Wayne Bethanis has been on a journey of evolvement for years now, and this most accomplished artist and pianist created one of the wonder albums of last year in Measures of Light. Here on this brand new offering the creative talents of Bethanis spread further and wider with the arrival of a breath-taking new offering entitled Listen, also before we start, let’s give a huge hats off gentlemen to two crafted talents in Jared Kraft and Marcus Sjowall for their luxurious orchestral arrangements.
The opening piece is so gentle and calming, but The Four Corners is a track of a meditative quality, the seat of all we are is nestled in the middle of the four corners of our existence, or the four quadrants of our brain. Bethanis has created a wonderfully fluent and ever onward repeating style here, one that is most attractive indeed; at times I also felt a little Beatles influence flowing through the arrangement to, which is never a bad thing, the inclusion of the Sitar was pure genius as well.
Orville & Wilbur (the Right to Fly) is up next, recently the artist states that he channelled The Wright Brothers, and thus we have a melody that is so inspired by them, an arrangement so moving, happy and empowering. The crescendos are blissful, the tempo absolutely exciting, and the full flowing added instrumentation including percussion, would in my view go on to create one of the most all-encompassing, elevating, and inspiring compositions ever from the pianist.
We arrive at one of the most graceful creations from the album called Tender Years. This is one of those compositions that was most delightful to listen to, as we, each and every one of us, has at some stage felt the wide eyed wonder of innocence and youth. Here Bethanis, through this most colourful and harmonic manifestations, brings something quite magical to the table, one concluded with a blissful choir, a coda has never felt so deeply moving than this one does.
The child like images of That Popular Boy in my English Class was, and is also something that in some way resonates with us, it maybe something we wished had not have occurred, but the eventual outcome can be a glourious one, as Bethanis may not have been the most popular boy at school, but he certainly is one of the world’s finest pianists of his day, and tracks like this one are such proof should it ever be needed.
There is always a track that tugs at the heart strings, and knowing Wayne as I do, I had a feeling it would lay softly in the mid-section of the album. This is a sublime offering, its title is Lonely is the Normal Heart, and its expression is a deep well of love that can simply never be measured, this for me is a Bethanis immortal moment, as he creates a melody that will never be forgotten, and perhaps even channels a certain David Lanz into the composition.
So after wiping tears from my eyes thanks to the last track, we now slide into a whole new realm entirely called, Marry Me. This one surprised me, I never expected a song about marriage, but of course it goes far deeper than just a bonding between couples, this is our relationship with everything we come into contact with. This joyous uplifting baroque styled creation, with its illustrious crescendos, would be one of my personal favourites from the album. For me, this is exactly what makes Wayne Bethanis such a great composer and performer and utterly unique.
When Wayne stated his next single was going to be of a Jazz orientation I must admit I was surprised, but once I had heard the successful single release from the artist entitled The Bexley Bop, I was pleasantly pleased, here we see Bethanis performing with an unbridled and uncomplicated flourish, blowing the blues away, and playing for the day, it’s no wonder it’s a massive success, and it now adds its vibrant energies to the cause of the album too.
Brick by Brick (Song For Jim) is our next doorway of musical magic, and here we have a memorable and moving opus that is so very pleasing to the ear. Dedicated to the genius of Jim Brickman, the pianist gives us a slice of humility and utter honesty with this sublime performance.
Now for something amazingly special Hadrian's Dilemma, one of the greatest leaders of Rome, he also had a love that was equal to his passion of his land. This powerful opus of majestic grace and purpose stands proud and loud as one of Bethanis’s best arrangements thus far, and this marvellous juxtaposition of warrior and lover is incredibly performed by the artist. Here we see both sides of the coin, and Bethanis can in all certainty know that his A game was brought to the field of battle, in this quite remarkable creation.
Francesca's Affair is our penultimate offering, and a song so delicate that it will resonate with the lyrical lovers within us all, it’s interesting this song, before I checked the notes of the piece, I felt early on that there was a decided Mediterranean nuance to the song, and I was right, as the heroine within this composition finds herself travelling to Spain, and on the whim of an adventure inspired by a Tarot card, love, light and drama soon follow, and once more we see Bethanis creating a multi-instrumental moment of great story telling and passion, as the mystery unfolds, like the soft winds across the lapis blue ocean.
The artist interestingly enough finished his last album off with The Gods of the Egyptians, this time around we have a concluding offering entitled Egypt and the Sea People. This land is literally just over the horizon of my coast line, but it is our intention to travel there one day, and perhaps I should take this flourishing opus with me when I do. The man has done it again and produced one of the best finishing compositions you could ever wish to achieve on a musical release; a strong robust and resilient offering can be found here, a magical mythical merge of mastery by the pianist, with such craft and talent can be found here.
Listen by Wayne Bethanis is without doubt the most compelling creation of the artist thus far, here is an album that simply demands to be listened to, its effective formula, and its flourishing, blossoming performances, are simply stunning to behold and extremely significant. I believe that Bethanis may have just created an album of splendour and magnificence, one even greater than his previous collection, and thus he should receive all the plaudits and praise it brings; a masterful release everyone should have is on offer here, don’t hesitate for minute, this is a must have album of great quality.