is the fifth album from pianist/composer Kelly Andrew, but I have to admit that it’s the first of his albums that I’ve heard - and what a treat that has been! Produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton at Imaginary Road Studios, Kelly Andrew and Ackerman’s crew have taken a tasty mix of genre-bending musical stylings and created a sumptuous and very satisfying feast for the senses. Guest artists include Duke Levine and Randy Chavez (guitar), Tony Levin and Bijoux Barbosa (bass), Charlie Bisharat (violin), Eugene Friesen (cello), Premik Russell Tubbs (sax and woodwinds), and Jill Haley (English horn and oboe). All ten tracks are ensemble pieces with piano/keyboard and a combination of other instruments, further enhancing the diversity of the compositions. Most of the pieces are on the quieter side - very melodic and soothing - but there are a few that will get your toes tapping. Warm and inviting, Rendezvous
is an album that has plenty of substance to savor while focused on the music, but it also easily slips into the background to become a beautiful accompaniment for a romantic dinner, driving, or just chillin’.
begins with a surprising electric guitar lick on the smooth jazz “Chasing Twilight.” Duke Levine, Tony Levin and Steve Holley (drums) combine with Andrew to create a smokin’ hot bit of musical coolness - I really like this one! The romantic and lyrical “Hand In Hand” features Bisharat on violin (always a wonderful plus!) in addition to full instrumentation from many of the other ensemble players. “Painted Butterfly” is another favorite. It begins with a gentle acoustic passage that intertwines with the piano. As other instruments enter, the music gracefully opens to become a magical ensemble of piano, guitar, strings, and light percussion. “Awake in a Dream” is silky smooth and ethereal with no hard edges anywhere. The title track is one of the livelier pieces with Tubbs’ soaring sax lifting it skyward as Andrew’s fingers dance around the piano keyboard. Technically, “Serenade of the Night Sky” is a solo piece because it’s just Kelly Andrew, but by using piano, keyboard, and synths, he has a full string section, voices and percussion behind the delicate piano lead. “Lonely Road” returns to a more smooth jazz vibe with sax, cello, oboe and percussion swirling around the piano. Rendezvous
closes with the beautiful ballad, “Hope,” a gently uplifting piece for piano, French horn (Gus Sebring), cello, English horn, bass (Levin) and vocals (Noah Wilding).
If you are new to the music of Kelly Andrew, as I was, this is a wonderful place to start! I can’t imagine that his fans could be anything but thrilled with the grace and generous spirit of Rendezvous
. It is available from www.Kelly-Andrew.com
, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!