Ever since the album Solo Piano in 1998 Dan Chadburn has been on my music radar, over the subsequent years the artist has produced some of the most heartfelt piano ever. A new release by Dan is always a pleasurable experience; it’s one of those moments that brings a reassured smile to your face, as you just know it’s going to be good, and on this new offering entitled Always, we have just that, and much more.
The opening piece is always an important matter, and when you grace it with the title header Always, you are on to a solid winner of a composition. I once gave Dan the title of the world’s most sensitive pianist, and on this track the evidence is crystal clear why I did so, this is the most perfect composition with which to start the album with.
However one of my personal favourites from this new album was the explorative and fascinating opus entitled Uncharted Waters, Chadburn quite cleverly takes the front seat and drives this piece from calm waters into a fast paced, up-tempo realms and possibilities.
There is always a time for a classic, and they probably don’t come much more so than O Shenandoah. Here Chadburn pulls off a memorable presentation and adds a whole layer of feeling and emotion into the arrangement to boot.
Turning Point is a sweet song, manifested by the hand of a soul that truly feels his music; this is classic Chadburn, full flowing, emotive and proud, a charming reverie indeed, and one of the most passionate songs off the album. The artist dances with his own composition creating moments of intrigue and segments of an almost cinematic posture.
Time to give a little short form up with the track Yesteryear, this friendly little offering is actually more complex than you would at first think, and it is certainly worth numerous listens to pick up on several Chadburn styled nuances contained within.
Always by Dan Chadburn is a 12 track album, and at the midway point you will find a new age styled opus entitled Minuet, the rhythm here is simply idyllic, one could with ease dance across moonbeams to its tone and timbre; a light hearted reverie of great texture can be found here.
The deep notes and chords of Uncertainty bring a whole new feel into the proceedings, the moodiness of this track creates a somewhat nervous and cautious energy, the minor nature of this song is sublime, but deep within the weave of this wonderfully manifested arrangement is one thing that Chadburn always holds deep within his musical heart, hope.
On Missing You we have a standard created by the artist that only he is able to reach its heights over and again. This is one of the most soulful songs from the release, packed with that full flowing sensitivity I mentioned in the early lines of this review, this piece conjures up images of a piano, an empty room and a lonely heart, utterly beautiful.
We now drift into the welcome arms of this next offering entitled The Wishing Well. Here is a short musical narrative that is almost pristine to the touch, and akin to a musical fragrance floating over a crisp summer meadow in August.
We drift into the darker whirlpools of the release now, and we find a moving creation called Sacred Breath, here lays a tentative arrangement; one that slowly grows with a gentle hand at the tiller of time. Chadburn is masterful here at manifesting a reverential and respectful mood, with what seems consummate ease.
The penultimate offering off the album is probably one of the most important and called Synchronicity, this is something I have been aware of for years, but only in the last 10 or so have I been acknowledging this universal truth, and now my life is bliss, and in some ways this is what the artist has manifested here, listen to its cautious start and its confidence building mid-segment, and onto the bright and positive conclusion, sheer brilliance from Dan Chadburn indeed.
How else to end an album than with a track called Final Curtain, the Chadburn flourish is here, the smooth almost sunset styled conclusion, and a performance that will leave you feeling calm, happy and totally fulfilled with the very last note played.
Always by Dan Chadburn is a truly splendid album, we may have waited a while for the stars to align, but here is an album that is very special indeed. With style and panache Dan Chadburn has brought to the world one of the finest creations of solo piano the planet has seen this year, one full of rich flavours, bathed in delightful aromatic chords and melodies. Always by Dan Chadburn is one of those albums that is an absolute must have at all costs, after all, your ears will love you for an eternity for doing so.