Moonlight in Madrid
2019 / Unspeakable Freedom Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Moonlight in Madrid is Jim Chappell’s first album of all new original piano solos in quite a few years and it was well worth the wait! With more than twenty albums to his credit, released over a period of thirty-four years (his debut, Tender Ritual, was released in 1985), Chappell helped to define the new age piano and smooth jazz genres while developing his own distinctive style. The seventeen tracks on Moonlight in Madrid are a wonderful combination of soulful, introspective works and lighthearted, mood-elevating music. It’s an excellent follow-up to last year’s Best Of Jim Chappell solo piano album, presenting fans, old and new, with a collection of fresh new music.
Moonlight in Madrid opens with the title track, a graceful, dreamy piece tinged with melancholy. “Night in Granada” feels like a sweetly romantic waltz under the stars - a favorite. “Shining Through” takes on a more anthemic, celebratory feeling and is also a favorite. “The You We Knew” is delicate and heartfelt - sad, but not mournful. In many ways, “Weak For You” is classic Chappell with some of the chords he uses as well as the poignant emotions expressed. “Setting of the Sails” beautifully captures the feeling of gliding on the water and the sense of freedom that comes with it. The gospel-tinged “Joy Hymn” is quite different from the rest of the album, but fits in perfectly. “Shoreline Dreamer” is also different in that it is much more abstract and impressionistic, unfolding slowly with a dreamy feeling. “If I Miss You” returns to expressions of romance and love with a graceful melody and deep emotion. The nostalgic and reflective “Once Upon Our Lives” suggests old friends or close family members sharing memories of times long gone and what has transpired since then. Overflowing with empathy, “The Hurt In Her Heart” seeming to want to share the burden of hurt - very expressive and touching. As someone who loves to walk in the rain (and has MANY opportunities to do so on the Oregon Coast!), I love the carefree, lighthearted mood of “Laughing in the Rain”! “The Long Walk Home” returns to a more pensive, introspective sound, possibly expressing the various thoughts and emotions that flow freely while walking a distance. It’s a fitting close to an exceptional album!
It’s so good to have Jim Chappell back and at the top of his game! Moonlight in Madrid is available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby as well as many streaming sites. Fellow pianists will be happy to know that there is a companion sheet music book available with all of the music from the album included.
July 4, 2019