Mike Garson: Conversations With My Family (2008)
Mike Garson's musical conversations come from deep within. His family, as the closest entity to his heart, deserves to be celebrated in song. So, with his acoustic piano trio and featured guests, he delivers thirteen compositions with brief connecting interludes, to tell his stories in vivid detail and with appropriate moods. There's "The Mystery and the Awe" that comes from family relationships, the "Trials and Revelations" that families manage to survive, "Yearnings" for the best all around, and the "Miracle of Love," which stands as the backbone of it all.
Garson's piano rambles brightly when called for, as in his musical illustration "Blues for the Terrible Twos," and slows down passionately for the lullaby; when the sounds of strings and orchestra meld seamlessly with his cascading style.
Mixing tension with a more relaxed atmosphere in one brief piece, Garson and violinist Christian Howes drive "Play Nicely Together (Interaction)" with enthusiasm, while "Jenny's Waltz" mixes the same kind of dynamic vigor with a graceful flow that does the trio justice.
Lori Bell and Andreas Oberg join the piano trio for "Searching," which lets the ensemble roam comfortably as if on a family outing, the absence of tension (for the most part) making for a restful sojourn. Bell's flute and Oberg's guitar make suitable partners, leading to the wider definition of family: an extended group which succeeds in making art work its magic.
Track Listing: The Child Within; Interlude Part 1; Lullaby for Our Daughters; Interlude, Part 2; The Mystery and the Awe; Blues for the Terrible Twos; Interlude, Part 3; Longings; Interlude, Part 4; Trials and Revelations; Interlude, Part 5; Yearnings; Play Nicely Together (Interaction); Interlude, Part 6; Song for Susan; Interlude, Part 7; Searching; Interlude, Part 8; Miracle of Love (Hello Heather); Interlude, Part 9; Jenny's Waltz; Conversations With My Family.
Personnel: Mike Garson: piano; Bob Magnusson: double bass; Gary Novak: drums; Chris Howes: violin (5, 8, 13); Claudio Roditi: trumpet & flugelhorn (10, 19); Lori Bell: flute (17); Andreas Oberg: guitar (1, 17); others.