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Album Review: When I Remember
Kevin Kern
Cover image of the album When I Remember by Kevin Kern
When I Remember
Kevin Kern
2016 / Kevin Kern Music
55 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
When I Remember is the lucky 13th album (lucky for us!) by pianist Kevin Kern (not counting any compilations) and is his first album of all-original piano solos on his new independent record label, Kevin Kern Music. This is a very special album in that Kern composed the twelve pieces based on some of the composers and musical styles that influenced his own development as an artist. Some of those influences are fairly easy to figure out, but not all of them, so this definitely is not a “Name That Tune” sort of tribute. This music is all Kern sharing a very personal part of his musical soul. Having seen Kern perform live a number of times, I have hoped for more solo piano recordings from him, and this one was well worth the wait! Gentle, soulful and emotionally rich, When I Remember is sure to be a Favorite for 2016! A companion songbook is being prepared and will be available soon.

The album begins with “We Should Waltz,” a slow, graceful, slightly melancholy waltz that will erase the stresses of your day very quickly. Dreamy! “Once Upon a Time” lightens the mood a bit with sweet reflection and happy memories. “Say You Love Me” overflows with understated passion. I detect traces of Chopin and maybe a little Liszt in “Chance Encounter,” one of my favorites. The title track is worth the price of the album by itself! With hints of Beethoven here and there, this is sure to become a Kern classic. Deeply emotional and incredibly beautiful, it’s one of my favorites of Kern’s many compositions. “Rise and Shine” is light and bubbly - a gentle wake-up with a smile! “By My Side” reminds me of some of the great ballads of Michel Legrand and some other favorite movie music. A haunting minor key waltz, this should also become a Kern classic! “Off To the Races” is a sunny, joyful piece that pays homage to some of the easier Mozart and Haydn piano pieces we learned as young students - charming! The title of “Chopin’s Touch” gives away the source of inspiration, but draws more from Chopin’s influence than any specific pieces. The elegant and lyrical melody is Kern’s, but is reminiscent of some of Chopin’s timeless nocturnes - I really like this one, too! “A Walk in the Sun,” a wistful, easy-going jazz waltz, reflects on the influence of the composers and music from the Great American Songbook as well as popular American standards. When I Remember comes to a close with my favorite piece on the album, “A Lonely Heart.” Poignant and achingly beautiful, I think this is one of Kern’s best pieces ever.

I have now melted into a very contented and relaxed puddle after listening to When I Remember from start to finish - and I like the feeling! The album is available from KevinKern.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. I give it my highest recommendation!
October 4, 2016
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