2009 / Global Coolant
"Many Moons" is an amazingly varied retrospective of sorts of David Lopato’s compositions of the past three decades. The album is so eclectic that it also provides an overview of many of the facets of solo jazz piano. From stride to blues, bebop, bluegrass, avant-garde improvisation, prepared piano, and ballads, the common thread that connects the music is a love of textural and harmonic richness and a very personal approach to the creation of improvised music. An accomplished musician who has also composed for television, film, commercials, dance and theater companies, Lopato is on the faculty of several university music departments, has been awarded several grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, and has even written a book on marriage, adoption, and raising a special needs child. One gets the feeling that David Lopato is a man who has always embraced life in a very big way and who is always exploring in depth something that happened to grab his attention.
"Many Moons" begins with “Swing Trades,” a lively and upbeat piece that sets the tone for the album. Although the mood is carefree and fun, one is immediately captivated by the enormous chops of this incredible pianist. “Inside You” cools it down considerably with a leisurely and expressive ballad about emotions. This piece evokes images of a pianist sitting at his piano late at night with only a candle for illumination, playing the truths of his soul. “Fly Brook” is short and full of fun - bluegrass piano? “Unrequited Love” is contemporary blues piano with an attitude - love it! “Reflexology” is a nod to bebop. Fluid and edgy, the infectious rhythm clearly expresses a love for spontaneous creation at the piano. “Brooklyn” is an introspective exploration of feelings and memories of childhood. Slow, evocative, and deeply personal, this is a favorite. As its title implies, “The Big Bad Wolf Ain’t So Bad After All” is a whimsical and fast-paced piece full of good humor and fun. “Wishing Willie Well” is an incredibly personal example of the healing power of music. The feelings of loss and crushing disappointment are palpable as Lopato works through those emotions at his piano - another favorite. “Piano Roll 1” pays homage to two of Lopato’s influences - the player piano music of Conlon Nancarrow and John Cage’s prepared piano pieces. Performed on a prepared piano, this piece conveys a sense of chaos and utter abandon. I love the closing track, “Peace March,” which is also the closing section of larger work, "Suite 9/11." Lopato made this work “a musical attempt to reframe that horrific event as an opportunity to take a universal stand for peace.” Passionate and more melodic than most of the other tracks, it is an extraordinary closing to an extraordinary album.
"Many Moons" is available from www.davidlopato.com, Amazon, CD Baby, and iTunes. Check it out!
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