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Album Review: When All Is Quiet
Joe Bongiorno
Cover image of the album When All Is Quiet by Joe Bongiorno
When All Is Quiet
Joe Bongiorno
2020 / Piano Haven
45 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
When All Is Quiet is the much-anticipated eleventh album from pianist/composer Joe Bongiorno and his first full-length album in since Love’s Light (2016). Joe’s Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ has become one of the most popular places to record solo piano music, but as it has for many artists, the COVID pandemic opened up some much-needed creative time for Joe to focus on his own music. And what a warm, sweet and heartfelt album this is! Most of the ten original piano solos are reflective of the recent loss of Joe’s father and love flows from every note. Joe is a Shigeru Kawai Artist and this album was recorded on his amazing SK-7L grand piano, a very rare 7’7” handmade piano that is fully capable of expressing any kind of emotion and of telling any musical story a pianist wants to tell. I’ve loved Joe’s recordings since his 2000 debut, At Peace, but I think When All Is Quiet is his best and possibly most personal album yet.

The album begins with “I’ll See You Again,” a deeply poignant and loving goodbye to someone dear that offers hope and reassurance that they will be together again. I don’t think it’s possible to listen to this piece without shedding a tear. “Imagine This” seems to to be expressing comfort and optimism. A full range of emotions flow through this tender and very moving piece, from quiet (hope?) to more intense (love). As its title suggests, “Gentleness” is delicate and warm but is also deeply heartfelt. “Crossing Over” beautifully expresses the mix of emotions we all feel when someone we love “crosses over.” One of the darker and more intense pieces on the album, it conveys so much. “Taken” seems to be asking “why?” while trying to process the grief and loss that hurt so much. Slow, open and very honest, it’s a beautiful expression of a very difficult question that has no easy answers.

In the liner notes of the CD, Joe explains the title of the album: “Life can be crazy… often full of noise, clutter, chaos and distractions. But there comes a time at the end of each day When All Is Quiet. It’s these moments of peace and clarity that take me to my special place of creativity. I don’t know what I’d do without it!” The title track is a beautiful expression of inner peace when all feels right with the world. There is a lot of open space in the piece that is just as important to the music as the notes themselves. I think it’s one of Joe’s most beautiful pieces. “For the Joy of It” is much lighter and more carefree, expressing a gentle kind of love and happiness. “To Eternity” seems to bring a feeling of acceptance through the sadness along with a loving “so long for now.”

I really hope that creating When All Is Quiet brought Joe Bongiorno a healing peace and I’m sure that his music will bring a special peace to all who listen to it. The album is available from www.JoeBongiorno.com, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Very beautifully done!
December 8, 2020