Lafayette Gilchrist keeps the listener engrossed all the way through "Dark Matter", reminding one of the power of one piano, of melodies built to be sung as well as to let soak into your soul. Hard to put down, played with a sense of joy and desire, this music will take you out of the ordinary and into a space that is quite open and hopeful.
For more information, go to www.lafayettegilchristmusic.com.
Here's the fine opening track:
There is an immediacy in a live performance – even if the musician is in deep concentration, he or she is usually aware of those who are looking, coughing, applauding, and asleep. Even if the musician never looks, there should be the awareness that someone else is in the room. But, when it's a solo or a duo performance in a large auditorium, there can be the feeling of intimacy.
The recording studio is a different animal. The musician or musicians are there for the sound, can dive deeper inside one's self with the knowledge that there usually is a second, third, or fourth take (more, if need be). The feedback is often subtler and there can an intimacy and, hopefully, a trust that allows the musician(s) today as deeply as they choose. Unlike the applause at a live concert, the feedback comes later in the form of reviews, online critiques, letters, and more.
|Photo: Jordan Kleinman
Violeta Parra (1917-1967). The bounce in the rhythm guitar, the wordless vocal (complete with "clicking" sounds), and the wide-ranging piano melody is so attractive, so rhythmical. "Feuilles-O" is a traditional Haitian melody that the pianist sings in its original patois. The piece has a lovely, classical, feel plus a melody line that is so evocative and emotional.
|Photo: Jordan Kleinman
Of the three "added" tracks, Loueke's "Ghana Boy" not only feels like an African dance piece but also suggests the Caribbean in its percussion. Not certain who composed the final track "Sweet Caroline" but Hays handles the vocal (the lyrics do not sound like the Neil Diamond song of the same name) so it's a good bet that the pianist is the writer). There's quite a pleasant blues feel to the track and, of course, the musicianship is top-notch.
"Hope" is an appropriate title for this excellent album from Kevin Hays & Lionel Loueke. The two musicians travel the world performing music with various ensembles, speaking to many musicians and audience members. And, to get by in an increasingly insane world, one needs hope more than ever. Peace often looks unattainable but there is always the hope that we will pay attention to our "better intentions", sitting down to talk, to eat, and perhaps, make music. At least, we should take the time to listen to those voices crying for attention. Also, take the time to listen to this music – you cannot help but smile, tap your feet, and enjoy the journey.
For more information, go to kevinhays-lionelloueke.bandcamp.com.
Here's the delightful opening track: