Monica Logani’s “The Long Road” is a captivating and thought-provoking release. Inspired by her friend Juliette Calayag Pralle – “whose journey was short, but her love was strong, and her life was full,” as Logani puts it – the album takes us on an inspiring walk down memory lane. It is filled with a deep sense of gratitude, but also loss. This duality makes “The Long Road” into a remarkable release, and an excellent addition to Logani’s discography.
Monica Logani was born in West Africa to North Indian parents, grew up in the Midwest and currently splits her time between New York and Valencia, Spain. Her first album, “Secret Garden”, hit the top 20 in the Zone charts in 2016. “The Long Road” was recorded at Lakehouse Recording Studio (Asbury Park, NJ), and produced by Gregg Zubowicz with Tim Pannella as recording engineer. The mastering was done by Corin Nelsen.
The first piece is called “Birds”. Logani uses less than 10 seconds to establish the album’s overall atmosphere. I love the way she uses silence and how it is a vital part of the music. It makes the listener pay attention. There’s so much life to the melody, yet we can sense changes – as if winter is coming. The somewhat abrupt ending seems to confirm this impression. “Birds” is a poetic and fantastic album opener.
Sample “Birds” here:
“Daybreak” is a little over one minute long, yet it captures perfectly the magic of the day’s first light. It also serves as an introduction to the next song, illuminating the beautiful “Juliette”. The listener can sense the love in each note, as the portrait of Juliette is being painted. The strings give the song a nice neoclassical touch. Here is both gratitude and sadness. “Juliette” is short but complete in every way.
Sample “Juliette” here:
Two delicate pieces follow; “Poette” and “Temporarily”. The last title also serves as a definition for the whole album. Changes are a part of life – nothing is permanent – and we cannot stop time. Notice how “Temporarily” deals with this undeniable truth. Logani truly is a gifted pianist and composer.
“Mantra” is a fascinating song! What does the guitar in the intro mean? Is it a symbol of a positive mantra, while the piano segment that follows is life itself? It is hard to say. But I think it is a nice effect, and it makes the listener reflect on what a mantra is.
The title track is a rare jewel. It is one of those songs that speaks to the listener instantly, thanks to its melody, energy, and touch of improvisation. Fans of George Winston, Liz Story, and David Lanz will feel right at home. The song shows why Monica Logani is one of the most promising pianists of our time. One word; Bravo!
Sample “The Long Road” here:
The next part of the album is about storytelling, open spaces, and dreaming. Close your eyes, and Monica Logani will take you on an inspiring journey of the mind. “Storyteller” is a positive piece with some interesting twists and turns, tricks that any good storyteller needs. “Space” and “Dreamer”, with its fantastic synth strings, proves that even short songs can be charged with emotions. My favorite song on “The Long Road” is the sunny “Valencia”. It is a bright and warm piece with Spanish guitar. Like a good memory, I wish the song itself could go on forever – but it is only little over two minutes long.
The ending has four parts, starting with “Devotion”. It is a sharp contrast to “Valencia”, filled with dark undertones and a sudden sense of danger. “Savior” is hopeful, but there’s also a hint of resignation. The beautiful and sad “Summer’s End” seems to underline that changes are a part of life, before the open-ended “The Last Embrace” fades into silence.
In conclusion: I believe Monica Logani’s “The Long Road” is an essential album in 2020. It is not just a tribute to a dead friend, but a statement that a short life can be full and rich. I love how sadness and gratitude are entwined in these songs. Give it a go, and you’ll experience it too. “The Long Road” is a very promising second album from Monica Logani.
For more information and music samples, visit monicalogani.com