New Mexico Piano
2023 / Landon Creative, Inc.
Review by Kathy Parsons
New Mexico Piano is the 35th album by Louis Landon that I've reviewed for MainlyPiano.com since his 2005 release, unwind! Louis was a regular performer from the beginning of my house concert series in 2008 here on the Oregon Coast and he quickly became one of my favorite performers. Improvisation at the piano comes as naturally to Louis as breathing, so his music, whether composed or improvised (or a combination of the two!), is always fresh and from the heart. It is significant to mention that this is the first album that Louis recorded in his newest home studio, Castillo de la Paz Studio, in New Mexico after about ten years in Sedona, AZ. A Steinway Artist, Louis produced, arranged, composed and performed the twenty tracks on New Mexico Piano, and all tracks but one are solo piano.
The album begins with "El Faro," which translates as "The Lighthouse." Somewhat dark and mysterious, the music seems to express strength and isolation while the repeated rhythmic patterns could be reflective of the way a lighthouse's beams of light keep doing their job no matter what else is going on. "Green Chiles" picks up the tempo significantly, almost dancing for joy right out of the music player - definitely a favorite! As its title suggests, "Dream" is relaxed, free and very much "in the moment," as dreams often are. "Migration" is another favorite. The left hand keeps a steady, energetic rhythmic pattern that drives the piece while the right hand feels freely improvised. "Your Tears" is an expression of empathy and tenderness that flow from one heart to another, touching deeply and sincerely - I really like this one, too! Played mostly in the upper half of the piano keyboard, "Reflecting" is gently bittersweet and, well, reflective! I love the bluesy energy of "Sidesteppin'" and the way the melody gracefully smooths out near the end before fading out. Slow, lyrical and heartfelt, "Quietude" is a lovely duet for piano and guitar with some keyboard additions here and there. "White Sands" would fit well into the soundtrack for a "western-style" movie with its feelings of wide open spaces and constant movement. "Castillo de la Paz" translates as "Castle of Peace" and is also the name of Louis' home recording studio. Warm, serene and very relaxed, it sounds like a very creative and fulfilling place! The melody for "Passion" is strong enough to support lyrics, although they certainly aren't needed to express the deep emotion that flows through this beautifully evocative piece. "Pueblo" is much livelier with a catchy rhythm and a style that feels very much like the Southwestern US to me - open, free and colorful. Nostalgic and bittersweet, "The Gilded Age" harkens back to a time when life wasn't so complicated or fast-paced, imagining what that would feel like. The album closes with "Keep On Shining," a piece that offers optimistic encouragement to be who you are and to keep doing your best (my interpretation!) - a lovely close to another excellent album from Louis Landon!
New Mexico Piano is available as a CD from Louis Landon's website. It can be streamed and/or downloaded from Amazon and Apple Music/iTunes, and streamed from many sites including Spotify. Both thumbs up!
July 5, 2023