Embracing the Wind
2001 / Real Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Pianist Kevin Kern’s fifth album for Real Music is another sweet and soothing musical journey to the gentle side of life. Kern is a master of the simple melody with a heartfelt message, and this is the perfect music to comfort and uplift a tired mind and soul. Kern composes many of his pieces with the idea that they will be used as a backdrop for other activities and for relaxation, so there are no sharp edges or jarring chords. Kern’s music is as smooth as silk and as tranquil as a spring breeze.
Most of the pieces on Embracing the Wind are upbeat and sunny, but my favorite is “Childhood Remembered”, which is melancholy and nostalgic. Joining Kern on this track is Bay Area violinist Jeremy Cohen, whose heart-tugging solo clearly demonstrates why synth strings will never replace the beauty and poignance of the real thing. Guitarist Davis Ramey joins Kern on “Through Your Eyes” (another favorite!), “Bathed in Dawn’s Light”, and “A Secret Grove”. Johnny Marshall on Synclavier provides additional accompaniment to Kern’s piano.
Some of the other highlights include the opening track, “Blossom On the Wind” which, as the title implies, gently floats and glides. “Above the Clouds” is very spare, but gorgeous - it reminds me a bit of some of Yanni’s minimalist pieces with synth and piano. “Fantasia’s Lullaby” is also very lovely, filled with the warmth and joy of a new life. “A Gentle Whisper” is a peaceful closing to an album that could easily be compared to a watercolor painting - washes of many colors without hard edges or defining lines.
Kevin Kern’s many fans will probably be happy to know that there is nothing startlingly different about his newest release. It is a continuation rather than an evolution, and there are no real surprises. When you have a winning combination, change is not needed. This is a very beautiful and calming collection of new pieces, and I highly recommend it for a soothing musical experience. Kern is definitely one of the best in this style of music!
February 2, 2001