After capturing the hearts and ears of so many piano lovers (including mine!) with her first two albums of original music, Karen Marie Garrett went off the radar several years ago. We did an interview in 2007 and stayed in touch for awhile after that, so I knew she had left Washington State, but I didn’t know anything else until I had the wonderful surprise of receiving her new five-selection EP for review. The Allure of Sanctuary
(2005) and It’s About the Rose
(2007) are both still very compelling listening with the warmth and sincerity that comes only when an artist creates from the heart, and I’m happy to say that Karen hasn’t lost a note in her long absence. She expresses more in twenty minutes than most do in an hour or more - if ever. Karen is joined on three of the five tracks by cellist Emil Miland, one by oboist Nancy Rumbel, and one by vocalist Desiree Goyette; one of the five pieces is a piano solo. Lyrical, graceful, poignant, evocative, and passionate are words that come to mind while listening to this music, and the album as a whole feels very much like the return of a good friend who had to go away for awhile.
It’s About Love begins with “Abbie Marie,” a gorgeous duet for piano and cello (Emil Miland). Gently bittersweet, the graceful flow of this piece will set your mind to daydreaming about drifting clouds and warm breezes. The title track is also a duet for cello and piano - is there a more soulful duo than these two instruments? The sound of the cello is said to be the closest to the human voice, so it’s no wonder that, in the right hands, it goes straight to the heart. “Deschutes River Sunrise” brings in world-class oboist Nancy Rumbel (also from WA) for a piano/cello/oboe trio that soars with all the colors and beauty of an early morning by the water. The one piano solo, “Another Time,” goes to a darker place in a soliloquy of deep emotion and profound honesty. “Mother’s Prayer” begins as a piano solo, later adding the wordless vocals of Desiree Goyette, underscoring the depth and sincerity of a mother’s love.
As brief as this album is, there is no shortage of artistry, beauty, or emotion. Welcome back, Karen Marie Garrett! You were missed! It’s About Love is available from kgpiano.com
, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very enthusiastically recommended!