Album: Four Days In My Life
Artist: Louis Colaiannia

louis-colaiannia-four-days-in-my-lifePianist/composer Louis Colaiannia’s latest release, Four Days In My Life was inspired by the time he recently spent enjoying the breathtaking natural beauty of the Oregon coast while on a concert tour. As with his previous album, Louis chose to record at the iconic Imaginary Road Studios of GRAMMY winning producer and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, and includes accompaniment by a number of Will’s finest studio musicians. As can be expected, elements of the classic Windham Hill sound are to be found, and the music is a bit more understated without as much of the jazz influence heard on some of Louis’ earlier recordings. It’s a lovely reflective album from someone I consider to be a class act in the genre.

I’m quite familiar with Louis’ music having written feature articles about a number of his previous albums such as Closer, The Next Stage, and A Moment Between Eternities, as well as producing three music videos for his albums, including the one at the bottom of this article. It’s been interesting seeing the various facets of Louis’ musical spectrum reflected in his recordings. He is a man of many musical talents and influences. Although this is not surprising considering the many sources he has drawn inspiration from over the course of his long and successful career.


In my recent interview with Louis, he shared a bit about this influences: “I started piano at age dsc02830-2-1024x7495.  My parents told me I had to learn an instrument and I could choose any instrument but I had to stick with it. I happened to see Liberace perform on television and decided that was for me! I fell in love with piano and it has been a life long passion. I actually got to meet Liberace when I was around 12 and I even played a song for him on the piano. So obviously he was an early influence, but as I studied classical piano certainly Beethoven captured my heart.  I also love Rachmaninoff and Chopin.” That Louis has also listened deeply to a number of prominent jazz and Latin artists is evident in some of his recordings. But in addition to other musicians and composers, Louis went on to say: “Most of my music has been inspired by real life events – some good and so many difficult events.  When I am hurting or overwhelmed by life I escape to my music and that is where most of my inspiration comes from.”


500x500Real life events certainly played a role in inspiring Louis to write the album’s opening track. The event was actually quite tragic and involved an unthinkable attack on an expectant mother, about which Louis shares: “The song ‘Auroras Light’ was written for the unborn daughter of Michelle Wilkins and proceeds from this song will go to her fund for medical expenses. Her baby girl who died was to be named Aurora and Michelle barely survived.  Now Michelle has forgiven her attacker and said her daughter Aurora is now a spirit of light. Michelle contacted me to write the song for her daughter and I was honored to try and capture her unbelievable spirit and forgiveness.” As can be expected, there is a yin/yang contrast between an air of melancholy mixed with a feeling of hope and grace. Helping Louis to portray this vision are cellist Eugene Friesen who is best known as a member of the Paul Winter Consort, long-time Will Ackerman collaborator Noah Wilding on wordless ambient vocals, and Tom Eaton on bass, who also co-produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered the album, as he does on just about all the projects that come out of Imaginary Road Studios. I will also mention that Tom is an incredible recording artist in his own right, whose most recent album Indesterren, I recently wrote about here on Music and Media Focus.


The inspiration for the next song is drawn from quite a different source as envisioned in its Haystack Rocktitle,“By The Sea.” I would imagine that for Louis who lives in the middle of the country in Denver, Colorado, that being on the rugged shores of the Oregon coast where he spent the 4 days referred to in the album title, and gazing out to sea would have generated the dreamy expansive ambiance captured in the song. In addition to Noah Wilding on vocals and Tom Eaton on organ, Louis is joined by percussionist Jeff Haynes, whose credits include playing with Pat Metheney, Cassandra Wilson, and Harry Belafonte. Other accompanists are bassist Tony Levin, best known for his work with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, and on saxophone is Premik Russell Tubbs who has played with a huge list of top artists such as Santana, Lady Gaga, Sting, Whitney Houston, and many more, including quite a few new age musicians. And speaking of new age musicians, a name that appears as an accompanist on many albums in this genre, as it does here, is ambient horn player Jeff Oster. On a track called “Reflections,” his spacious drifting flugelhorn lines add to the mix along with Tony Levin on bass and Tom Eaton on keyboards. Louis exudes feeling of calm in his simple yet elegant piano arpeggios that brought to mind the music of Satie.


starry_sky_by_caligo_rat-d7rh7p5Starting off in a similar vein is a track called “Starry Night,” that soon takes off in a more groove-oriented direction, propelled by the hand drumming of Jeff Haynes and Tony Levin on bass. Over this rhythmic foundation soar the saxophone of Premik and the soulful violin of superstar Charlie Bisharat who has played with everyone from Yanni to Cheryl Crow, Keith Urban, The Rolling Stones and many more, as well on numerous Imaginary Road Studios productions. This song highlights how Louis is able to go from being out front and playing solo sections to pulling back and letting his accompanists be in the spotlight. Another celestial-themed piece is “Sea of Stars,” that features a number of the previously mentioned musicians, as well as Jim Matus on a custom designed stringed instrument called a Laoutar, which is a combination of a mandocello and a Greek laouto. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. I particularly enjoyed Louis’ playing which in some passages evoked a regal air, and in others a more heavenly ambiance.


While there is diversity within the songs on Four Days In My Life, there is also a thread of continuity that ties them all together. On some of Louis’ much earlier recordings there was perhaps a sense of searching for an identity that involved music from different genres coexisting on the same album. But with this new release, as well as his previous Imaginary Road production, Closer, I feel that he has found that identity in a more Windham Hill-tinged new age acoustic sound.

promo-headshotBut whatever style of music Louis is playing, it comes from deep within his heart and soul, and a feeling that this is his calling in life. In our interview, Louis shared: “I am a musician because I have no choice.  It is in me and I cannot do anything about it. I’ve tried stepping away from music at different periods in my life and I became depressed, so I just have to have music in my life. I think music is why I bother to wake up in the morning and certainly I understand how unbelievably fortunate I am to be able to work full time at my passion. I wish everyone could experience that pure joy! I hope to continue composing music the rest of my life.  I plan to keep performing as long as I am able, and probably for a couple years after that! My deepest dream is that my music will continue to be performed and appreciated after I am gone.” Those four days that Louis spent on the Oregon coast and which inspired this heartfelt music provide a listening experience that is both pensive and uplifting, and which I am sure will be a part of his legacy that will endure.



Click the links below to hear samples and/or purchase this album: