2022 / Piano Haven
Review by Kathy Parsons
Darkness Fades is the fourteenth album from pianist/composer Joe Bongiorno, and what a beauty it is! The eleven original tracks include two versions of the title tune - one solo piano and one that features guitarist Eric Tingstad and some light synth orchestration, subtitled "The 'Illuminate' Version." Known for his heartfelt melodies and soothing piano touch, Joe and his hand-built Shigeru Kawai SK7L concert grand piano are a match made in heaven. Or maybe that should be Haven - Piano Haven, Joe's extraordinary recording studio in Sedona, AZ! Fellow pianists will be happy to know that there is also sheet music available for all of the pieces from the album (except the arrangement with guitar) as single sheets or the full album in spiral-bound books and/or downloads. (I reviewed the songbook here on MainlyPiano.com, too.)
Darkness Fades begins with "My Beautiful (MiaBella's Song)," a sweet and tender love song for Joe's baby daughter, MiaBella, and a wonderful start to the album! "In This Moment" feels very much like an intimate and emotional conversation expressed with complete honesty and sincerity - a favorite. The solo piano version of "Darkness Fades" also feels like a deeply emotional exploration, perhaps in a more solitary setting - at the piano late at night, perhaps? It's also a favorite. "Fade To Light" is quite a bit different with a quickly-flowing left hand pattern that runs throughout most of the piece, propelling the right hand melody and giving it a sense of urgency. I also really like the way the right hand crosses over into the deep bass of the piano, grounding it somewhat. This one is really fun to play as well as to listen to! "Hills and Valleys" returns to a very relaxed and peaceful mood - kicking back and enjoying the view! "We Come Together" overflows with love and tenderness - slow, dreamy and very romantic! "Lost in the Light" has an ever-changing tempo and seems more than a little bit mysterious until the last few seconds - intriguing! "Softest Landing" floats on a dreamy cloud - gentle and very free. "Heal" expresses grace, hope and encouragement. "Precious Peace (Revisited)" is a new recording of a piece that appeared on Joe's 2000 album, At Peace - one of his most beautiful compositions recorded on his incredible piano - a lovely treat for the heart and soul as well as the ears! The second version of the title track is mostly a piano and guitar duet with Joe and Eric Tingstad with light, shimmering keyboard effects in the background - a great close to a great album!
Darkness Fades is available from Joe's website as a CD or a download. It is also available to stream or download from Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes, and is on many streaming sites including Spotify. Highly recommended!
August 1, 2022