Posts Tagged ‘ solopianoradio.com ’

Goofing off during Autumn Suite, Vol 1 Recordings

It’s a wonder that we were able to get anything done. This is a quick behind the scenes of our Autumn Suite recording session. Myself on piano, Troy Conn on guitar and the engineer is Chris Garges. Stay tuned, September 22nd, 2010.

Thanks for watching!

Chad

Summer Suite, Vol 1 Review by Kathy Parsons

If anyone has listened to more solo piano albums than you, I’d place a $20 dollar bill on it being Kathy Parsons of MainlyPiano.com (with the exception of David Nevue, Whisperings Solo Piano Radio.  I’d still give him a $20 if he asked for it.  But knowing him, he’s far too polite to ask).    Her site MainlyPiano.com has become the home of every pianist and she has been a cavalier in spreading the gospel of beautiful music from the 4 corners of the globe.  I couldn’t be more honored when I read her words about the Summer Suite, Vol 1 EP.  Please visit MainlyPiano.com and drop her a friendly “Hello & thank you” for a job exceedingly well done.  I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.

Summer Suite /Volume 1

Chad Lawson

Hillset Records

31.3 minutes

It’s always interesting to discover things in our own and other people’s lives that were  simply meant to be. One such occurrence appears to be the making of Chad Lawson’s new release, Summer Suite, Volume 1. On Chad’s birthday in late March, he had a call from a friend who wanted to test a new local recording studio and asked if he was interested in coming along to play. Chad had been thinking about doing an album with solo piano and percussion, so he called percussionist Jim Brock about doing a trial run to see if they could make it work. The two artists hadn’t played together in this format, so they basically turned on the recorder and “went for it.” They played through an idea for the main theme and then improvised from there. “Summer Suite” is a continuous 25-minute improvisation and the only edit/overdub is where Jim Brock went back and recorded one additional track to color what he had done previously in the Suite. There are nine tracks designated in the Suite (plus a separate piece at the beginning of the album), but there are no stops between the tracks – the implied divisions are simply there to make navigation easier to find specific parts of the piece. Summer Suite is quite different from Chad’s award-winning Set On A Hill in that it is more jazz-oriented and free. Chad is so pleased with the results that he plans to do a series of albums featuring himself with various other artists – a very exciting proposition! What is not different from Set On a Hill is that this is music that is meant to be listened to, not relegated to background music. The music is more than enjoyable, but it is also amazing to realize that it just poured out of two artists with very little preparation.

The album begins with “Heart of a Lion,” a joyous, uptempo piece that mixes dancing piano fingers with infectious rhythms. Chad Lawson is absolutely brilliant on this one! The next nine “tracks” make up “Summer Suite,” and, as I said, there are no breaks between the tracks. The music ranges from quiet and reflective to energetic and complex – sometimes melodic, sometimes repetitive, always interesting and inspiring. Percussion includes hand claps, ocean sounds, and many other instruments that enhance the piano rather than taking center stage.

It is my humble opinion that Chad Lawson’s little musical experiment succeeded incredibly well! He is asking an exceptionally reasonable price for this EP and download, so check it out! It is currently available from Amazon, CD  Baby and iTunes. Recommended!

Kathy Parsons

MainlyPiano.com

6/14/10

Summer Suite, Vol 1


It’s finally here. Summer. The season of lemonade, sunburns, bicycles, kiddie-pools, hot dogs and my favorite; ice cream. Oh how I love the ice cream. Häagen-Dazs has this flavor called Caramel Cone that I literally will run somebody over for. I’m not kidding, seriously. I will not hesitate. If it’s the last one, I’ll pull a Karate-Kid and sweep the leg. Buy it, and then ask for my mailing address. This will PROBABLY be the only time I’d make it public to a complete stranger. So good. So good. Here is the link again Yum.

