Popcorn Jazz Piano
2022 / Landon Creative
Review by Kathy Parsons
Popcorn Jazz Piano is a light and upbeat solo piano album from the always excellent (and better all the time!) Louis Landon. Released in 2022, the album is a collection of eleven original pieces recorded in May 2021 at Landon's Peace Palace in Sedona, AZ on his Steinway B grand piano. A regular performer in my house concert series here on the Oregon Coast for many years, seeing Louis play live is even more of a treat than listening to his many wonderful albums! When Louis sent me this album for review, I wondered where the title came from. The first time I heard track 5, I thought, "I'll bet that piece is called 'Popcorn'." Bingo!
Jazz piano can mean a broad range of musical styles, but always includes at least some improvisation. On his website, Louis says that his mission is to create music that calls attention to the present moment. I can't think of anything that is more immediate than creating music in real time, and Louis is SO good at that! With his lifelong experience in so many music genres, he seems to effortlessly pull beautiful melodies as well as intricate, jazzy rhythms from the ethers, and they always seem to work - an amazing artist!
Popcorn Jazz Piano begins with "Sweet," an easy-going piece that seems to express that life is good. Warm and optimistic, it's an engaging start! "Minor Blues Thing" picks up the tempo a bit and has the feeling of forward motion with its flowing pattern in the left hand and a playful, spontaneous right - a favorite! "Gathering" can mean many things, and the piece with that title seems to express excitement and anticipation, perhaps preparing for a reunion of sorts. "Saturday Musings" is another favorite. Warm, relaxed and maybe even a little bit lazy, this is a mental state everyone needs to allow themselves to experience from time to time (or more often!) to appreciate the simpler things that make life so worthwhile. My take on the title track is that it expresses the pure joy of making music. Listen carefully, and I think you'll be able to hear the places where the music says the word "popcorn"! "Golden" is quieter and deeply soothing - enjoying a moment and expressing gratitude for it. Louis is an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast, and "Celebrate Earth" is a wonderful expression of that. Gentle yet passionate, it seems to be both a celebration and a wake-up call. "Timelapse" feels a little more urgent, with a quick tempo and constant movement around the piano keyboard. It's an energetic close to another great album from Louis Landon!
Popcorn Jazz Piano is available from Louis' website, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, and streaming sites including Spotify. Don't miss it!
August 11, 2023