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Album Review: Bright Little Worlds
Rebecca Hass
Cover image of the album Bright Little Worlds by Rebecca Hass
Bright Little Worlds
Rebecca Hass
2024 / Rebecca Hass
54 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Bright Little Worlds is the second album from Rebecca Hass, a composer, pianist, educator and creative coach now based in Berkeley, CA. The album includes twenty-one relatively short piano solos and one piece for piano, flute and pandeiro - all original compositions in a variety of styles that include Brazilian, jazz, neoclassical, impressionistic and others. The pieces are arranged to tell the story of a hero's journey and reflects the composer's dedication to following creative curiosity and spreading joy with her music. Each piece is its own character (or little world), providing something for every mood while maintaining a cohesive whole. With its many musical styles, Bright Little Worlds demonstrates Hass' versatility as a composer as well as her very expressive playing style.

With her deep passion for Brazilian rhythms, Rebecca Hass has been part of the Brazilian music scene in the Bay Area for the past five years. She has been a guest with the Berkeley Choro Ensemble as well as a soloist with the Diablo Symphony and Echo Chamber Orchestra, performing Brazilian and Latin music written by living composers. Rebecca released her first album of piano music, Florescer (Bloom), in 2018, and I described it in my review as "a delightful 43 minutes of musical sunshine.”

I can't mention all twenty-two pieces on Bright Little Worlds, but this will give you an idea of the variety in the music. The album begins with "What's Next," a bright and lively jazz piece with a catchy Latin rhythm that all but swirls with a big grin on its face - a great start! "On the Green Line" is quite a bit darker and more mysterious, keeping it simple yet rather intense. "Meander" has a very fluid rhythm that "wanders" freely, pausing here and there to check things out. Very spare, yet very descriptive, "Cold Moon" actually sends a chill! Even the title of "Underwatercolor Ballet" paints a descriptive picture! If you've ever used watercolors, you have seen how the various colors can move as they blend together to create something unplanned yet unique - that's the feeling I get from this piece. "Welcome a New Day" is very light and optimistic, looking forward to a fresh start and new possibilities. "Centimonk" introduces a playful bit of funky jazz. Lively and just a little sneaky, "Getting Away With It" covers a lot of musical territory in less than a minute! "Anxiety Waltz" is also very short and in a quick 3/4 time that won't inspire graceful gliding on an elegant dance floor! "Rusty's Dream" returns to a bright, playful style with a slower, more serious middle section for contrast. "Waving At Copland" is very slow and open, exploring a more reflective mood and suggesting images that I'm sure will be different for each listener - I really like this one! The album comes to a lively close with "Patas de Problemas (Troublepaws)," a Latin-flavored ensemble jazz piece for piano, flute (Debbie Gold) and pandeiro (Brian Rice) - a swirling piece of musical joy!

Bright Little Worlds is an excellent second album sure to brighten your own little world! It is available from Rebecca's website (CDs and downloads), Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, and streaming platforms including Spotify. Check it out!
June 10, 2024
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