2014 / Louis Colaiannia
Review by Kathy Parsons
Louis Colaiannia has released an impressive body of work over the years, but Closer is his first album co-produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton and recorded at Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studio. This new album reveals much of Colaiannia’s softer musical side, looking deeper within and expressing a broad range of emotions. There are still very strong jazz influences in some of the music, but as titles such as “Breathing,” “Journey Inward,” “Tears,” and “Lullaby” suggest, this album is much more reflective and soothing than some of Colaiannia’s previous releases. Two of the tracks are solo piano, but the remaining eight feature Imaginary Road regulars such as Eugene Friesen, Jill Haley, Jeff Oster, Noah Wilding, Tony Levin, Jeff Haynes and Will Ackerman.
Closer begins with “Aurora,” a beautiful piece Colaiannia wrote during the hours and days following the tragic shooting at the Aurora, CO movie theater in 2012. Jeff Oster’s flugelhorn and Noah Wilding’s haunting vocals intertwine with Colaiannia’s piano to set a mood of solemn remembrance. All proceeds from this song will be donated to victims’ assistance funds. “The Way of the Rain” is a favorite and features Jill Haley and Tony Levin. Once again, the piano shows itself to be the perfect instrument to convey the feeling of rain, whether it is a gentle spring shower or a violent storm - in this case, it’s a refreshing outpouring from the heavens. Colaiannia has dedicated this piece to his first piano teacher, and I’m sure she is smiling! “Sailing” is tranquility and gentleness set to music. It starts out as a piano solo, becomes a piano and cello duet, and then a full ensemble piece - gorgeous! “Breathing” is the first of the two piano solos, and has the feeling of a free-flowing improvisation. Very spare and a bit on the dark side, it’s a good reminder to slow down breathe deeply. “Air” lightens the mood a bit, with Colaiannia’s fingers dancing on the piano keys and Eugene Friesen plucking the cello strings. About half-way in, Jill Haley enters with her soothing English horn. A soulful cello solo opens “Journey Inward,” a relaxing duet for piano and cello that later becomes a duet for piano and English horn. “Tears” is a passionate and often very powerful duet for cello and piano, expressing the depths of emotion. “Lullaby” is the second piano solo and closes the album on a very peaceful, loving note.
This is the fourth of Louis Colaiannia’s many albums that I’ve reviewed, and it’s by far my favorite so far. Closer is available from Amazon and iTunes. Check it out!
August 10, 2014