2013 / Real Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Daytime Dreamer is the fifth Real Music release from Omar Akram and the follow-up to his 2012 Grammy-winning Echoes of Love. Performing on piano, keyboards and synthesizers, Omar is joined by an impressive roster of supporting musicians that includes David Arana, Pedro Eustache, Ramon Stagnaro, Charlie Bisharat, and Gregg Karukas. As the title implies, this music is warm and dreamy, sometimes gently flowing and sometimes a bit more upbeat and lively. Six of the eleven tracks are new, and five appeared on Omar’s first two albums, Opal Fire (2002) and Free As a Bird (2004). Having grown up in places all over the world, Omar has always taken a world-music approach to his compositions in both instrumentation and by utilizing a variety of cultural styles. Those exotic influences don’t seem as strong on Daytime Dreamer, but passion, romance, and some really fine music abound.
Daytime Dreamer begins with “Downpour,” a piano-based piece with a strong beat and feelings of excitement - a great start! “Dancing With the Wind” is spirited and joyful, and features piano, violin (Bisharat), guitar (Stagnaro), and percussion. “Surrender” begins with exotic voices and a soulful duduk (an ancient Middle Eastern woodwind instrument), gradually adding piano and keyboard, violin, and guitar - a beauty and one of my favorites. “Passage Into Midnight” begins as a lovely, bittersweet duet for piano and guitar, gathering momentum as it evolves and becoming a rhythmic Latin dance that showcases Bisharat’s energetic violin. The title track is a sweetly hypnotic piece for piano, oud (similar to a lute), and keyboards. “Love Of My Heart” expresses passion and tenderness with sensual piano and strings. Gentle as a whisper, “The Promise” features violin (Drew Tretick) and piano backed with pastel keyboard washes - graceful and wistful. “Morning Rain” was one of my favorites from Opal Fire, so it’s great to know it will be more widely-heard this time around. Light and carefree, it’s a favorite all over again. I also dearly love “Last Dance” (from the same album) with its infectious rhythms and intoxicating spirit. Great stuff!! “My Desire” closes the album with a passionate slow dance that is magical and romantic.
As a Grammy winner, I’m sure Omar Akram will be held to a new standard, and Daytime Dreamer does not disappoint. It is available from www.RealMusic.com, Amazon, and iTunes. Recommended!
September 14, 2013