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Album Review: Whispers of Grace
Oman Ken and Louis Landon
Cover image of the album Whispers of Grace by Oman Ken and Louis Landon
Whispers of Grace
Oman Ken and Louis Landon
2015 / Landon Creative & Dancing Wave Music
46 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Whispers of Grace is pianist/composer Louis Landon’s nineteenth album to date and his third release for 2015. Despite the rapid output, the quality of Landon’s recordings never wavers. Most of his albums have been solo piano, but this one is a duet album with fellow Sedona, AZ musician Oman Ken playing a variety of Native flutes and on harmonica for one track. All ten pieces are improvisations, five of which were recorded live in front of an audience earlier this year (the sounds of the audience were edited out). To summarize the intent of the album, the artists state: "In order to create the kind of spontaneous music that we play, it is necessary to go within to a quiet, peaceful place. We allow the music to flow through us spontaneously from the heart. It feels as if the music is playing us. We hope this music will take listeners on a relaxing journey deep within, opening their hearts and giving them a feeling of peaceful well-being." The album was recorded at The Peace Palace in Sedona and was mixed and mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven, also in Sedona. Landon is a Steinway Artist, and his grand piano has a gorgeous warm, clear sound. Oman Ken’s flutes are soulful and haunting and sound great with the piano!

Whispers of Grace opens with “Alchemy of Time,” setting the peaceful and gentle tone of the album. “Stepping Stones” is one of my favorites and feels like a musical conversation between the two instruments and artists, which of course it is, but I find the tranquility of the music especially soothing on this one. I also really like “A Touch of Yesterday,” which begins with a gorgeous piano solo that becomes a duet for piano and harmonica. Harmonica in the wrong hands can be awful, but Ken’s heartfelt playing goes right to the heart. The piece itself is reflective and poignant, and Landon’s touch is silky smooth - love it! “Turning Point” goes somewhat darker, expressing longing and deep emotion - Landon’s solos make this my favorite piece on the album! The title track puts the spotlight on Ken with Landon adding subtle accompaniment. One of the more dynamic cuts on the album, “Conversation,” takes the idea of a wordless conversation between artists a step farther, allowing each to “speak” distinctly and from the heart as well as in complete harmony together - both beautiful and impressive. “Stairway of Dreams” is one of those pieces that draws you in and lets you get totally lost in the music. Landon’s flowing piano touch is perfect with and without the flute - a gentle massage for the mind and heart, bringing the album to a warm and peaceful close.

I have always loved Louis Landon’s music, but over the past few years, he has really found his truest musical voice. I am new to Oman Ken’s music, but that, too, is a real treat for the soul as it works its soothing magic. Whispers of Grace is available from louislandon.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
December 27, 2015