This is a
splendid CD. Covering a range of styles, from
gentle, soothing music to full-blown pyrotechnics,
this live CD showcases some of the former Windham
Hill pianist's finest tracks. Recorded at Chester
High School auditorium in front of an All-School
Reunion, the audience included none other than a
certain Mr. George Winston- of whom many would
consider to be the original New Age pianist. Winston
shares Philip Aaberg's love of Montana, and both
write extensively with their homeland acting as an
The CD opens
with the quiet "High Plains", with Aaberg tinkering
initially on the high notes of the piano register at
slow tempo, before the pace quickens and a pretty
melody unfolds. The second track combines "The Big
Open" and "Upright", and lasts for over ten minutes.
Some great piano playing is on show here. "Before
Barbed Wire" is the album's third track, and is more
quiet and reflective- although it has its moments!
Many would consider "Marias River Breakdown" to be
Philip's most popular piece, and it is no surprise
that it makes an appearance here. Differing in parts
from its original form, the piece begins with a
water-type improvisation which George Winston
describes as one of the highlights of the concert.
"Beautifully improvised" is high-praise indeed. The
piece is a joy to listen to, and successfully
captures the rhythm of the water. On "Welcome to the
Church of St. Anytime", Philip really goes for it!
Soothing music this is not!
favourite of mine is Track 7, entitled "Westbound".
It would seem that a railroad cuts through the city,
with trains passing through day and night. Philip
Aaberg has clearly listened to the sound of the
thundering trains, and has come up with a remarkable
piece of music which captures these enormous beasts
as they continue their journey. What rhythm in this
piece! Even more remarkable is someone's divine
intervention. As the piece concludes, and the piano
falls silent, a passing train's whistle is clearly
audible- perfectly on cue, and much to the
audience's delight! Perhaps the train driver
track, "Montano Half-light" sees the tempo return to
quieter and more reflective music. It is very
beautiful. "Every Deep Dream" rolls along nicely,
with a catchy theme. It's a happy piece and very
pleasing to the ear. The penultimate track,
"Frogman", sees Philip demonstrating his virtuoso
playing ability. This rocks, man! The CD closes on a
calmer note with "Going-to-the-Sun". Aaberg's
left-hand maintains the toe-tapping rhythm, whilst
his right hand teases out a lovely little melody to
tells a few stories between tracks, and this helps
to personalise his music.
top-notch piano music covering a range of moods,
will really appreciate this CD. With Philip Aaberg,
you never quite know what's coming next, but that,
as a listener, is to be welcomed as it makes one
listen harder. This is music that demands to be
listened to. I really enjoyed this CD, and its
sister CD, "Blue-West"- also on these review pages.