The Wisdom To Wait
2021 / Wayne Alan Gratz
Review by Kathy Parsons
Wayne Gratz's The Wisdom To Wait was created to enhance tranquillity and relaxation and to promote a calming listening experience. I'm happy to say that it exceeds expectations in all of those regards! A master of lyrical understatement since his 1989 debut on the Narada label, Reminiscence, Wayne has composed and recorded some of the most beautiful piano music out there. He established his own label, Wayne Gratz Music, in 2002, and The Wisdom To Wait is the tenth album on that label (plus some singles). He has also composed music for films and documentaries, and released Ocean Angels and Guardians in 2020 as part of The Outlaw Ocean Music Project. Still one of my favorite artists after all these years, I think The Wisdom To Wait could be Wayne's best album yet.
The piano always figures prominently in Wayne Gratz's music, which is sometimes solo piano and sometimes collaborative with one or more other musicians. The Wisdom To Wait is all Wayne, but it isn't all solo piano. Some of the fourteen tracks have keyboard/synth orchestrations and/or wordless vocals; the album was recorded in Wayne's own studio in Florida.
The Wisdom To Wait begins with "Daybreak," a gracefully energetic piece that reflects the optimism and promise of a new day as well as the beauty of a sunrise over the ocean - a great start! "Oaks" describes the strength and majesty of these magnificent trees with reverence and even a little awe. Strings and choral voices bring additional colors to the musical palette. "As The Stars Appear" is a favorite. Much of the piano is played in the brighter upper end of the piano, and I interpret that to represent the sparking stars against a clear dark sky. Strings and smoothly sustained voices are a peaceful contrast to the twinkling stars. "Abstract Reasoning" is much more ambient and has the feeling of an improvisation. Very free, relaxed and expressive, it's another favorite. "A Voice In the Ocean Breeze" is ambient in some passages, more rhythmic and melodic in others. Recorded with soothing ethereal voices and a moderately energetic piano, this 6 1/2 minute piece has time to explore and evolve at its own pace and allows the listener time to let go of the stresses of the day (or night) and get pleasantly lost in the music. "River Road," a gorgeous piano solo, is very free and expressive. It makes me think of taking a long walk, probably alone, and just letting thoughts flow while reveling in the scenery. The title track has a very steady beat that seems to mark the passage of time while the right hand plays a simple melody that could be suggesting patience in the most trying of times. I really like this one, too! "Beautiful Earth" is another fascinating study in contrasts with ambient choral voices, a rhythmic piano accompaniment, and a steady beat driven by a shaker/ maracas kind of hand percussion - also a favorite. "Season's Hideaway" brings this excellent album to a close with a bit of musical bliss. Piano and voices take us to a place where we can relax and unwind. Thank you, Wayne!
The Wisdom To Wait provides an hour of music that reminds us of the wonders all around us despite the chaos and uncertainty of these times. The album is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, Spotify and many other streaming sites. Don't miss this one!
October 3, 2021
Review by Michael Debbage