Lore Constantine’s debut CD, Piano Impressions
, is a very eclectic mix of classic rock, jazz, and pop melodies, and a couple of original compositions. A pianist who has performed in venues from casinos and taverns to recital halls and restaurants, Constantine’s playing and arranging styles can be subtle at times and very big and boisterous at others, depending on the mood of the piece and the setting. Actually, I like her original pieces the best on this album, and perhaps she’ll treat us to a full album of her own compositions sometime in the future.
The opening piece is “Takes My Breath Away,” a lovely ballad originally performed by Tuck and Patti. Constantine’s arrangement for solo piano is soulful and expressive. “Willow Creek” is another beauty, this one composed by Marian McPartland. Slow and graceful but complex harmonically, this is one of my favorites. Constantine arranged and recorded two of The Grateful Dead’s songs, “Mountains of the Moon” and “Terrapin Station.” I have never been a fan of The Dead’s music, so these two don’t do much for me. “One Winter’s Night” was composed for string ensemble and solo, but works beautifully on piano. Its delicate and gentle melody has a peaceful flow and lots of expression. The Neville Brothers’ “Yellow Moon” is another rocker with lots of heavy bass on the piano. “Love Gets in the Way” has the easy sway of a slow dance and a tender, romantic melody. “Flute Blues (or If Only I Was a Harmonica Player)” is one of the two originals. I love piano blues, and Constantine does an admirable job of translating her duet for flute and guitar to piano solo. Slinky and fun! The second Constantine original, “A Morricone Moment,” was inspired by the music in Clint Eastwood’s westerns. Another beautiful ballad, it shows Constantine’s quiet and more classical side. Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” is another favorite. Melancholy and bittersweet, this one really comes from the heart. “Stairway to Heaven,” the Led Zeppelin’s rock classic, begins rather plaintively and builds to full-tilt bravado by the end. I’ll bet this one gets their attention in the casinos!
Lore Constantine’s debut is very promising. I’d love to hear more of her original work, but know that familiar music will bring her a bigger audience. Check it out at www.loreconstantine.com
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