2007 / Mellow Sounds Recordings
Review by Kathy Parsons
Somewhere Within is Joe Bongiorno’s third solo piano album to date, and I think it’s by far his best work. All eleven tracks are excellent, drawing from an emotional core, and telling of major life changes, loved ones, and deeply personal reflections. I’ve enjoyed Bongiorno’s previous albums, “Destined” (2004) and “At Peace” (2001), but this is one of my favorite recordings of the year in a year that has produced some really great solo piano CDs. The music on “Somewhere Within” seems to flow from a very natural, honest, and sincere place, making it all the more poignant. All tracks were composed, performed, engineered, and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at his Piano Haven Studio near Seattle, but “Somewhere Within” sounds anything but “homemade” with Bongiorno’s impeccable recording skills and the gorgeous, dynamic sound of his Kawai concert grand piano.
Somewhere Within begins with “Walk With Me,” a piece overflowing with a father’s love for his teenage daughter as they take an evening walk. “Ascent” tells of coming out of a dark period of life and seeing the lessons and purpose of that time. Not exactly a happy piece, but there is a strong sense of optimism and of moving forward. “Melancholy Morning” is one of my favorites. Composed on a quiet, rainy morning, there seems to be some deep soul searching going on, getting lost in the music and allowing it to bring solace and healing. This is definitely one of Bongiorno’s best and most affecting pieces yet - the emotional honesty is amazing. “Tears of Joy” goes to the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, lightening the mood considerably. “Once A Child” is a poignant love song for an almost-grown daughter. Very reflective and tender, it’s another exceptional piece. The title track is also a favorite. It begins with a burst of energy, and then calms to a more introspective tempo that flows easily and fluidly. Finding answers to life’s questions within brings a certain inner peace and strength that this piece describes so well. I also really like “Dark Night,” with its quiet energy, depicting the flickering candlelight on the piano keys late at night - a tribute to solitude. “Beyond Forever” is different, with a rolling left hand and tremolo on the right - an interesting counterpoint that tells of cherished memories and always having something to look forward to - moving ahead without losing sight of the past.
Joe Bongiorno has really outdone himself with Somewhere Within, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it won’t be three years until his next release. It is available at www.mellowsounds.com, cdbaby.com, and iTunes. Very highly recommended!
September 17, 2007