In 2013, I fell
in love with the
title track of Doug Hammer's
'Heart' album. Now, two years on, he has released
his ninth CD to date, and it is a beauty!
an album for relaxation and to chill to. The music contained
within is not overly complex; it is pure,
rejuvenating and thoughtful. When I listen to it, I
am reminded of the crystal-clear waters surrounding
the Scottish island of Iona. Perhaps that's the
influence of the back cover! As the title would
suggest, the music is poetic in form- often short
and with no clutter- no note is wasted here.
'Possibility', the album is remarkably consistent in
maintaining such a high standard throughout. The
piece is short (like many of the tracks on the
album) and very melodic, getting the CD off to the
'Flight' has a
very gentle opening, gradually building in momentum
as the piece takes hold. As I listen, I visualise a
solitary bird at the start of the piece gracefully
taking to flight, and is later joined by others as
the flock soars majestically through the brilliant
me of the style of the renowned Bernward Koch
on his 'Montagnola'
album. This is not stormy wind; rather, it is
refreshing and welcoming, as the flurry of notes
emanating from Doug's piano swirl like the summer
track, 'Glorious', every bit lives up to its name.
It features a gorgeous melody. I find myself
listening to this track over and over again. It is
extremely relaxing- music to set the mind wandering!
'Dancing' is a
playful number, and will give any pianists listening
itchy fingers. Catchy, appealing, happy and fun, all
rolled into one. It is another terrific track in an
album packed full of highlights.
sixth track is entitled 'Hope', and is more
reflective. A gentle tempo is maintained throughout,
and it is another wonderful composition. This would
make the perfect background music to a film, and at
times is rousing and uplifting.
No prizes for
guessing the style of 'Sway'! It's a great little
number, and is sure to have the listener tapping
their toes, fingers and anything else to hand. If
the listener has half as much fun with this track as
Doug undoubtedly had playing it, then the piece has
done its job. Another highly appealing, catchy
composition. Let yourself go listening to this
favourite is the title track, 'Haiku'. As I listen,
I am reminded
of gentle drops of pure rain, gradually building in their intensity. Around
2:45, everything comes together, and the track takes
a more traditional but highly melodic turn. Things
slow right back down again towards the end as the
rain eases, and the final note signifies the last
drop, heralding the onset of the morning sun.
'Golden' has a
warm, appealing melody. The style of the great
Wayne Gratz comes to mind as I listen to this
one. It seems almost redundant to say that this is
another memorable and entertaining piece, as it is
the case that this applies for each of the fifteen
'New' has a
soft, lullaby-like opening. Again, I am reminded of
nature, and this time of a slowly unfurling flower
with its dew-covered petals gently fluttering in the
fresh morning air. Around 2:30, the flower is
basking in the warm sunlight in all its glory; its
petals dancing in the inviting breeze.
is a clever title for track eleven, with the
beautiful addition of Velleda Miragias's warm cello
accompanying Doug's exquisite piano playing. The
cello adds melancholy to the piece, and tugs at the
listener's emotions. It is a beautiful composition
and sure to be a favourite of many.
another thoughtful and emotional piece. Perhaps
these have been troubled times when solace has had
to be sought. Doug leaves it to the discerning
listener to take their own personal journey here.
its higher pitch of notes especially at the start
and end, is more optimistic in form. The problems
from earlier are resolved, and life has moved on.
One might think
'Goodbye' would be the final track of the album, and
indeed it would make a most fitting concluding piece
with its sense of closure. The piece is lovely, and
seems to tell its own little bedtime story. The
tempo slows right down for this track, and would
make the perfect choice for inducing sleep.
However, it is
'Never-ending' which ends the album, and this is
more upbeat, almost heralding the start of a new day
and a positive spin on the challenges that lie
ahead, as well as celebrating the many warm, happy
moments that await.
enjoyed listening to 'Haiku', and Doug Hammer has
excelled himself with this outstanding release. Much
of the music is quite simple, but therein lies its
beauty. Let 'Haiku' help de-clutter your life.
Afford yourself fifty minutes to chill out, relax
and savour the exquisite music contained within.
I give Doug
Hammer's 'Haiku' my highest recommendation.