is probably the most dynamic track, with its opening deep bass chords and simple melody; this evolves into an arpeggiated bass and the melody becomes an anthem; at the end, the deep bass returns as the melody trails off. This is a very fine piano album, and I strongly recommend it! It is currently available from Jeff Bjorck’s website at www.purepiano.com.
January 1, 1998
This review has been tagged as:
Debut Albums