"The Ever Present Now" is the sixth release by pianist/composer Nick Farr and contains twelve original pieces that deftly blend the new age, jazz, classical, and contemporary instrumental genres. Farr appears on piano, synth, and percussion backed by live musicians on guitars, percussion, woodwinds, and French horn. Several of the pieces are up-beat and jazzy while others are quieter and more pensive, providing a warm and relaxing mix of music for kicking back, reading, or pure listening enjoyment. Lyman Golden, who co-produced the CD with Farr, shines on various guitars, percussion, and alto recorder. Farr's six-year-old daughter, Marina, makes her musical debut on this recording playing additional piano and percussion. It is also noteworthy that Nora Bach, a descendant of JS Bach, appears on oboe. The music itself is a delight, and my only real criticism of the CD is that some of the piano solos have a rather two-dimensional electronic sound that isn't as noticeable mixed with the other instruments. I'm a real purist in that regard, though, and most people probably will not hear the difference.
The title track opens the CD in a buoyant, carefree mood inspired by Farr's two daughters. Piano, guitars, percussion, and sax paint a sunny soundscape that is more than welcoming. "What Lies Ahead" is a bit more introspective in a wistful kind of way. My favorite track is "Morning Coffee," which is dreamy and relaxed like a lazy Sunday morning. The strong backbeat gives it a slow-dance feeling while the piano and rhythmic guitar give it grace. The sax comes in later, bringing in a stronger energy - a melodic caffeine rush? I really love this piece! "Not If, But When" is a quiet, soulful acoustic guitar solo - a nice contrast to the more ensemble pieces. Another favorite is "Interplay," which is darker and more intense. Piano and guitar carry the strong melody against a strong beat that contrasts with the smooth strings. Later in the piece, oboe and French horn join in, adding more colors to the beautiful mix. "In Search Of" is a piano solo that sounds very true to its title - going here and there trying to find something elusive. "Shadow Green" is the closing track, another piano solo. Gently conversational, it conveys a soothing and peaceful message.
"The Ever Present Now" is my favorite of Nick Farr's CDs that I've heard. If Nick is a new artist for you, check this one out. Those who are already fans won't be disappointed!