The Canyons and Mesas
I have long been an admirer of the works and compositions of Jill Haley, her style and graphic
portraits of the national parks have had me spell bound for years now, and thankfully
I have a new album to drift into entitled
The Canyons and Mesas of Bandelier, another glorious musical step into the
wilderness of beauty with the artist.
The first footfalls of this tentative yet striking musical
journey start with the reflective and emotive composition of Plaintive Cavate Melody. This mood
filled opus brings you to the very doorstep of the region; it’s heartfelt and
is the perfect starting arrangement for our sojourn in nature.
The subtle bird sounds greet our journey into this next piece
called Frijoles Canyon Awakens. Its
dawn and the birds dance with the mood creating piano of the artist. Each and
every track of this album is a soundscape to a moment in time, and this early
morning reverie is a wonderfully bright and radiant offering.
Ecotone is a traditional stamping ground for
the genius that is Jill Haley; she
is joined by the talented Graham Cullen
on Cello and this symbiotic partnership manifests a track that builds upon each
passing measure, each passing note, and creates a lush and wonderfully textured
The piano of Haley builds an empowering scene on this next
track entitled Fantastical Formations.
One can visualise through the performance a rugged landscape, many
multi-faceted outcrops and sights that allow the artistic mind to create its art. The construct of this track is
sublime with its woodwind and piano partnerships.
The guitar of David
Cullen is heard on the offering Vista
at Valles Caldera and matched with the piano we have a creation here that
is both addictive and compelling. There is also a sense of suspense built in
here that is idyllic as well; the woodwinds of Haley make this, such a
pictorial delight to bathe within.
As we arrive at the midway point of the album we come across
a track entitled Alcove House Ascent.
Haley’s proficiency with a multitude of instrumentation creates a slow but ever
onward track that offers up much for the listener to walk with, the sublime
care and attention to detail here, along with the gentle build and progression
of this arrangement was something to really enjoy.
The aerial energies of this composition were strong and very
enjoyable indeed, as we glide with the offering Kaleidoscope Flight. Jill’s skills as a multi-instrumentalist,
whether it is oboe, English horn or piano are simply idyllic, and here on this
track they truly raise the energy of the moment for us all to enjoy.
There is a different energy in this next piece entitled Tsankawi Footpaths, the intensity of
the moment and the vibrancy of onward movement can be found here, and depict a
wonderfully fluent piece of instrumental delight; we could easily be traversing
those footpaths on a glorious sun kissed afternoon, in a piece that is utterly
packed with energy and life.
Once more we switch moods and enter into the dark realms of a
night time sojourn with the track entitled Parajito
Moonglow. The depth of composition here is so palpable, that one could
reach out and simply touch the moment through the skill set of Haley’s talents.
The mood is once more idyllically created by the artist’s ever safe hands on our
Cullen returns on guitar for the next track called Gratitude for the CCC. The steady and
progressive tones manifest a vast soundscape for us to all enjoy, the creation
of an album of this style is like a veritable scrapbook of musical memories to
look back upon, and although I have never been there, The Canyons and Mesas of Bandelier have been brought to life
vicariously by the artist to allow me to do so in music.
Our penultimate offering is called The Delight Makers, this is a fascinating track for me as so many
genres were crossed here in my view, there is a little pertinent percussion
curtesy of Tony Deangelis, and this
adds a crafted energy of rhythm to the proceedings, and sets us up beautifully
for the parting gift of the album.
That last creation is now upon us and called Burnt Mesa, Haley builds upon a
powerful piano here, for us to enjoy this one final concluding piece, and thus
finishes with a flourish, and as we had the perfect starting track with Plaintive Cavate Melody, we are gifted
the idyllic ending with Burnt Mesa.
The Canyons and Mesas
of Bandelier by Jill Haley, is another simply perfect
soundscape of graphic creations by the artist. Here is an artist, who has a
rare gift and it is an honour for her to share this talent and skill set with
us, the ever eager listener. The multi-instrumental nature of this album and theme
makes this an absolute fine example of what truly great contemporary
instrumental music should sound like.