Piano-Heaven Award Winner:

Composer / Pianist

Michael Allen Harrison

MAH Records

 2002

www.mahrecords.com

 

 

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It may not be cheap, but it's worth every pound or dollar- depending on your home country! This is a two-disc collection showcasing the very best of Michael Allen Harrison's talent. He has been a prolific composer over the last 20 years or so, and his compositions are of the highest quality.

Michael Allen Harrison (not to be confused with Michael Harrison who is also, rather bizarrely, a well-known pianist) has considerable technique. He can certainly play the piano! But it is one thing being a technically accomplished pianist; it is quite another thing entirely to have the gift of being able to create consistently beautiful and heartfelt music in a range of styles, but mainly coming under the "New Age" or "Contemporary Pianist" umbrella.

Rarely are Michael's compositions tranquil; rather, they sway towards being uplifting and inspiring. Some of the piano playing on the two CDs is nothing short of incredible. Michael definitely has a special gift!

There are many highlights on the two CDs. I prefer the first CD as the second contains more Jazz pieces, and, whilst I admire their quality, I am not a fan of the genre. The CD opens with "Will You Take Me There?"- an energetic number which displays Michael's talents to great effect. It is a new piece, and Michael explains how it is his favourite composition to play. Not a surprise really, because if you are talented enough to play such a complex number, it must be great fun as well as hard work!

Other favourites on this CD include "Remembrance"- which starts off very mournfully and is a tribute to the 50th. anniversary of Israel's Independence (Michael is Jewish) and to remember all the lives lost during the Holocaust, "Journey Home" and "Best of Every Moment". This particular track is an absolute joy to listen to and contains some amazing piano playing from the Steinway Signature Artist. It is dedicated to his friend Lisa Branch, who battled kidney disease with great dignity. It is a fittingly upbeat tune, as Lisa made the best of every moment. Michael goes on to explain that he plays this piece in almost every show as a way of connecting with his good friend. Her last words to him were, "I'll see you soon, my friend!" Another favourite is "February's Child"- a lovely piece which has enjoyed considerable success over the years and is probably Michael's most widely recognised composition.

On the second CD, "Passion and Grace" is the stand-out track for me. Touchingly, this is dedicated to one of Michael's great teachers, Adrienne Reisner. He explains how everything she did in music was with such passion and grace. This disc has a jazzier feel to it.

 

This is an excellent CD and I highly recommend it. There is something on this CD for everyone; you're sure to be impressed.

S.C.

Please note: The collection has recently been re-released in a condensed single-disc format at a much-reduced price. Visit the artist's site for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Composer / Pianist

Michael Allen Harrison

 

 

 

 

Michael Allen Harrison

 

 

 

Listen to Best of Every Moment

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