Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Doctor's Notes
Paul L. Fine
Cover image of the album Doctor's Notes by Paul L. Fine
Doctor's Notes
Paul L. Fine
2008 / Paul L. Fine
76 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Doctor's Notes is a delightful follow-up to Paul Fine’s 2006 debut, “Fine Tuning.” As on the first album, there is a wide variety of solo piano styles: from stately classical to blues and ragtime to more of a standards and pop style. Paul Fine can clearly do it all with playing chops that feel effortless and natural - impressive without trying to impress. Even the packaging of the CD is clever, with the front cover artwork showing a stethoscope lying on the printed notes to the music, and the back cover listing the songs as a prescription. Paul Fine is a medical doctor in “real life,” as well as an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center, so he isn’t just playing around with words here. The music is warm and inviting, suggesting a deep love for the music that undoubtedly helps Dr. Fine unwind and de-stress. Composed over a span of years, many of the pieces were written to honor various people and events in Fine’s life, making this an especially positive, personal, and joyful CD.

Doctor's Notes begins with “Clouds of Glory,” a mostly lighthearted piece with poignant moments and a touch of Spanish spice. Classically- structured, with a variety of themes, this piece is meant to evoke the many emotions one feels when anticipating the birth of a child. A great start! “Amicus Curiae” (Friend of the Court) is a graceful, elegant piece composed for Fine’s attorney brother. Then comes “The Summertime VA Blues,” one of my favorites. I love piano blues, and Fine does it up right. “Classical Piece Offering” hints of Mozart and Haydn. “Summer In Sylvania” is lazy and idyllic - a lovely nod to Fine’s Ohio hometown. “Snow Day” celebrates the thrill of school being canceled due to a storm - fun and carefree! “Tolyatti Treasures” is a Russian-flavored piece composed to welcome two girls that neighbor friends adopted - a beautiful piece that touches many hearts. “Susan’s Song” is a lovely ballad that I suspect also has lyrics - very melodic and smooth. “First Bass” is another play on words. With the melody in the bass clef, the piece is more about baseball than fishing! “Buckeye Glory” is full of fun and exuberance, with a catchy and rhythmic bassline and a spirited melody. “Sister Ann” was composed to accompany a poem written by Fine’s college roommate. The flowing melody conveys deep emotion and passion - another favorite. “The Slower Neighborhood Squirrels” is a charming ragtime piece that begins leisurely and picks up speed as it goes - I really love this one! “Children at Play” was composed for and is perfomed by Fine’s three children. It was written for piano (four hands) and flute. Some of the piece was composed when Fine was a child himself - another delight! The kids did a great job!

With the variety of the music on this CD, there should be something for everyone to enjoy! Recommended!
August 1, 2008
More reviews of Paul L. Fine albums