Terence Yallop and the team at Real Music have once again assembled a stellar compilation album, this time featuring pianists from their own roster of artists as well as selections from a few independents. Eleven of the fourteen tracks are from previously-released albums, but the independent artists (most notably George Skaroulis and Frederic Delarue) may be new to many listeners and will be a treat to discover (both are among my favorite artists!). It should probably be noted that none of the tracks are strictly solo piano, but all feature the piano as the primary instrument. The CD includes two tracks each from David London, Paul Machlis, Bernward Koch (both new compositions), and the wonderful Kevin Kern (“The Winding Path” is one of his most beautiful compositions, and sparkles in this collection.); and one each from Omar, Danny Wright (a cover of Yanni’s “Whispers in the Dark”), Jim Chappell (it’s good to hear from this artist again after a long absence!), George Skaroulis, Mars Lasar, and Frederic Delarue. It always amazes me how Yallop can take such a diverse group of artists and create a seamless collection that showcases the differences from one artist to the next but flows so smoothly and cohesively. It’s difficult to pinpoint any special highlights on this album since each track is a gem unto itself and there are no weak tracks at all. As is Real Music’s usual focus, all of the music is warm, soothing, and beautiful both in the background and for active listening. Nobody does compilations better than Real Music, and this is one of their best. Recommended! It is available directly from realmusic.com
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