The View From Here
2022 / First Snow Music
Review by Michael Debbage
The last few months or so have been a productive time for former Narada label artists. With recent musical jewels from David Lanz, David Arkenstone, Paul Cardall and Wayne Gratz just to name a few, it has a been a time of wonder. However, to end the 23 year drought of a Michael Gettel recording is quite simply the icing on the cake. Needless to say The View From Here is a spectacular view no matter what angle you view it from.
Gettel first placed himself on the musical map courtesy of the 1986 critically acclaimed debut San Juan Suite. Stripped down and naked, the album’s prime focus was the playing of this piano man and what a wonderful recording it was. Meanwhile over the years, Gettel’s music became more elaborative concluding in 1999 with the epic The Journey North. Whichever bookend of his recordings you preferred the results were always top shelf. So any return of Michael Gettel was always going to be a moment in time. That said, his latest recording has returned him to his roots more in line with his debut with a very intimate recording that continues to enthrall and impress.
This way overdue return opens with the slow building title track with Gettel’s piano work clearly on display with no sign of rust. This introduction certainly gives all indication that this newest recording is not going to tarnish his past track record. It isn’t until about halfway thru the composition that Gettel turns up the performance. With your attention secured, Michael then turns to the more reflective “Oh So Many Stars!” that also includes a rhythmic mid section. Perhaps that may have been the moment that you saw that majestic shooting star while you were lying on a warm sandy beach gazing at God’s gorgeous canopy.
More reflective moments can be found on the likes of “Lone Tree” and the closer “Aerial”. But it is the consistent lush lower register playing and slower rhythm found on “The Embrace” that will have you hugging and holding on to this new musical friend. No matter what musical mood is on display, the 12 tracks of new material clocking in at 57 minutes reflect the triumphant return of Michael Gettel.
With the exception of some additional piano work from Kelsey Lee Cate on “Rise”, the traditional Scottish drinking song “The Parting Glass” and the occasional high definition water sound effect, Michael’s latest accomplishment is all about his music, arrangement and high quality production. After being in the desert of no Michael Gettel solo recordings for over 23 years, the return of this highly acclaimed artist truly quenches the thirst. That said one hopes we do not have to wait another 23 years to hear this musical voice. Needless to say The View From Here is panoramic and stunning.
February 27, 2022