Listening to “Memories of Water and Light” by Scott Cossu, released on Heart Dance Records, feels like opening a well-made photo album. It is a collection of snapshots from celebrations and everyday life, beginning with “Wedding Lanterns”. Cossu and his talented friends have delivered a heartwarming and genuine release, ideal for remembrance and reflection – perfectly timed as we now start a new decade. “Memories of Water and Light” is a walk down memory lane that you don’t want to miss.
Scott Cossu is an internationally known composer, pianist, and recording artist. He was one of the first Windham Hill Artists to join with founder Will Ackerman and Alex Degrassi, and his best-known album from this period is perhaps “She Describes Infinity” (1987). “Memories of Water and Light” is Cossu’s 16th recording. On the album, we also hear Holly Reeves on cello and Van Manakas on guitar.
It takes less than 10 seconds on “Wedding Lanterns” to set the tone for the whole album. The atmosphere is hopeful, and we get a feeling that the future holds nothing but good things for this married couple. Cossu wrote the song for his daughter’s wedding. But it is not a sugar-sweet image he paints; Notice how the mood changes during the song. A marriage will always have its ups and downs. “Wedding Lanterns” captures this aspect too, making it into a terrific album opener. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to it here:
The title track is a reflective piece. Windham Hill Records fans will feel right at home. “Memories of Water and Light” is about the elements and how everything changes. It is a comment on how these forces impact our lives, every day. The song has epic qualities.
With “Cerulean Eyes” the romantic vibe is back. It is an album about the importance of family and close relations. It is true what they say; The eyes are the mirror of the soul, and “Cerulean Eyes” is a beautiful portrait of a special person. Manakas has a stunning guitar segment in the end.
“Follow Your Heart” has a nice touch of improvisation. Its free-flowing atmosphere takes the mind on a ride, saying; If you love someone, set them free. To follow your heart is one of the best advice of all.
Here With You
One of the finest songs on “Memories of Water and Light” is “Here With You”. Piano and guitar playing the same note always sound great (Van Manakas has been Cossu’s guitarist for 33 years), but on this piece, the effect is stunning – and Reeves’ cello makes the sound even more dynamic. The listener can sense how everyone in the studio is working to bring out the best in each other. It is just as much a team effort today as it was in the 1980s, with or without the Windham Hill magic.
This part of the album brings us two jewels; “Makena” and “Luminoso”. Both songs are quite fast, showing how brilliant these artists are. Looking at the album’s theme, we can say that the songs are about exciting and busy times in family life.
Nearer the end, “Ascending Angels” has a healthy dose of divine mystique. Whether you believe in angels or not, it is impossible not to be impressed by the angelic beauty portrayed in this piece. “Lucid Watercolors” is one of my favorite songs on the album. Its flows and develops naturally, while offering new and unexpected tableaus along the way.
“Last Snow” is the reflective album closer. You can sense the feeling of change. I think it is a symbol of how pain and suffering always will come to an end. It is just a stage, and Spring is just around the corner. Notice the somewhat abrupt ending; This feeling is not going to last. It is a lovely and poetic ending.
In conclusion: “Memories of Water and Light” by Scott Cossu is from start to finish a magnificent and heartwarming release. It is, as of writing, only January, but I can already say that this album will be on many “best of 2020” lists. I must also mention Van Manakas’ and Holly Reeves’ contributions. Without them, the album wouldn’t have been the same. It is, in short, a triumph, ideal for reflection and remembrance at the dawn of a new decade.
Score: 97/100 – See our scoring policy