Journey of Soul
2004 / Paris Original Music (Remastered in 2013)
Review by Kathy Parsons
Journey of Soul is the newly-remastered 2004 debut CD by pianist/composer John Paris. A lifelong musician who has performed professionally for more than forty years, Paris calls his style a fusion of new age and jazz that is intended to “uplift the listener to a place of spiritual contemplation, tranquility and beauty in the improvisation style of Liz Story and Keith Jarrett.” (Quoted from Paris’ website.) Normally, I would think a fusion of jazz and new age would be something strongly resembling smooth jazz, but Paris’ music goes deeper than that and is sometimes a bit edgier. The fourteen tracks on this album present a very pleasant assortment of pieces that range from quiet and dreamy to more upbeat and rhythmic. Classical and pop influences can also be heard, demonstrating Paris’ versatility as both a composer and a performer. I haven’t heard the first version of this album, but the piano sound here is warm and clear with just the right amount of brightness, and Paris plays with the easy grace of someone who is the most at home with a piano at the end of his fingers.
Journey of Soul begins with the title track, a gospel-tinged ballad with a melody strong enough to support lyrics. Warm and welcoming, it’s a lovely invitation to continue on the “journey.” “Soul Searchin’” has a rhythmic left hand in a repetitive pattern that propels the piece forward while the right hand is more thoughtful and unstructured - an impressive combination! “Love is All” is a beautiful song that is both tender and elegant, flowing from the heart. “Mist of Time” is playful and elusive, dancing freely all over the piano keyboard. As its title suggests, “Tranquility” is a peaceful breath of fresh air. “Simple Ways” is even more relaxed - a favorite. I love “Deep in My Heart,” a poignant and reflective bit of soul searching that comes from a place of sincerity and passion. “Star Voyage” exudes a sense of freedom and adventure. “Run To the Light” is light and joyful with a main theme that sounds like it is played with the right hand crossed over the left - a happy dance for the soul! “With a Heart of Hope” brings the album to a very gentle and reassuring close. Deep sigh....
If you missed Journey of Soul the first time around, this is a wonderful addition to your collection! It is available from CDBaby.com and iTunes. Recommended!!!
May 15, 2013