11/01/2018

Holiday-Instrumental-Classical Review: Andrew Colyer-Christmas Time-Piano Improvisations

Release Date: November 16, 2018
Label: Inner Nova Music

Well here it is almost Halloween and me, I am listening to a Christmas album! So why am I doing this right now instead of waiting until its closer to Thanksgiving? My answer to that is I knew it was going to be a different type of recording, an improvisational type of piano excursion with dissimilar influences peppered into the final recipe to make it more interesting and tastier.

For Andrew Colyer Christmas Time-Piano Improvisations is a big step away from Circuline, a progressive rock band he is part of. I covered the band’s Counterpoint album in 2016.

So, knowing this I was getting ready for a real treat. What Andrew decided to do was to record live off the floor. Everything is completely spontaneous without arrangements or refinements. That, by all means, is a big risk to take for any recording artists. All I can say is, this man has a lot of confidence in his abilities. Magically, all of this works out very well.

I really enjoy covering improvisational holiday music, particularly on solo piano. The inherent risks and difficulty level are very high. Most folks want to hear all the traditional holiday songs performed without any improvisation because it’s a yearly tradition. That is all fine with me but it is a wonderful thing to hear a piano player take all of his talents and create eleven tracks of holiday cheer with elements of jazz, classical, and new age all mixed in. It's like a musical hot toddy with some extra spice thrown in for some bite and to make sure you remember that last sip.

Andrew really appreciates George Winston, as do I. If you happen to be a musician by trade then you take that interest in George’s music to another level. He does that nicely with his ode to Charlie Brown on “Christmas Time is Here” (part 1 & part 2). He cleverly spreads the two tracks out from #3 to #9. Then of course track 8 is the obvious “Ode to George.”  Another well-done song that I am sure Mr. Winston would appreciate, in fact, I think he would enjoy this entire album.

It is great to see an artist not only step out from a musical comfort zone but to do it all without any plan or design of what to play. A free-form piano improvisation is more than just fine with me and I enjoyed every bit of it. This is solo piano music that can be appreciated any time of year actually. For this listener the timing was good, it is helping me get in the frame of mind that old man winter is right around the corner. I need to prepare myself mentally with a good attitude and be grateful for the four seasons and what they bring us. Thanks for Christmas Time-Piano Improvisations and the shot of positive energy Andrew!

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
October 30, 2018

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Tracks: 
01. Silent Night
02. Jingle Bells
03. Christmas Time is Here (part 1)  
04. Melancholy Holiday
05. Let It Snow in New Orleans  
06. A Night in Brooklyn
07. We 3 Kings...in 5
08. Ode to George
09. Christmas Time is Here (part 2)
10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
11. Hawaiian Healing Meditation [Ho'Oponopono]

 

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