Monday, August 21, 2023

Acceptance BY John Paris




John Paris

Written by

Steve Sheppard


There are certain tones and vibrations, which once all placed in a marvellous collective harmonious musical package, will give each and every listener a sense of warmth, ambience and tranquillity. I found this myself to be totally true whilst listening to the latest release by John Paris called Acceptance.

The opening composition is a slow, but careful creation entitled When Day is Done, that weary motif is there, but beautifully combined with a mood and energy of a good day done.

Created during the pandemic Paris has indeed manifested something quite touching at times here. I found great solace from creating my own music for the first time back then, and this album is expressing a wonderfully calming vibe, tracks like Ride the Wave bring a poignant reminder to the emotions we all went through at that time, as most of us indeed rode each wave with a trepidation and caution as never seen before in our lives, the dramatic tones here are so very powerful and moving, a truly empowering performance by Paris can be found here.

We now drift from the back waters, and flow into the main stream of musical consciousness. The River Is Wide is indeed out next textured manifestation of tranquillity, it’s interesting that this song in one guise or another, seems to have followed me around the world, one of my favourite versions was by James Taylor in ‘91, here Paris gives it a gloriously coloured make over, and in doing so ,brings the listener a glistening and talented performance on piano.

Full Moon Rhapsody takes on a night time magical journey, the performance here is sublime and is one that has great flow and artistic intelligence. This is exactly the style of piano I adore to listen too, in that creative yet ambient construct. With each and every stroke of the keys Paris illustrates perfectly the subject matter. There is also an intensity here that is deliciously palpable, and balances the entire composition brilliantly and at well over 7 minutes in duration the longest track off the album.

We edge further through this collection of splendid piano workings, and as we do so we come across our next offering entitled Dancing on the Moon. This is classic traditional new age piano, but added to that seems to float a melody that creates and dissipates along the way, indeed as if one was waltzing on the surface of the silvery moon itself.

It’s not until you get a chance to reflect upon life, especially the pandemic years, that you realise how many friends have been lost along the way, so perhaps Johns composition of In Memoriam gives us a chance to reflect on those who are no longer with us now, and perhaps to do so in a positive way by remembering something good about your time with them, this is exactly how this track makes me feel. A wonderfully retrospective arrangement filled full of memories and grateful thoughts.

Eternal Darshan takes us into the latter half of the album, and for me once more it is special; it is a sublime construction of both major and minor notes and chords. Darshan is derived from the Sanskrit, meaning "sight," "vision" or "appearance." In Hinduism, darshan is the act of beholding a deity, divine person, sacred object or natural spectacle, especially in a physical image form. This gentle musical creation is a timeless narrative, one that also reminds me of another musical friend of mine who recently passed in Michael Allison, who once called himself Darshan Ambient, thank you for the memories.

We have another special moment now with the track Swan Flight, there is nothing quite so breathtakingly amazing as watching one of these cumbersome creatures take flight, the run up and take off is simply incredible. Here Paris manifests a delicate piece that raises the energies of the moment into the blue yonder and beyond. Again this waltz like manifestation is brimming full of images and artistic nuance’s beyond belief, a truly crafted composition indeed.

Living in the Greek culture on the island of Cyprus, this once again has a special meaning for me, as we listen to Lullaby for Argos. The character was a giant in Greek mythology, one with many eyes, whilst the Greek city of Argos, his realm, is to this day one of the oldest inhabited cities on the globe. Here the artist creates a dream like piece that could allow each of us to simply drift off into another realm to entirely, perhaps to rest under the stars of the night sky in Argos itself.

Through The Veil means we have travelled into the far reaches of the album, and once we arrive we can enjoy a moment of mystery. A delightful pastiche of suspense and enigmatic genius lays here, the mixed tempo, and the slow, careful progression into a more confident creation is simply blissful to behold; this is musical story telling on the piano of the highest order.

At the end of the last century many Japanese Lanterns were released to celebrate the turning of this amazing event. It is indeed a stunning vista; once more Paris takes to his keys to manifest a truly empowering musical narrative that is full of two vital elements, gratitude and joy, one that leads us perfectly into the arms of the penultimate track off the album.

That last but one piece is called Goodbye Old Friend, here lays a solemn offering, one that reminds us of those most precious moments with friends and loved ones, and more over allows us to recognise the feeling of a pleasant gratitude that flows over us, in a truly emotive and heart felt manifestation by the artist.

Our last musical gift is the title track from the album, and of course entitled Acceptance, this is indeed a most cheerful way with which to leave the release, there is an upbeat and a cultured positivity about this final contribution that is so pleasant to hear, and the perfecting concluding offering to the release.

Acceptance by John Paris has to be the most thoughtful piano based album I have had the pleasure of listening to for ages, in a true roller coaster of emotions, we taste the tones of mystery, ride upon the waves of trepidation, and find ourselves buoyed by the sights of nature in all its beauty, surely there never has been a more comprehensive and colourful album, and as such I can see its destiny lays within the upper echelons of the charts with utter ease. 

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