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Album Review: Island Sanctuary
Wayne Gratz
Cover image of the album Island Sanctuary by Wayne Gratz
Island Sanctuary
Wayne Gratz
1999 / Narada
63 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
This is Wayne Gratz’s first album of original material in three years, and it was definitely worth the wait! Many of Wayne’s fans (myself included!) were dismayed by the string of cover albums that have come out over the past few years - had we lost one of the best pianist/composers out there? Never fear - I would call this Wayne Gratz’s best album to date! A master of turning a simple musical phrase into a meaningful and poignant message, this gentle masterpiece was inspired by the beauty of Merritt Island in Florida, near Wayne’s home outside of Orlando. The pieces are solo piano and small ensembles made up of guitar, cello, English horn, bass, French horn, and light percussion. The album works so well as a single entity that it’s difficult to pick a favorite track. “This Is” is a lovely cello and piano piece with a slightly melancholy feel to it - perhaps inspired by the kind of beauty that brings a tear to the eye and a catch in the throat. “Stars Rising” has a sparkling but tender piano line with soft watercolor washes of cello - minimalist, but evocative. “Departure” closes the set on a more upbeat and joyous note, underscoring that this was indeed a wonderful experience. Other nature-inspired titles include “Hawk Above the Hammock’, “Walking on Water”, and “Sandpiper’s Congregation”. Island Sanctuary is soothing and uplifting from start to finish, and I highly recommend it! This is contemporary piano and Wayne Gratz at their best!
May 5, 1999
More reviews of Wayne Gratz albums
Cover image of the album Sleepy Baby Suite by Wayne Gratz
2003
Review by Michael Debbage
Michael's Favorites: 2003
Cover image of the album 20 Years of Narada Piano by Wayne Gratz
2001
(contributing artist)