Will Ackerman, Jeff Oster, Tom Eaton
2021 / Retso Records
Review by Kathy Parsons
Windham Hill records, cassettes and CDs always had very distinctive covers with lots of white space and a beautiful nature photo, so if you were to catch sight of the cover artwork for Brothers, it would be one of those "ah ha" moments that would pique your curiosity - familiar, but not a cover you remember specifically. Hmmm. The artists listed at the top are Will Ackerman (founder of the Windham Hill label), Jeff Oster and Tom Eaton, three of the superstars of the so-called "new age" music genre, and musicians who often work together on other artists' music, giving a distinctive sound to any music project produced by Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton. Brothers is the first collaborative project by the three artists playing their own original music - and what a brilliant first it is! With Ackerman on acoustic guitar, Oster on flugelhorn and trumpet, and Eaton on piano, keyboards, bass, electric guitar and percussion, all eight tracks are listed as being composed by the three. Seamless, soothing and magical, I won't be even a little bit surprised to see Brothers walk away with a boatload of awards for 2021! It's the perfect escape from the stressful and crazy world we find ourselves in to a place of ease and harmony. Thanks, Will, Jeff and Tom! We need this music!
Brothers begins with "Wild Bird," a piece that evokes images of a bird shimmering in the sunlight as it glides effortlessly through the sky - so peaceful and relaxed! "The Golden Hour" starts out with a piano/keyboard intro that becomes a guitar/piano/horn trio with a few keyboard embellishments - very serene and soulful. "While There's Time" is a graceful "song without words" that comes from the heart with sincerity and honesty. "Head For the Sky" could be about soaring high, but this piece feels much more like floating through a bright blue sky on a fluffy white cloud. Piano, horn and guitar combine to provide and soothing massage for the mind and soul. More, please! "Three Trees" obviously refers to the album's cover photo, representing the three "brothers." A deep love seems to flow through this piece as the brothers give each other plenty of room to express themselves without one needing or trying to be the "star." I love this piece! "The Confluence" has a more ambient feeling, flowing slowly but steadily, in no rush to be anywhere in particular. "It Had To Be Like That" is both dreamy and bittersweet, moving leisurely and with grace. "You Make My Heart" brings the album to a quiet close with the warm tenderness of a long embrace or a romantic slow dance. Ahhhhhh.
Brothers is certainly a musical event! Soothing, relaxing music at its best, the album is available from the artists' websites, Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes, Spotify and other sites.
August 25, 2021