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Album Review: Zuzu's Petals
John Albert Thomas
Cover image of the album Zuzu's Petals by John Albert Thomas
Zuzu's Petals
John Albert Thomas
2009 / Simple Truth Music
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Zuzu's Petals is the third release from pianist/composer John Albert Thomas, but it is a first for me. And what a charming album it is! The title comes from a scene in the film It’s A Wonderful Life when Jimmy Stewart’s character finds the flower petals his daughter, Zuzu, left in his coat pocket, reminding him of the truly important things in life. The father of three young daughters and a son, Thomas says of this music: “This album is about innocence and purity. It is about flowers, dancing, fairy tales, and just about everything else little girls dream about.” Three of the pieces are “piano portraits” Thomas composed for people - an interesting sideline he has created with his music. All eleven tracks are solo piano, and all are sweet, uncluttered, and heartfelt - a delight to listen to!

The title track begins the album with a lighthearted mood and a touch of poignance - a warm and inviting welcome. “Be Still and Know” is a bit more subdued, but is touching in its quiet simplicity. “In The Shadow of Your Wing” is one of my favorites - delicate and playful with an interesting rhythmic pattern. I keep coming back to this one! “Lullaby For Hope” is another favorite. Very gentle and tender with an Asian influence, it is incredibly soothing and calming. “Blessed” is also very tranquil, referring to Psalm 32 in The Bible, a psalm about the peace of forgiveness. “Waltz of the Wildflowers” picks up the tempo a bit with a graceful and elegant dance - beautiful! “Glass Slipper” is as sweet and wistful as a little girl’s daydream about a fairy tale world. “The King’s Daughter” is a fairy tale itself. It begins very slowly and simply, hinting at another time long in the past. The second theme is more energetic and suggests some kind of action - perhaps two handsome princes vying for the princess’ hand. The third movement returns to the gentle sweetness of the first and then reprises the second, ending with a whisper. Quite a story and my favorite piece on this album! The closing piece is a third part to the fairy tale trilogy, “The Prince On the White Horse.” An uncomplicated love song that tells of innocence and joy, it’s a happy ending to a wonderful musical storybook.

Zuzu's Petals is a beautiful album for quiet times or to calm and soothe after a busy day. Sure to bring a smile to the young and young at heart, it is available from johnalbertthomas.com, CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes. Recommended!
January 12, 2010
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