2014 / Autumn Music Productions
Review by Michael Debbage
Wesley’s own liner notes refers to his latest creation as a continuation of his optimistic 2012 recording Hope Endures that was polarized conceptually when compared to 2008’s moodier Dark Night of the Soul. Whether you buy into the concept of Transcend being the third part of what appears to be a loose trilogy what is crystal clear is that it continues to represent the impressive work of pianist Philip Wesley.
From album cover to the melancholy opening track “Less Traveled” there is a strong suggestion that Transcend would be more closely related to Dark Night of the Soul, however the gentle flow and ebb of the follow up track “Unbridled Spirit” almost feels like you are hitting the reset button. It is further assisted by the spring of the title track matched with the likes of the exuberant composition “The Chase”, “Courage To Change” and the interesting “Gypsy” that wanders musical just like its subject matter.
Throughout the album there are more reflective melancholy moments that parallel stylistically more with Dark Night of the Soul but what will take you by complete surprise is the closer “Echoes Through Eternity”. Delicately played out softly with a surreal and ambient performance with space to breathe, it will allow your pulse to be synchronized with this pastoral music masterpiece as you slowly take in its entire seven minutes of simple brilliance.
Whether or not Transcend is part three of a trilogy really does not matter. But if it is the last piece of the puzzle and Wesley is ready to begin a completely new journey then he might want to pay attention to his concluding musical statement found here that is stylistically very different to what we would expect from Wesley but nevertheless one that he may want to explore. That aside, Transcend stands alone as another masterful creation from Wesley.
March 28, 2015
Review by Kathy Parsons