Where was I? Oh yes, Summer. So, as I have mentioned earlier I have had this idea going through my head of an album consisting only of a piano and percussion. I know, it’s odd. I haven’t heard anything like it before either and I didn’t know if it would actually work. But, I thought I would at least give it some thought. In my close proximity lives a percussionist by the name of Jim Brock. His resume is only trumped by his beautiful spirit and ease of smile. To say he’s an artist of the percussion is a very grave understatement. I knew that if I wanted to execute this album idea, it had to be someone of Jim’s caliber. Someone that would think like Jim in a sense of allowing more space than noise. Of listening instead of speaking incoherently. Someone like Jim who would rather create a beautiful bed of sound rather than wait for those 2 or 3 seconds to through in a “lick” if you will. As you’ve probably already guessed, I stopped looking for someone like Jim, I humbly called and just asked.

We met on my birthday (March 26….I like ice cream, review previous paragraph if you need ideas) with neither of us knowing what to expect. We hadn’t rehearsed, hadn’t even talked about what we would do. I walked in feeling a wee bit of “oh crap-ness” what am I doing wasting everyone’s time, being that I hadn’t even written anything specifically for the occasion. Jim set up his entourage of noise makers while I sat at the piano and we just looked at each other. “Well” we both said without a word “now what?”.

What proceeded to take place is something that I thought could have happened, if two minds were of the same thought. And it did. I like space in my music, Jim likes space. I’d rather listen than talk (ask anyone who knows me and they’ll agree wholeheartedly). I played through a melody or two and then we decided let’s at least get something on tape (digitally speaking) and just go from there. We started with what are now tracks 2-10 on the EP. It starts with Jim creating sounds of the ocean with occasion birds (if you will) coming sparsely into the background. All percussion, all piano, nothing else. I then proceed to play exactly what in my mind was a release. A complete departure from Set on a Hill.

Before the recording, the only verbiage I gave to Jim was “Celebration”. Set on a Hill was recorded in a time of great struggle and hardship. That album sounds that way because it is exactly what I was dealing with then. With Summer Suite, Vol 1, it was time to rejoice, to celebrate new life. Not only in my life but also in knowing that my wife and I were (are) expecting our first child. This was a whole new chapter and I wanted to emulate such exuberance. If you notice, there are moments where you hear Jim clapping throughout the piece. Afterward, Jim told me the claps were that of rejoicing. He totally got it. I couldn’t have asked for a better fit.

So, here it is. Officially released today, June 21st the first day of Summer. I hope you enjoy it. It’s the first of a series that I intend to do, each volume being with a different artist, or perhaps just by myself at the black and whites. I’ll post the links below where it can be found. It’s only $3.99 as a download, or $5 for the actual disc. Stickers and t-shirts coming soon (if interest continues).

As always, thanks for reading. God bless.
chad

cdbaby.com
amazon.com
iTunes

Summer Suite, Vol 1 – Reviews New Age

How humbled I was to open an email containing the first official review of Summer Suite, Vol 1 by ReviewsNewAge.com. This EP was recorded entirely in improvised fashion, using only the piano and percussion. Not other sound effects, edits or ‘punch-ins’ were used in the recording. The only “additive” was the percussionist Jim Brock recording an additional pass to what he had already inked to add more color.

I think you will see that the fine people at Reviews New Age caught exactly what Jim & I were trying to do; explore, create and patiently await what happened around the next corner of every passage.

Summer Suite, Vol 1

Chad Lawson
Hillset Records
2010
31.3 minutes

One of the most pleasant surprises this year 2010 is released the second album by pianist Chad Lawson, Summer Suite, Vol 1. A work consisting of ten pieces improvised and recorded in situ, one extensive piece and nine more shorter, called suites. Summer Suite, Vol 1 is the first CD which will open a series of works inspired by each season and that Chad will be surrounded by great musicians to accompany his fascinating piano. For this first publication, Chad wanted to have the assistance of the excellent percussionist Jim Brock, whose percussion provides an amazing warmth to each piece, as well as inspiring to Chad with the delicate rhythm to improvise each of the ten themes of this album.

