“Homecoming” by Ed Bazel
“Refined, elegant, classy, and polished, the thoroughly enjoyable ‘Homecoming’ is IT for piano lovers everywhere. Welcome home, Ed.” — Dyan Garris
Album Review by Dyan GarrisIt’s interesting how we may realize the true value of something only perhaps years later. In Ed’s case, he says his parents dragged him fully kicking and screaming to piano lessons for 11 years when he was growing up. Much to everyone’s surprise, he became a music business professional. And he was a full-time pianist for 20 years. After running one of the nation’s most respected corporate concert companies, Ed’s album, “Homecoming” marks a return to his beloved piano.
“Homecoming” is 11 tracks of utterly gorgeous, melodic, solo piano by Ed Bazel. Although his style is polished, precise, and distinctive, no two tracks are the same. The whole album is sweet salve to any beleaguered soul.
The album opens with “Morning Cup.” This is a wonderful, gently flowing, straightforward melody, that uplifts and soothes the spirit right away. And it remains with you nicely for a long while, warming the body and soul, like that first cup of your favorite morning beverage.
Following is “Sweet Innocence.” This has the air of the familiar and safe, just like it must feel to be coming home. To clarify, I do not mean to imply that the music is “unsophisticated.” That is not it. It is indeed – as is every song on the album – polished, refined, classy, and sophisticated, with a true elegance and easy grace that you don’t often hear. The piece is comforting. I love it.
Wistful, and reminiscent of the innocence of childhood and perhaps the happiness of a good, stable home, “I Remember” is just beautiful. The melodic structure and musical movement are both perfect and Ed’s playing is flawless. It’s another to completely love.
The title track is like a sweet lullaby to the mind, body, and spirit. This is gorgeous in every way. Excellent, and definitely one for the playlist. Ed has a real gift, not only for playing that piano, but for melodic composition. This is a favorite. And ditto for the calming “Lullaby For Life,” which follows. Easy and sweet, this is instant solace and tranquility to whatever ails you.
This album just keeps getting better and better, actually. This is not “ho hum” solo piano, by any means. “Northern Lights” is stunningly beautiful just exactly like that astronomical phenomena. Superb in ALL respects. Although, I believe you will want to get the entire album, this is a “must have.”
“Sunrise” paints a perfectly paced and played musical soundscape. I feel like we are on the beach watching that magnificent sun come up out of the horizon. And being able to paint that picture so effectively. . . that’s a real gift from a truly talented composer and piano player. Exquisite.
Tender, gentle, and dreamy, “Walk With Me” is the same. And although this piece may perhaps be about a child walking with his parents, rather than a couple walking together hand in hand, it also has a sentimental and romantic feel to it as well. Lovely.
Now, do you remember me saying the album keeps getting even better and better? This is true even as we come close to the end. “The Quiet Dream” is absolutely wonderful. It takes you to another place without even trying. “Light of My Soul” is a shining star here as well. Passionate and perfectly executed, this one will stay with you too, long after it’s over. The album has that quality about it. You do not want it to end. It’s something you’ll want to always come home to.
“Homecoming” closes out with the relaxing, flowing, “Dusk.” Ed’s gift of melodies is remarkable. And I would say that all those years of piano lessons were entirely worth it. Here, Ed lives up to his awards: The 2017 MPS Hall of Fame award: “Instrumentalist,” and the 2018 “Entertainer of the Year” award from the Nashville area Yamaha piano dealership. As well, he was recently recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments in the music industry. Not surprising. The quality and substance of this recording is outstanding.
What a joyful, truly magnificent album. For piano lovers everywhere, this is IT.
Okay, Ed, you are officially HOME.
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