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Album Review: The Next Stage
Louis Colaiannia
Cover image of the album The Next Stage by Louis Colaiannia
The Next Stage
Louis Colaiannia
2013 / Louis Colaiannia
36 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
I think The Next Stage is pianist/composer Louis Colaiannia’s most exciting and vibrant release to date. Mixing jazz, pop, new age, rock, and classical elements into a unique and tasty musical stew, Colaiannia has created a collection of nine diverse pieces that range from light and soothing to big and bold. Five of the nine tracks have appeared on previous releases dating back as far as 1996. One track is solo piano, but the others are ensemble works that include drums, bass, guitar, sax, vibes, and/or flute. Overall, if I had to categorize the album as a whole, I’d call it smooth jazz since there are intricate rhythms and elements of improvisation but no rough edges or jarring discordances.

The Next Stage opens with “City’Scapes,” a piece that first appeared as a single release in 2010. The full jazz combo with piano, guitars, bass, vibes, sax, flute, and percussion set a groove that is cool and breezy yet intense - a very nice start! “Obsession” is slinky and sultry with a smoky sax and sparkling piano backed by a leisurely beat that can mesmerize. “Ramp It Up” kicks up the energy level and runs with it in a mood of light-hearted fun. “Ancient Voices” dates back to 1997 and really showcases Colaiannia’s lightning-fast piano technique as well as his classically-trained chops. “Midnight” returns to smooth jazz silkiness at an easy-going pace with a sexy attitude. “Where Angels Dance” is in more of a pop style and has a melody strong enough to carry lyrics - it would make a nice slow dance! “Stephanie’s Eyes” is a Colaiannia classic, dating back to ’96. A warm and loving piece with a strong beat, I can see why this one has remained a favorite over the years. “Adam’s Light” also goes back to ’96 and is a playful, high energy piece that makes me think of a very young boy who is into everything and always on the run. “Dancing Snowflakes” is another classic that goes back to the mid-90’s. This version is solo piano and was recorded live. Colaiannia’s flying fingers were obviously a real crowd pleaser at the performance! It also appeared on Colaiannia’s 2011 Keys Of Christmas, but not as a piano solo.

If you are looking for some smooth piano and ensemble jazz, check out The Next Stage at www.louismusic.com, Amazon, iTunes, or CD Baby.
August 31, 2013
More reviews of Louis Colaiannia albums
Cover image of the album Closer by Louis Colaiannia
Cover image of the album Echoes of Christmas by Louis Colaiannia
(contributing artist)