2021 / Timothy Crane
Review by Kathy Parsons
Halo is the fifth album of new music from pianist/composer Timothy Crane and is dedicated to "the angels working in healthcare around the world." The piano is featured in all of the tracks, but this album has a very big, cinematic feeling to it with lush orchestrations and plenty of well-placed drama. While Crane's music is usually considered "new age," that is often the catch-all category for instrumental (usually) music that isn't jazz, classical or country, with plenty of room for blending, bending and overlapping styles. Halo definitely belongs in the latter description. There is plenty of variety in the music, and I have no problem with that at all! I love albums that defy a single genre and show the full range of an artist's musicality. All but two of the twelve tracks were composed by Crane, and the album also features an instrumental cover version of Simon and Garfunkle's "The Boxer" from their Bridge Over Troubled Water album (1970 and still one of my favorites!) and a piece Crane co-wrote with David Greenwood. Crane also arranged the music, orchestrated it and engineered the recording. Additional musicians on the album are Tom Melaragno on drums, Joe Fluken on acoustic guitar, and Jason Rowsell on bass.
Halo begins with "Waterfall Secrets," a symphonic piece where the piano has lots of runs and arpeggios to suggest the movement of cascading water. It's easy to imagine this music in the soundtrack for a film with majestic nature scenes - especially big, flowing waterfalls! The 10-minute title track is also fully-orchestrated, but is much more ambient and peaceful despite its cinematic sweep. Paul Simon's "The Boxer" is one of the great songs to come out of the early 1970's and it's really fun to hear it as an instrumental with heavy drums in all the right places along with the melodic piano and strings. "Cards" is also very melodic and visual with full orchestration behind the piano and a big, dramatic sound. The piece is constantly evolving with themes that flow from one to another throughout its eight-minute playing time - beautiful and very evocative! "Southern Steps" keeps the piano in the forefront for most of the track. In the first half of the piece, the tempo is easy and graceful - perhaps thinking of the heat and humidity in that part of the country during warmer months. Full orchestration builds in the second half, once again suggesting a dramatic, sweeping soundtrack. "Tenants of the Heather" has a very dark and somber beginning, but then lightens to an almost carefree, buoyant expression. The strong and lively rhythms of "I-70 Sojourn" suggest an adventurous road trip with lots of laughter and a sense of freedom. Kinda jazz, kinda rock, it's a fun piece that keeps the toes tapping. Halo comes to a lively close with "Solaris," another jazzy rocker that defies genres but evokes a big smile.
Halo is available from Amazon, Apple Music/ iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Check it out!
April 25, 2021
Review by Kathy Parsons