Turning is Suzanne Ciani's first studio album of all new material since 1995, and it is wonderful! Long one of my favorite composers to teach as well as listen to, it has been fascinating to see and hear how Suzanne's music has evolved and changed with her own life changes. Now settled into a home on a cliff over the ocean enjoying married bliss, this new collection offers a decidedly serene mellowness that comes from deep within. Turning also offers Suzanne's first recorded song with words - a new phase that she plans to pursue. She teamed up with Taiwanese pop-star Chyi-Yu and composed "Turning" to fit her ethereal singing style. This song has already reached the top of the English-speaking charts in Taiwan, and is being touted as Suzanne's most radio-friendly piece since "Velocity of Love". Chyi-Yu also composed "Bird and Fish", which Suzanne arranged for her band, The Wave - as beautiful and stirring as Chyi-Yu's vocals. Paul McCandless' reed instruments and Matt Eakle's flute add their own magic to many of the tracks, and I was delighted to see cellist Joe Hebert's inclusion on four pieces as well. Bassist Michael Manring and guitarist Teja Bell round out the Wave, and join Suzanne on many of the twelve pieces. "The Enchantress" is the only piano solo piece, but Suzanne's elegant pianism rings clearly through the ensemble work. Synth washes as well as sound samples of the ocean are added to great effect. Along with the title track, I really love "Waltz for Julia", which is a little darker than the other pieces - just a little - but it still soars on the wings of the flute and oboe! "Yang Ming Shen", named for a national park in Taiwan that Suzanne visited in her Asian travels inspires with its musical depiction of the majesty of misty green mountains."Midnight Rendezvous" offers a bittersweet closing, with McCandless making the sax weep in tune with the gentle sadness of the piano. Suzanne's fans will not be disappointed with this very personal and satisfying collection of work. It was well-worth the wait !
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Kathy Parsons (kathypiano)
I have been a private piano teacher since 1981. I have been writing reviews for a long time, and have my own review and interview site, MainlyPiano.com. I teach piano in person and online, so now I can … more
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Inspired by her travels to Asia, Suzanne Ciani returns with her 11th release and a collection of lilting, sentimental originals. The title track, "Turning," is a catchy, ethereal piece somewhere between aMadonnaballad and anEnyasong as sung by Chyi-Yu. The rest of the album uses mostly acoustic tools to create a fine fabric of lyrical music that's akin toSecret GardenandJim Brickman. At times Ciani recalls the soul of thePaul Winter Consortwith oboe, flute, and fretless bass daintily jamming in swirling trade winds of improvisation. Another enchantingly tender offering from this New Age master.--Karen Karleski