Monday, August 21, 2023

Bhakti Grace By John Paris


Bhakti Grace


John Paris

Written by

Steve Sheppard


The energies of this album by John Paris will put fire in your belly and intrigue your imagination, this is an album that will take you by the hand, and for its duration will never let you go, so let’s take a ride with the artist on this brand new offering entitled Bhakti Grace.

The opening foray reminds me of an alternate composition that could have perhaps been used for the comedy TV show Cheers, it has that gloriously happy energy about its construction that is simply undeniable and entitled Strolling Along and Feeling Free, the title to be honest completely speaks for itself, and the presentation on piano by Paris is euphoric.

Track two actually blew me away, its manifestation reminded me of some of the more progressive jazz I listen to from time to time, and Busy Signal sure is a superb composition that is brilliantly played by the artist. The structures would also not go amiss in the progressive rock world, and at times a little Keith Emerson could also felt in-between the weave of this vibrant song.

I believe that John Paris would be an utter joy to watch, this next offering suggests that to be totally true, it’s called In Another Realm. The gentle progression at the start is almost like a pavane, one that would morph with ease into a mysterious opus that would take us on a journey in an almost European styled transition; this is one of those arrangements that literally have you riveted until the very last note.

Bhakti Grace our most fabulous title track is now before us, I dropped into research mode and found the word Bhakti in short means, a devotional worship directed to one supreme deity, usually Vishnu. I would also go onto enjoy this supremely crafted arrangement, which in my view is a timeless construction of a truly great arrangement, the melody brings a calmness to the composition, but I also found this specific piece to be quite meditative as well.

Time to go on a musical hike as we reach Roaming The Worlds, it’s strange I felt I had heard this before, it seemed familiar to me, but I cannot for the life of me remember what the other track was that it reminded me of, too many years have passed no doubt, but the jazz motifs here created a true global travelling piece of sublime fun and excitement.

The flourishing Come On Along is up next, the infectious presentation by Paris here could remind us of those days of rag blues. This is a song that flies high and with a huge smile, and a performance that is as fluent and exciting as can be, and all of that in just two minutes.

On The Move marks the half way juncture of the album for us, this crisp composition holds an energy that is literally bursting to explode and cause a tidal wave and fun all around as it goes. This leads us into the graceful and textured arrangement of When I Hear The Music.

The aforementioned song carries us along on its waves of beauty and is a tapestry of hues and shades, passion and tempered bliss, this is without doubt one of the most lush and attractive arrangements from the album, and one I enjoyed immensely.

Now here is the perfect way with which to celebrate life On A Rainy Afternoon, vibrancy and smoothness of performance are but two great watch words on this track, this is one of those short form offerings you cannot help but adore.

Time to get a little mellow now with the artist as we are gifted a truly handsome piece entitled Impressions. I remember with a fondness that on my travels I had a stopover at Atlanta Hartsfield Georgia, there in the lounge sits a grand piano, and the memories of a performance on it very much like this one whiled away some very long hours for me. This is an exquisite offering and perhaps even the most romantic piece on the release.

Clogging is another energetic foray that many of us in Europe may know as Irish dancing; regardless this is a piece that would be literally impossible to keep your feet silent to. This is a real powerhouse of an offering and one that opens the door nicely to our next piece entitled Icarus. In Greek mythology, Icarus was the son of the master craftsman Daedalus, the architect of the labyrinth of Crete, and most certainly was a character who flew a little too close to Helios.

I would have to say that the performance by Paris here was stunning, a sound solid foundation is created, a beautiful flourishing presentation, then eclipsed by one of the most sparkling presentations on piano I think I have ever heard, the main melody had that certain David Lanz style melded into the weave with such care and attention. Here lays something truly spectacular, and is without doubt one to press repeat on many times over.

Our penultimate offering is entitled The Rhythm of Joy and never a truer title has been created, a light hearted reverie with ease, the composition has a swinging melody and a level of energy to leave the listener with a beaming smile upon their face.

Our concluding offering is entitled Contemplation on Bhakti, again a sublime mixture of major and minor can be found here, and it has to be said this is an idyllic offering with which to leave the listener with. I found so many favourites upon this album, as there is so much here for everyone, this track for me had a whole well of depth and sincerity contained within, and I actually felt quite emotional listening to this splendid final chapter of the release.

Bhakti Grace by John Paris is going to be an album that may well surprise you; it’s certainly going to be an album that probably has something for every kind of piano based music fan out there. One can feel such energy; we can touch the very essence of joy, whilst there are still amongst the fun, some very tender moments of compassionate brilliance to be had, all in all this is an album you should have in your musical collections, it’s an addictive collection of seriously charming solo piano.

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