The opening theme, over six minutes, is titled “Heart of a Lion.” The Jim’s percussion opens the theme, waiting for the improvised melody that Chad will play at piano. A simply surprisingly melody from the beginning is powerful and energetic shows. Fast and subtle touches of piano join the rhythmic percussion of Jim. It is amazing how both artists understand perfectly, following an incredible conversation. An amazing start, Wow!.

The sound of the sea and some songs of birds introduced to “Summer Suite – I”, a piece calmer than the previous one, in which Jim’s percussion is almost non-existent, almost negligible, as few accompanies with furtive hit hat smooth and quiet piano chords that draws Chad. With a relaxing and hypnotic first part, the piece is accelerated, but not excessively so as not to break the perfect stillness and ambient created. An ideal track for rest or for contemplation of a beautiful sunset to the sea. Sublime!.

In contrast to previous tracks in “Summer Suite – II”, the piano opens the piece. The delicate piano and percussion music give life to an upbeat and warm surrounding to the listener, while Chad’s piano introduces the main melody of the song that opens the album. In this case, variations of “Heart Of A Lion” are intimate. One piece with an amazing sense of liberation!.

In “Summer Suite – III” can be distinguished in its inception the percussion Jim’s and some palms that accompany the piano. One piece at a life-giving a rhythm percussion and that joins a delicate piano. The second part shows a quiet melody, in which only the piano is the star, using a succeeded chords that convey a unique strength.

Again, the birds make a brief appearance in “Summer Suite – IV,” while Chad plays a continuous alternation of notes remains unchanged until the end and Jim makes a roll, almost negligible. In this case, the melody is haunting and hypnotic, and has no major variations. Jim’s percussion rarely appears, allowing this piece make in the listener a soothing and peaceful feeling of comfort.

“Summer Suite – V” shows a strong start and optimistic. With joy Chad and Jim played a happy tune and positive, which slowly is becoming sad with a final upset. A perfect piece for the rest!. I love it.

“Summer Suite – VI” is passionate, the melody that draws the piano in the beginning is formal and convincing, while Jim goes with soft touches of percussion. A perfect piece to enjoy the sight of a beautiful stage. Another of my favourites!.

“Summer Suite – VII” is synonymous with energy and strength. The melody is powerful, fast. A perfect union between percussion and strings that leave you breathless. The tandem of Jim and Chad is spectacular, both created in perfect harmony this interesting piece that bears some resemblance to the touch of George Winston. It is simply amazing!. My favourite without a doubt!. Wow!.

“Summer Suite – VIII” is the calm after the storm. A melody with a more relaxed and romantic. A track that calls for peace, where the percussion plays a minor role, appearing on a few occasions to make subtle roll for piano. A piece appropriate to enjoy pleasant company. Pure delicacy!.

“Summer Suite – IX” is brief but intense. With joy becomes a familiar and catchy melody that we heard before and which serves to conclude this wonderful and exciting work. Amazing end!.

Summer Suite, Vol 1 is just unbelievable. An improvised album that has a great freshness and where Jim’s percussion and piano Chad can understand, providing a perfect connection in each track. Again, Chad takes advantage of the wide range of possibilities that shows him the New Age style, without restrictions or limits, giving life to an incredible job, halfway between the Jazz and New Music. Fascinating and VERY highly recommended!

What’s Around the Corner

So I’ve had this idea for months now.  Piano & Percussion.  That’s it, nothing else.  Technically the piano is a percussive instrument so it makes complete sense.  In my town there is a renowned percussion that I’ve had lingering in my head ever since I downloaded this idea from the Gracious Lord above (thank you Lord).  So, the other day Jim Brock & I had some free time to explore.  We started with a theme and then just let the tape roll (well…digitally speaking).  This is a quick glimpse of what is to come.  I hope you enjoy!  cheers, chad.

New Age Retailer

I am happy to announce that renowned music reviewer, Bill Binkelman, took the time to listen to Set on a Hill and had some very favorable things to say.  With his expertise of listening, I take not a vowel or consonant for granted!  This is in the March issue of New Age Retailer Magazine!

