2008 / 143 Reprise
Review by Michael Debbage
Back in 2004, the career of pianist William Joseph roared into gear with the impressive debut album Within. The winning combination of this new talent and the production capabilities of the legendary David Foster appeared to be a match made in heaven. However, it did not translate to the blockbuster smash that it should have been. Four years later that fine effort has finally been followed up with the sophomore release Beyond and despite the high expectations it far exceeds its still impressive predecessor.
Though Foster is co-credited with seven of the twelve tracks, this album is essentially about the William Joseph who wrote or co-wrote ten of the dozen compositions. With the exception of the impressive arrangement of the Led Zeppelin song “Kashmir” that was featured on the debut, the material is all new and frankly there is not one dud in the dozen. Much like the classically based "Within," Beyond opens with the sophisticated and stylistic song “Standing In The Storm”. Nevertheless, Joseph avoids being stagnant by presenting his listening audience with a much more eclectic yet exciting collection of songs that will leave you breathless.
Two military based themes are explored on the inspiring and moving “Heroes” and “Return With Honor” that also features the uplifting orchestral arrangements of William Ross. In utter contrast there is the Middle Eastern themes explored on “Apasionada” and “Asturias” that feature the guitar work of Ramon Stagnaro and Jesse Cook respectively. On the latter, it is here you will realize that Joseph not only has a good ear for a melody but can also execute and perform as he banters and builds with Jesse Cook. If it is the structure and melody of a song that is your preference then search for the gorgeous “Leningrad” written by William Joseph or the moving “Sweet Remembrance Of You” that will bring tears to your eyes. Meanwhile, the bare and simplicity of “A Mother’s Heart” brings Beyond to a wonderful conclusion.
Nine of the twelve compositions on Beyon" have been specifically mentioned in this review but don’t let that fool you into thinking this beauty has any filler material. Every moment on this album is more than music to the ears. For those of you that enjoyed "Within," you will be blown away by the moving magnitude and consistency of Beyond. Be prepared to ride an emotional rollercoaster as you listen to the music and performance of a lifetime of William Joseph.
July 7, 2008