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Album Review: Southwest Solo Piano
Louis Landon
Cover image of the album Southwest Solo Piano by Louis Landon
Southwest Solo Piano
Louis Landon
2020 / Landon Creative, Inc.
56 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
I’ve lost track of how many albums pianist/composer Louis Landon has released, but Southwest Solo Piano is the twenty-seventh album of his that I’ve reviewed! A lifelong career musician, Landon has played and performed with some of the best artists in a variety of genres, but it is his original solo piano music that really defines him as an artist. Louis has made his home in the Southwest region of the US for the past several years, and his music has become much freer and more expansive. It is the beauty of the area that inspired the fourteen tracks on this album, and Landon explains his process: “The way that I created the music on this album was by visualizing some of the most beautiful places and then improvising music based on the thoughts and feelings that came up.” The titles of most of the pieces indicate the places that inspired them. The album was recorded at The Peace Palace, Landon’s home recording studio, and then mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Studio in Sedona, AZ.

Southwest Solo Piano begins with “Agave,” one of my favorites on the album. Inspired by some of the very distinctive plants of the Southwest, the piece has a swiftly-moving flow that is both uplifting and gently energetic. “Antelope Canyon” is more atmospheric and ambient and seems to suggest the shimmering beauty of the heat of the day and how it slows everything to a relaxed pace. Vast and expansive, I really like this one, too! “Apache Trail” is quite different. The left hand keeps a steady drum-like rhythm while the right hand dances freely on the piano keys. Lively, yet darkly mysterious, it has a distinctly Native American feel. “Tuscon” has a light and breezy mood that is both carefree and joyous. The hypnotic “Monsoon” is another favorite. The left hand keeps a steady rhythm while the right hand is much freer and occasionally cascades down the piano keyboard to emulate the dramatic, heavy rainfall. “Bandelier National Monument” is named for an area in New Mexico that preserves the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloan’s. The homes are dwellings built into rocky hillsides and the surrounding areas are majestic. The piece creates a lovely blend of mystery and reverence - and yet another favorite! “House Mountain” is near Sedona, AZ, and the piece with that title is slow and expressive, conveying awe and wonder. “The Grand Canyon” closes the album with a bluesy gospel feeling that I makes me smile every time. Big and celebratory, it’s the perfect close to a great album!

If you’ve never visited the Southwest, this album will certainly kindle your desire to see it for yourself. If you have been there, Landon’s musical imagery will take you right back! The album is available from www.LouisLandon.com, Amazon, iTunes and many streaming sites. Both thumbs up!
April 19, 2020
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