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Album Review: Provocative Piano
Louis Landon
Cover image of the album Provocative Piano by Louis Landon
Provocative Piano
Louis Landon
2021 / Landon Creative, Inc.
48 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Provocative Piano is the first of four full-length solo piano albums pianist/composer Louis Landon released in 2021. One of my favorite artists for many years, Landon is a pianist who can do it all and make it look easy while sitting in front of the ol' 88's. His longtime mission statement is: "To create a more compassionate world by writing, recording and performing music that inspires love, peace, joy and gratitude." And that's what he's been doing for almost two decades. Released in January 2021, Provocative Piano is somewhat different from many of Landon's albums, reflecting the fears, frustrations and warnings in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, environmental chaos and political turmoil at the time (and that hasn't changed much!). There is plenty of joy expressed in the music, but there are also some darker moments that just feel right.

Provocative Piano begins with "Same Old Story," a melancholy piece with a poignant theme and a quickly-flowing left hand that infuses it with the energy to keep moving forward - a great start! A beacon is usually a light that acts as a guide through the darkness and/or fog, and the piece called "Beacon" feels strong but solitary and perhaps even lonely. "Waiting" has a slow, evenly-flowing tempo that seems to express both patience and disappointment. "Somber" comes right from the heart and feels much like an intimate conversation where nothing is sugar-coated or left unsaid - a favorite. "Conviction" is my favorite piece on the album. Dark and bluesy yet upbeat with a driving rhythm, I always hit the "repeat" button at least once at the end of this one!

I'm not sure if the next four pieces were intended to go together as a "suite," but the titles are "I'm Telling You," "You Should Know," "Nature's Warning" and "Time Is Running Out" and each piece seems to be issuing a warning about what is happening to the environment world-wide. Although intense, the music is very beautiful even while its message offers an urgent wake-up call. "Truce" seems somewhat more relaxed and hopeful. I really like this one, too!

Louis Landon and I did an interview on January 8, 2021, a couple of days after the White House was stormed by Trump supporters. In that interview, Landon said this about his "Prayer For America" which closes the album: "I feel like I'm watching the fall of Rome in real time here in the United States. This country, that I live in and that I love, is coming apart politically, socially and environmentally. This song is a prayer for us to find our way out of the present situation and create a beautiful democracy that works for all people so that we can live healthy, happy lives." Amen!

Provocative Piano is available from Louis' website, Amazon, Apple/iTunes, and streaming sites like Spotify.
December 14, 2021