Whisperings of the Heart
2015 / John Paris
Review by Kathy Parsons
It’s very unusual when an artist releases two new albums back-to-back and that both are very different from each other AND both are exceptionally good. John Paris released Joy of Jazz and Whisperings of the Heart within two months of each other, and both are solo piano. Joy of Jazz is upbeat and effervescent while Whisperings is much quieter and more introspective. A lifelong professional musician, Paris has had a vast amount of experience in many musical genres both as a solo pianist and with bands and combos. While Paris’ goal is to uplift and bring joy with his music, quite a few of the pieces from Whisperings were created to help bring himself some peace and comfort during a difficult period in his life. Don’t get me wrong - this music is still very uplifting, but in a much more peaceful “new age” style rather than jazz. Mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven, the piano sound is rich and velvety.
Whisperings of the Heart begins with the title track, a very soft and gentle piece that sets the tone of the album. The beautiful melody seems to speak from deep within, expressing emotions conveyed much more clearly in music than words could ever do. I LOVE “Dawn,” a flowing yet very powerful piece that is probably the most dramatic piece on the album. With frequent crossovers into the deep bass of the piano, I love the way those dark accents come in unexpected places rather than right on the first or last beats of a measure. This is definitely one of my top favorite pieces from John Paris so far. Great stuff! We need sheet music for this one! Some of the chords and harmonies in “Lavender Lady” reveal Paris’ jazz roots, but in a very melodic, delicate way. This one also seems to sing without words - lovely! What would a new age album be without a melancholy piece about rain? “Rainy Morning” is a wistful, poignant beauty. “Breath of Life” is slow and very reflective, and feels like a spontaneous improvisation - another beauty! “Resolution” becomes darker and more intense - another favorite. Jazz chords add complexity to the harmonies and make the emotional content even richer. “Sweetness and Light” is subdued yet very free - warm and inviting. “Japanese Garden” paints a beautiful picture in soft tones and fluid lines - very peaceful and relaxing. “Timeless” brings this excellent album to a gentle and quiet close, leaving the listener refreshed and calmed.
If you are new to John Paris’ music, this is a beautiful place to start. A truly amazing pianist, Paris deserves to be much more widely-known than he currently is. Hopefully his two new releases will turn that around! Whisperings of the Heart is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
June 12, 2015