The Long Road
2020 / Monica Logani
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Long Road is the second album from pianist/composer Monica Logani, following her 2016 debut, Secret Garden. Many of the fifteen original pieces are solo piano while others include guitar, violin, viola and/or cello. The music was inspired by the loss of a close friend “whose journey was short, but her love was strong, and her life was full.” Most of the tracks are relatively short (under 2 1/2 minutes), and the music reflects on and expresses a broad mix of the emotions that flow into our lives when someone we love passes on, including grief, loss, loneliness, memories, spirituality, and, finally, acceptance. Additional artists are Gregg Zubowicz (guitar), Maria Grigoryeva (violin), Ekaterina Gaydareva (viola), and Lyudmila Kadyrbaeva (cello); Zubowicz also produced the album.
The Long Road begins with “Birds,” a piano solo that hints at tragedy and heartbreak in a freely unstructured piece that seems to ask “why?” Many pieces about the dawning of a new day are light and optimistic, but “Daybreak” awakens to pain and sorrow. “Juliette” is named for Logani’s late friend, and, with the addition of strings, this piece effectively expresses grace and loving memories while an occasional discordant chord jolts with the pain of great loss. “Mantra” begins with a short acoustic guitar solo before becoming a piano solo with a much lighter spirit than the previous tracks. It is far from joyful, but feels more hopeful. The title track seems to reflect on grief and loss while processing it to, hopefully, become more manageable. “Space” includes the string trio in addition to the piano and is one of the more melodic pieces on the album, expressing (to me) a cautious sense of optimism. “Dreamer” also includes the strings and has a very fluid, “dreamy” feeling. In “Valencia,” the piano provides a flowing accompaniment to Zubowicz’s beautiful guitar lead - a favorite. My favorite piece on the album is the exotic and mysterious “Devotion.” Hypnotic Middle Eastern harmonies and rhythms captivate as the piano and guitars work their magic. The longest piece on the album at just under four minutes, it’s a real standout to these ears! “Savior” and “Summer’s End” seem to be gentle expressions of grief and, hopefully, healing. “The Last Embrace” brings the album to a very sad close.
The Long Road is a very personal expression of emotional experiences most of us dread, and I’m sure Monica Logani’s sharing of her experience through her music will help many people with their own losses and grief. I hope it helped her to heal as well. The album is available from Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby (until 3/31/20) and Spotify. The album is available from Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby (until 3/31/20) and Spotify.
March 23, 2020