2013 / Stan Berger Music
Review by Kathy Parsons
Winter is the second release from pianist/composer Stan Berger, following his 2010 smooth jazz debut, Kool Shoes. A longtime studio musician, composer, musical director and former pianist for Barry White, Berger earned a doctorate in composition from Claremont Graduate University. Coupled with a background in classical music and jazz, Berger brings a wealth of experience to his original compositions, which are rich, elegant and very beautiful. Within a few of the thirteen tracks are hints of Christmas themes, but this isn’t a holiday album and will be a lovely addition to anyone’s year-round music collection. Most of the pieces are solo piano, but a few have keyboard string accompaniment.
Winter begins with the title track, a very poignant and graceful beauty that sets the tone of the album - love it! “Winter Rose” is much lighter and more carefree while “The Angels Sing” has a lyrical classical style. “Snow Dream” is a gorgeous piece for piano and strings - wistful and dreamy. “Morning Star” is a bright and lively dance that celebrates the approach of a new day with a swirling melody that should put a smile on anyone’s face! “Joy” is a wonderful minor-key homage to “Carol of the Bells.” Lively and in constant motion, the dark and haunting variations on the melody make this my favorite track. “Forever” is an unabashedly romantic love song. The piano is sweet and tender, surrounded with smooth string washes that evoke a gentle sigh. I also really like “Cherry Blossom.” The right hand seems to dance all over the piano keyboard while the more repetitive left hand keeps the piece grounded and rhythmic. Melancholy but not despairing, this is a very impressive and deeply emotional piece! “Winter Storm” has a different kind of intensity that is somewhat ominous and mysterious yet very soulful and hypnotic - another favorite! “Northern Lights” joyfully sparkles and swirls all over the piano keys, leaving the listener a little breathless! “When Love Remains” brings this excellent album to close with a passionate piano solo that goes right to the heart.
Stan Berger has created an exceptional album with Winter, and I hope there will be many more releases to come! The album is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Very highly recommended!
February 6, 2014