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Album Review: Piano Ocean
Spencer Brewer and Kostia
Cover image of the album Piano Ocean by Spencer Brewer and Kostia
Piano Ocean
Spencer Brewer and Kostia
2000 / Northsound
64 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Piano Ocean is a very welcome new collection of original piano solos by Kostia and Spencer Brewer, two of my all-time favorite artists. The music is accompanied by ocean sounds, which is pleasant, but music of this caliber doesn’t need a gimmick. Nature sounds added to music is one of Northsounds’ signature features, though, so this was a label decision rather than an artistic one. The waves crashing and gulls chirping in the background don’t detract from the music, but this would still be a superlative album with just the piano.

The liner notes don’t give composer credit, but if you’re interested, Kostia composed tracks 1-3,8,10, and 12, and Spencer Brewer did 4-7, 9, and 11. Kostia was a child prodigy who was trained in the Russian conservatory system from the age of seven through graduate school, and his playing and composing styles have an unmatched elegance that is distinctive and easy to identify. Spencer Brewer has also been in music all of his life, and is largely self-taught. Known for many years for his simple, heartfelt melodies on Narada recordings, Brewer has been going in several different musical directions since he became an independent artist several years ago. His flowing melody lines are still very recognizable, but like fine wine, much of his music has taken on more complexity and richness. Both artists are passionate players, and the depth of their music soothes the soul in a very satisfying way. To use this music as simply a background for another activity would be a great loss for the listener. Every piece on the album will hold up beautifully to full concentration and will deepen with each new listen. I have heard this album at least twenty times, and never get tired of any of it. Each piece is to be savored and enjoyed over and over, finding something new each time. Kostia and Spencer Brewer are masters of contemporary piano, and I give this album my highest recommendation.

Currently, Piano Ocean is available only from Spencer Brewer. Contact him at sbrewer@pacific.net.
January 1, 2000
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Kathy's Favorites: 2001
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