If you want your dreams to come true, you need to do something about them. Listening to Ed Bazel’s The London Sessions: Reflections from Studio 2, recorded at Abbey Road Studios, the listener can sense that each note is a dream coming true. Each of the 12 pieces seems to communicate a deep sense of gratitude. This very special studio takes Bazel’s compositions to new heights and makes the two The Beatles covers Yesterday and In My Life even more special and radiant.
Ed Bazel is an award-winning solo pianist. Studying under such greats as Jay Flippin, Lou Levy, Joe Harnell, and Clare Fischer, he has been a noted solo pianist in Los Angeles including The Beverly Hills Country Club and The Ritz-Carlton, as well as a veteran producer of corporate events for Fortune 500 companies. Besides being a pianist, he is the founder of The River of Calm radio network. He has released the following albums Bella Piano (2013), Homecoming (2021) and today’s topic: The London Sessions: Reflections from Studio 2.
The opening track is called Morning Glory – and what a fitting title it is! Its warm and welcoming sound greets the listener like the day’s first rays of sunshine. The uncomplicated, “everything is going my way” mood makes it into a winner in any piano playlist. Morning Glory is everything it has to be and nothing more. One word: Bravo!
Mountain Serenity is a more reflective piece with cello and violin. There is a wonderful hint of melancholy here that is simply irresistible, as a terrific tableau of the mountain and valley below manifests itself before our inner eye. Bazel is just as much of a storyteller as a pianist. His rendition of In My Life, recorded where The Beatles recorded it, is a mature and dreamy version of the original. The piano and orchestral arrangement sound so lovely that I almost don’t miss the vocals nor the harpsichord and that is hard to admit for a Beatles fan! I’m sure Bazel had to pinch his arm after recording it, to see that it was not a dream.
One of the finest tracks on the album is Old Friends. Looking at the title alone, one would think that this would be a jubilant piece, but it is not. I absolutely love the somewhat somber opening and hesitant nature, because that is the nature of suddenly meeting an old friend. It takes time to find the rhythm and catch up – which Old Friends communicates splendidly! I’m happy to report that it ends on a high note; Old friends remain friends forever.
Bazel describes his creative process as constantly hearing melodies in his head and recording them on-the-spot using his iPhone. For this recording, 223 ideas were reduced to 10 melodies. Nature is obviously an enormous source of inspiration; The next part of the album is about being outside and experiencing it all to the fullest. After the Rain is a romantic and delicate piece, while Mountain Joy’s playful nature inspires us to walk all the way to the top. Soring and Daydream are heartwarming, melodic jewels. Both quickly found their way to my private all-time favorite piano playlist.
The elegant Evening Stroll is almost as far from Mountain Joy as you can come. The slow, reflective melody is about experiencing nature at your own pace and letting go of everything else. We should all try that sometime.
Nearer the end, the personal and loving Passages and I Think of You both do a terrific job in setting the stage for the album’s incredible and very gratifying conclusion; Bazel’s version of The Beatles’ Yesterday. Passages is, according to the composer, about saying goodbye to an old friend for the very last time. It is a deeply moving piece. I Think of You is lighter and less tearful, but still very touching. I will not give any spoilers about Yesterday, other than it is marvelous. Check it out for yourself!
In conclusion: “We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it,” John Lennon said. It is the same with an artistic gift; you must “get that precious plant out of the cupboard and into the sun”. Playing at Abbey Road Studios must have been fantastic for Ed Bazel; and you can hear it! Listening to The London Sessions: Reflections from Studio 2, each note is charged with a certain energy that only comes from a combination of deep inspiration, gratitude, and an almost overwhelming feeling of joy.
The album’s back story aside, the 10 original pieces are brilliant compositions. Notice how quickly each piece becomes personal, as if talking to an old friend – to quote one title. At first, their structure might seem simplistic, but that lasts only for a moment. Below that first impression is a world of emotions and expressions. It is typical for solo piano, but especially true here. I could easily see Ed Bazel in the elite division of solo pianists. His compositions are on par with the best of the best. Wholeheartedly recommending The London Sessions: Reflections from Studio 2 to everyone looking for a premium piano album is very easy. It is an album I’m proud to have in my playlists.
There is an underlying message here: if you want to do it, just do it – and each time we listen to The London Sessions: Reflections, we hear Ed Bazel’s dream of playing at Studio 2 becoming a reality. That is what I call inspiring music!
For more information and music samples, visit edbazel.com.
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