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Album Review: Feast of Joy & Love
Laura Sullivan
Cover image of the album Feast of Joy & Love by Laura Sullivan
Feast of Joy & Love
Laura Sullivan
2007 / Sentient Spirit Records
49 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Feast of Joy & Love is pianist/composer Laura Sullivan’s fourth release to date, and I think it’s her best so far. Consisting of seven original compositions and five arrangements of classical melodies, this CD exudes warmth and feelings of contentment and joy. Along with Sullivan’s piano, “Feast” features the debut of her ethereal vocals along with quiet orchestrations, samples and effects, and percussion; Eric Sullivan provides back-up vocals, Anthony Blea appears on violin and Noel Jewkes on saxophone.

Feast of Joy & Love is presented as a four-course “meal” that begins with “Bouquet of Bach,” a medley of that composer’s “Minuet in G” and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Beholding.” Piano, strings, keyboard, and Laura’s beautiful vocals bring these well-worn classical gems right up-to-date and give them a carefree spirit. “Cafe des Artistes” is a tender duet for piano and violin that celebrates the special place in Mexico where Laura and her husband became engaged. With the rhythm of a graceful waltz, the two instruments create a sweet, heartfelt dialog. The melody for “Waltzing With Beethoven” is based on the slow movement of “Sonata Pathetique,” and piano with gentle keyboard accompaniment is all this piece needs to soar. The “First Course” section of the CD begins with an enchanting layered vocal arrangement of “Greensleeves.” The instrumentation on this is very spare, allowing the angelic voices to take wing. “Pinot Noir” is an elegant yet sultry duet for piano and sax - a perfect slow-dance with that special someone! “Morning in the Meadow” begins with the sound of birds chirping and becomes a piano solo with subtle keyboard washes - music doesn’t get much more peaceful or serene than this - sigh! The “Second Course” opens with “Albinoni’s Secret Smile,” based on “Adagio” by Giazotto and Albinoni. Layers of heavenly voices with light instrumentation make this one of the stellar highlights of this album - wow! “Porch Swing Night Romance” celebrates the simple pleasure of sharing a porch swing with someone you love - pure contentment. “Dessert” includes “A’la M’Ode to Joy,” a delicate but exuberant arrangement of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” “Last Kiss” ends the “meal” with a bittersweet piano solo that is reflective and somewhat more ambient than the other pieces - another beauty!

Laura Sullivan has outdone herself with Feast of Joy & Love! Visit laura-sullivan.com for more info about this CD. It is available for purchase from cdbaby.com, iTunes, and amazon.com. Highly recommended!
April 16, 2007
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Kathy's Favorites: 2007
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