Something magical happens when an artist manages to connect music with colors. It adds an extra dimension to any piece of music. One album that has this remarkable quality is John Otott’s Colors. It is like a fireworks of exquisite piano melodies, and it is impossible to feel down while listening to this fine release.
John Otott is a multi-instrumentalist and composer, and he has performed with artists as Lyle Mays (of Pat Metheny fame), Latin star Tania Maria, Grammy award winning sax player Gato Barbieri and Thelonious Monk Jr. Colors is the follow-up to the 2011 album Flying Machines, which was nominated for Solo Piano Album of the Year by Solopiano.com, and it broke into the NAR Top 100 chart (#65) and two tracks off the CD made it into the iTunes Canada TOP 25 for New Age music.
A very talented pianist
There’s no shortage of great pianists in the New Age music genre. Yet when listening to John Otott’s music I’m amazed by his dynamical playing and how his melodies all have a natural flow. Each song is like a delicate artwork. Fans of Peter Kater and George Winston will feel right at home.
The opening song is called Tesoro. It starts with a deep bass drum, which makes the listener pay attention. The playful melody is amazing, and a great example of John Otott’s style. The 3 minutes and 24 seconds are gone in an instant. Next song out, The Wind Song, is far more intricate. It consists of three parts; the first is quite thoughtful and mellow, with piano and real violin. Part two is entirely different. It has a positive and carefree atmosphere with a synth pad far in the background. Part three is a return to the style of part one, and has a darker sound. These changes make the song into a very interesting listen. Otott is an amazing song writer.
Live a Novel
I very much like the careful mix of piano and synth. It is easy to overuse synth effects, but here it is done to perfection – which the short Illusion is an example of. Notice how synth in the background follows the piano, but the piano is always on center stage.
The title track is one of those songs that seem to be filled with stories. It is like a novel that has the form of a melody. The song has a great build-up, and Otott is playing like a piano virtuoso. If I were to choose two colors based on the song, it would be a deep, yet intense red and some striking yellow. It is, needless to say, a very colorful song. Some words about the cover artwork; It is called Grand Piano and was painted by an artist named Mark Kazav.
There are some other great tracks here as well. I love the adventurous The Journey, the happy August and Life and the inspirational An Evening Thought. The last track, the synth based Soaring, has a quite different style. Usually I would be negative to a last track that is so radically different – but Soaring has such a winning attitude, and it is never wrong to end on a high note.
Colors by John Otott is in every way a wonderful release. If you are looking for a feel-good piano album, look no further. This is an album that will brighten your day. Deep down I think that we all from time to time want to add some more colors to our lives.
Score: 93/100 – See how I rate music here