CD: The Best Of Reviews New Age – The Piano
Artist: Various artists

Reviews New Age is highly popular website from Spain that features album reviews, news, biographies, competitions, and concerts. Also under the umbrella of new age music on the site are the genres of neo-classical, ambient, lounge, Celtic, and world music. The maestro behind this informative and entertaining enterprise is fellow music reviewer Alejandro Clavijo, who is an accomplished pianist as well. His dreamy and romantic music has been compared to George Winston, David Lanz, Jim Brickman and others. Alejandro’s writing is highly regarded and draws readers from all over the world. While the website is in Spanish, there is a tab at the top of the home page to quickly translate it into English or any of a number of other languages.


On this compilation, Alejandro has brought together a number of his favorite pianists, 17 in all, highlighting what are in his opinion, some of their best compositions. Like the people who read his reviews, the array of artists featured on the album are international as well and they exquisitely articulate the many moods and motifs a musician is capable of conveying on the grand piano. The CD is a gracious 71 minutes in length and makes for a superb sampler of keyboard mastery. A nicely produced video provides a taste of the album and can be seen at this link: While the project was produced by Alejandro in Spain, the music was mastered by Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Recording Studios in Seattle, Washington. Joe is also a featured pianist on the CD with a heartening composition entitled “Rise And Shine.”


A number of the artists on the album are familiar to me, having reviewed some of their CD’s individually in the past. With 17 different pianists in this collection, there regrettably isn’t room to go into detail on each of them. However,  bios of all the artists are provided in a booklet that accompanies the CD. With so much talent its hard to pick favorites, but I will admit that being a huge fan of the Beatles, and George Harrison in particular, a track that immediately piqued my interest was “Sir George (Liverpool Farewell) by David Lanz. With its grand entrance, giving way to a more wistful air, it was an evocative tribute to a much beloved music icon.


Though all of the musicians are united as kindred spirits by their choice of instrument, the stylistic and thematic diversity on the album is expressed with great personal style and individuality. Some are delicate romantic pieces such as “A Vision In White” by David Nevue, Danny Wright’s “I Always Will,” “Kim’s Song” by Rocky Fretz, “Masterpeace” by Joseph Akins, and “Lamentations Of The Heart” by Phillip Wesley.  While others exude a bit more fire and forward motion like the album’s opening track, “Maine Morning” by Doug Hammer, Matthew Mayer’s “Beyond,” “Perseverance” by Michele McLaughlin, Lisa Downing’s “Night Games,” and “Ascent” by Peter Kater, which as the title implies, builds momentum as it evolves. Many of the compositions have a cinematic quality that would work well in a soundtrack, such as “Natalie’s Song” by Wayne Gratz, Joe Bongiorno’s “Rise And Shine,” “Set On A Hill” by Chad Lawson, “The Train” by Ralph Zurmühle, and the elegant intensity of Mario López Santos on “Luceros,” and Julio Mazziotti on “Indicio.”


The development of the “modern” piano is credited to Bartolomeo Cristofori in the 1700’s and the instrument has certainly enjoyed a rich history ever since. I have no doubt that if Cristofori could hear the level of talent and diversity exhibited on this compilation, he would be quite pleased. But for current music lovers who find reward in the sundry sounds of solo piano, a treasure trove awaits within the tracks of The Best Of Reviews New Age – The Piano.





Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Recording Studios