Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: New Beginnings
Keith Fiala
Cover image of the album New Beginnings by Keith Fiala
New Beginnings
Keith Fiala
2024 / Che Cosa Guardare
41 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
New Beginnings is the first album of all-original compositions by trumpeter-extraordinaire Keith Fiala. I reviewed the first single from the album, "She's So Sweet," a month or so ago and was very impressed, so I was really looking forward to hearing the full album. I can say with all sincerity that the album is even more impressive as it demonstrates Fiala's ease with a variety of jazz styles as well as wide range of musical expression. An artist who has performed, taught and written books about music, Fiala has been ten-time Grammy winner Arturo Sandoval's personal assistant since 2017, performing with him as well as assisting him with all aspects of his career as his road manager, audio engineer and video producer. Before that, Fiala toured the world performing with his mentor, trumpeter and bandleader Maynard Ferguson as well as many other jazz greats. From smooth, easy grooves to carefree up-tempo jazz, it's about time Keith Fiala stood in the spotlight and New Beginnings should go a long way to putting him there!

New Beginnings opens with "Let Go," a bright, upbeat piece for horns (Fiala), drums (Johnny Friday), bass (Tyler Honsel), guitar (Marc Lionetti) and keyboard (Dr. Benjamin Irom). Much of the piece has the horns front and center, but Lionetti's electric guitar takes the lead for an extended solo that sends the piece soaring. The aforementioned "She's So Sweet" features Fiala on vocals and all programming as well as horns, but what really sets this lively and joyful piece apart is a sitar solo by Ken Berry - a truly unique toe-tapper! "Cityscape" is all Fiala on trumpets and programming - a little bit funky with an emphasis on fun! "Flow" has a Brazilian Bossa feel with a slow, easy groove and is also all-Fiala on horns and programming - a very short but refreshing tropical vacation for the soul. "Hollywood & Vine" picks up the tempo and adds a slightly mysterious and intriguing feel - great music for driving! "Lorena" was inspired by a reunion with someone who made a lasting impression much earlier in Fiala's life, and features Ken Berry on guitar along with Fiala on flugelhorn and programming. The gentle Latin rhythms and heartfelt guitar and horn combine to create a romantic slow dance. "MB's Groove" is an ensemble piece that features flugelhorn (Fiala), drums (Friday), bass, (Lannie Hilboldt), keyboard (Jamie Hilboldt) and a Moog solo by Arturo Sandoval himself! Relaxed, easy and soulful, this is definitely feel-good music! The closing track, "Wits End," includes a guitar solo by Ken Berry as well as Fiala's horns and programming. Quoting Fiala: It’s not hard to see that our current state of being is not without difficulty for nearly everyone. This tune is a representation of the frustration and sense of feeling at a loss… almost feeling helpless and being at your 'Wits End!'" I also hear glimmers of hope as well as a spirit that refuses to give up.

I didn't name any specific favorites in this review because the entire album is so good! New Beginnings is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, and many streaming platforms including Spotify. Very highly recommended!
June 7, 2024
This review has been tagged as:
JazzLatest Reviews
More reviews of Keith Fiala albums