Set on a Hill

One of the latest releases from Imaginary Road studios, Set on a Hill is a solo piano release from newcomer Chad Lawson.  From the opening introspective minimalism of “will” to the non-cliched whimsy of the closing “A Goldfish Named George,” it’s obvious that producer Will Ackerman is not exaggerating when he states “This is some of the best music I’ve heard in years.” Lawson is clearly an artist to keep an eye on, and Set on a Hill marks the emergence of a budding new talent in contemporary solo piano music.  – Bill Binkelman

Album of the Year!?!

The date (then): February 1st, 2010.  Whisperings Solo Piano Radio announced that Set on a Hill was officially their Album of the Year!

The date (now): February 3rd, and it still has yet to sink in!  First, a little history.  I was extremely surprised when I originally sent the album to founder David Nevue last year.  I really didn’t hear too much from him (being that he is a full time concert pianist, father, husband, worship leader, promoter of solo piano music and, most importantly, all around good guy) which was understandable.  He reviews an average of 100 cds a year.  When was the last time you actually LISTENED to 100 cds from start to finish?  Exactly!

I eventually saw a posting on a social network where he not only added songs from ‘Set’, but also nominated it for Album of the Year.  For me, that was more than anything I had ever even anticipated.  If you read about the creating of the album, you’ll understand that it was purely a necessity in the making.  It wasn’t to “make it big” (whatever THAT may be) or to advance my name into a new audience, but because I had wanted to sit down at a piano and play the music that I was longing to exhale.  It was an act of worship and of catharsis.

All of that to say, the February 1st date quickly approached and I had truly placed it out of my mind. Mainly because I didn’t want to even role play the “acceptance speech” that I would present to my wife over the flowers & Twix bar (my fav) that she would eventually reward.  I love my wife.

But there were SO many really, really talented pianist and really, really beautiful albums that were nominated.  I thought one in particular was going to take the crown without question.  (Which is also why I placed it out of my mind by that point.)  It’s just SUCH a beautiful album and I was ever so happy for this person to have the express route to Cloud 9.  Although, hindsight I would of never gotten the King Size Twix bar…..hum.  “Chad, FOCUS!!” (Sorry).

When I got the news from David, I was absolutely dumbfounded!  I cannot even begin to express my feelings.  In my career behind the 88’s, I have had some wonderful highlights.  However, I must say this is by far was the Top.

You’re the top!
You’re the Coliseum.
You’re the top!
You’re the Louver Museum.
You’re a melody from a symphony by Strauss
You’re a Bendel bonnet,
A Shakespeare’s sonnet,
You’re Mickey Mouse.

(Cole Porter – You’re the Top)

So, even though Set on a Hill was awarded Whisperings Album of the Year, I would like to do something different.  I want to honor and recognize those who were also nominated.  Because if you dig deeper, this is what you’ll find out about the Whisperings Community.  It’s exactly that; a community.  It has not the competitive spirit or that of “who can outplay the other”, but of encouragement, of sharing and doing what we love to do; create.  We’re each different, both at the piano and away.  But at the end of the day we simply want to expose solo piano to the listening world.

So, without further ado, here are the nominations for Whisperings Album of the Year 2009; click each name/title to view additional information about each artist.  You never know, you may find yourself a new favorite.

Christine BrownPromise
Keith Martinson
Today
Mario L
opez SantosPeriplos
Chad Lawson
Set on a Hill
Barry WalshThe Crossing
Christopher BoscolePresents of Angels
The O’Neill Brothers
Songs of Faith

And while Whisperings‘ founder David Nevue is not nominated (conflict of interest? No idea. He should be though), please visit his website and on iTunes.  What he is doing for the solo piano community is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

So there you go.  Please, support these artists.  Especially if they are in your local region.  Whisperings has artists from every corner of the globe so there is something, somewhere for everyone.