Thursday, April 23, 2020

Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs By Pam Asberry

Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs
Pam Asberry
Written by
Steve Sheppard

Following up from what was an incredibly prolific 2019 for pianist Pam Asberry, the artist is back with one her most powerful albums so far, with this latest release, Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs.

This beautiful new offering comprises of 11 tracks inspired by the works and travels of Czech composer Zonek Fibich. I would also like to kick off this review by noting the album artwork; it is so nice to see watercolours being used to manifest something so redolent of the subject matter to life.

The music is inspiring to say the least, and the opener Praha Fantasy sets the scene divinely, sublime fluency mixed with a little mystery can be found here. This was one of my personal favourites from the album; and a moment I never wanted to end.

This next track is an interesting song for me, as we have them close in on our coastlines, and the track I am alluding to is of course Swimming with Stingrays. Asberry’s performance here is sublime, she plays with such a sun kissed ability, one could with ease picture the liquid movement of both the swimmer and ray, both in perfect harmony together through this sparkling presentation.

The energy of movement on this next offering is wonderfully depicted and beautifully executed; the composition is the classy and cleverly played The Astronomical Clock. The arrangement reminded me in parts of Doug Hammer at times, but one steeped very deeply in the realm of all things classical, as a listener I would have to admit to now being totally addicted to this piece, and I can see it popping up constantly on my musical playlists.

As we move to track four, we find a lush dimension of one of the most colourful pieces off the release entitled Adagio. One is in constant admiration here of Asberry’s touch on the keys, she has really mastered all the nuances that go to make a splendid performance, this arrangement has that little something extra too, one could easily see this being used in a movie soundtrack, it has an incredibly haunting quality to its construction.

There is a soothing sense of warmth about this next piece entitled Reminiscence. This stylish presentation is played with such charm; it is a memory palace of heartfelt moments of time suspended in love. Asberry magically brings the past to life within this offering.

We now drift across the mirrored pool of this tranquil album, and as we do so we come across a song that is filled with emotion, passion and great movement, it is called Cry from Lamanai. We can certainly sense unknown lands being explored within this tracks refrains; there is a clever addition of a little tribal intensity here too, perhaps the Lamanai in question could be part of what was once the Mayan civilization.

I have a lot of love for this next track, as we speak it is the current single of the artist, and when I first heard this composition I was totally moved. Floating is a song that is as delightful as a spring morning in May, it has a duel combination of minor and major energies that make it a total hit for me personally.

So it is time to take A Walk Across the Charles Bridge. We are now swimming within the deeper realms of the album, but this amiable and craft-fully played opus is as light hearted as the walk across the bridge suggests, this is a true feel good composition.

I was in a Reverie the other day, there is indeed much these days to think deeply about. Asberry takes her time with this arrangement and in doing so, allows it to create its own narrative. The performance is light, but contemplative; this tenderly played song is a true composition of the heart and soul.

We land on the doormat of the last offering of the album and this enchanting piece is called October in Paris, a song to listen to in the coffee shops and bistros perhaps. The flow and pattern of Asberry’s creation here is so captivating, with a nice ascendance of power, but partnered at all times by a lyrical chorus and perfect balance.

We have once more arrived at the last piece off the album; we now have an opportunity to attend the artist’s last recital as she plays White Poppy for our eager musical souls. You will find within this beautiful ambient offering a pristine tenderness that is almost palpable, but a performance on piano that is delightfully tender and an attractive way to end the album indeed.

Mood, Impressions and Souvenirs is another step up the ladder for Pam Asberry, she is growing her ability to be an alluring musical narrator, and it shows in abundance within this glorious album. Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs oozes class and style, and if ever an album from the front cover to the quality performances inside were to win someone over, this would be the one. Here is a release of wonderfully magnetic and persuasive piano and one absolutely recommended by this music writer.

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