2016 / Salvatori Productions, Inc.
Review by Kathy Parsons
Parlour Favorites is a collection of eleven peaceful acoustic guitar solos performed by Tom Salvatori. Six of the eleven pieces are original compositions and the other five are by Jan Akkerman, Robert Fripp, Steve Hackett (2) and Steve Howe. (All of the cover tunes came from albums that were released in the early- to mid-1970’s.) Several of Salvatori’s recent albums were collaborations with the late British pianist/composer/mathematician Iris Litchfield (1938-2014), but he has also released an impressive number of solo albums before and after that music partnership. The Salvatori Productions website explains their mission: “Salvatori Productions, Inc. (established in 1995) is a record label specializing in quiet and minimal ensemble music that features original compositions recorded with real players on real instruments at all times.” Salvatori performs on and composes for nylon string guitar and his music has strong classical influences. He likes to compose late at night, so many of his works have the feeling of a gentle lullaby - very soothing and relaxing.
Parlour Favorites begins with “Summer Suitino in G,” a suite of three pieces. “Suite I: Optimistic Thoughts” is light and positive with strong Baroque influences. “Suite II: On the Boulevard of Hopes and Dreams” is very reflective and spare with lots of open space between the notes. “Suite III: What’s Left is Threadbare” is darker with some bluesy accents here and there. “Low Tide” is slow, peaceful, and more than a little bit melancholy. As its title suggests, “Wandering” meanders without a specific goal or purpose, but I really like the way it expresses a relaxed state and a sense of freedom to go wherever it wants. “Looking Back” is structured more like a ballad and would easily support lyrics, although words are certainly not needed. Poignant and nostalgic, many emotions are expressed in this lovely piece. “Le Clochard” translates as “the homeless man” or “the tramp,” but it is also the name of several restaurants that come up with a Google search, so who knows where the inspiration for this beautiful piece by Jan Akkeraman came from? Simple but bittersweet and evocative, it’s a highlight of the album. I also really like “Horizons” by Steve Hackett. The opening theme recalls JS Bach, but then the piece comes right up to the present with a gentle, lyrical melody. “Hands of the Priestess,” also composed by Hackett has a slowly-flowing melody with a haunting quality that I find very affecting. The final track on the album combines two pieces by Steve Howe: an excerpt from “The Ancient” and “Mood For a Day.” Somewhat more dramatic than most of the other tracks, it’s a great ending for the album.
Parlour Favorites is an excellent choice for relaxation, sleep, studying, a quiet meal, and any number of other activities. It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
October 19, 2016