Release Date: July 1, 2020
Label: Richheart MusicWebsite
I like the thought of the seasons theoretically and how it fits each individual's age and current life situation. For instance, the winter of your life would likely be your seventies or eighties dependent on your health.
I would consider Life Seasons as a new age album thematically but musically it is adult contemporary with different elements sprinkled in. Richard’s beautiful piano playing takes center stage and he creates each track like the colorful pictures on the album cover.
“Summer Solstice” is performed by Richard’s trio. The lazy season is given the proper treatment with some cool jazz-inflected laid-back sounds. In the same frame of reference “Bohemian Summer” is a nice jazz number to kick off your shoes and soak in. As the notes are created your mind is set at ease, imagine just floating on a soft billowing cloud.
As we move into the changing seasons “Pre-Autumn” segues into “Sweet Autumn.” The tides of the music change with the season as the paces slow down and speed up in different parts of the composition, intimating the real-life changes you can see when nature does its magic. As autumn ends then we go “Spinning Into Winter” with a nice vocal performance from Wendy Jones, to follow is a solo piano performance from Richard titled “Winter Solstice.” His solo playing is very elegant and appropriate for the distinctiveness of the winter season and all its beauty as it covers the mountains and trees.
“Winter Solstice Dream” continues our seasonal walk through one of mother nature’s most celebrated seasons. It is the most prolific track that includes a spoken word performance from Wendy. The dialogue is significant and reflects much more than the actual season. It goes beyond relating to us as humans and how we translate mother nature’s work. The track runs for 9:52 with a backdrop of Richard’s tinkling ivories leading down the path of realizations as the spoken word continues telling a fascinating story. It is an exceptional track and presented beautifully.
The cycle continues with “Hope for Spring” and the beginning of the thaw with “Early Spring.” Richard’s piano is alive and thriving with exuberance and a consistent rhythm.
Now that I have heard all of the piano instrumentations, I have the belief that the foundation of this music was derived from classical and morphed into a new age, contemporary, and jazz leanings type of listening. All of it made for a perfectly enjoyable listen from beginning to end.
Life Seasons is quite the journey, offering each listener a taste of every season through the eyes and hands of many talented artists through the piano and other assorted instruments. Everything that went into this recording is just as dissimilar as all the seasons. That is the one element that I found the most interesting and relatable. Of course, every listener will find something different and that is what makes it so unique and special to those that choose to listen.
The personal for this diverse musical collection includes:
Richard Shulman - piano, all compositions and arrangements,
Zack Page - bass on all except #8,10, 13.
Rick Dilling - drums on all except #8,10,13
Wendy Jones - soprano #4,7,9,10,13 and flute on #7
Paula Hanke - alto #1,4,9,13.
Sherman Hoover - tenor #4,9,13.
Bob Bencze - bass/baritone #4,9,13.
Ron Clearfield - cello #1,7
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
June 5, 2020
01. Life Seasons - 5:00 - vocal feat. Paula Hanke
02. Summer Solstice - 4:40 - trio
03. Summer Night - 4:02 - trio
04. Bohemian Summer - 4:13 vocal quartet
05. Pre-Autumn - 5:13 - trio
06. Sweet Autumn - 4:33 trio
07. Spinning into Winter - 3:30 vocal feat. Wendy Jones
08. Winter Solstice - 3:39 - solo piano
09. Velvet Shoes - 3:22 - vocal quartet
10. Winter Solstice Dream - 9:52 - spoken word feat. Wendy Jones
11. Hope for Spring - 5:20 - trio
12. Early Spring - 5:36 - trio
13. The Fairy of Mystery Blue - 3:14 vocal quartet
Review Provided By New Age Music Reviews