‘prolific’ would certainly seem to apply to
multi-talented pianist Wayne Gratz, but the
Seattle-based composer never sacrifices quality over
quantity. Barely a year after the Piano-Heaven
award-winning CD, ‘Light, Lands and Shoreline’
became available, Wayne has delivered the goods
again with the release of his fifth independent CD-
In the linear
notes, Wayne explains that the title derives from
the curious idea that in our younger days we look
forward to the future and, at a certain point, that
changes to looking back at the past. As Wayne
himself says, "I often find myself pondering the two
points of view."
It is the title
track that opens the CD, and what a beautiful start
to what amounts to a tremendous hour or so of music.
Wayne's hopes for the future / reflections of the
past are certainly positive, and this is a spirited
piece from the heart.
Dusk" is a lovely, soothing track almost sounding
like a lullaby with its opening. Wayne is certainly
Mr. Consistent when it comes to creating memorable
melodies, and this track offers proof if ever it
were needed that he has a true gift in this
the Wheat Field" is one of my favourite cuts on the
entire CD. It has an instantly appealing melody,
capturing the wheat field on a blowy day. The
rolling piano notes represent the wind-swept wheat.
up to its name- an uncluttered piece, which holds
Earth" is a livelier track featuring a memorable
melody. Could this be a bird of prey gracefully
making its way ever downwards?
"Thor in the
Pastures" is a darker, more unsettling number
certainly at first, but evolves into a delightful
favourite piece on the entire CD is Track 7, "May
Morning". A simple enough melody, but one that is
exceptionally beautiful. One can picture the fields
of blue-bells in the woods early on in the morning.
This type of track- with its minimalist opening- is
what Wayne does best, and there are very few
pianists out there who can compete with this
composer's ear for a melody time and time again.
"The Pathway Home" also hits the spot. This piece is
more reflective. The journey home is a time for
contemplation, and memories both good and bad
resurface. I just love the brooding melody, and this
is one of those pieces one finds oneself whistling
throughout the day.
the Shoreline" has the trademark Gratz-sound. I know
Wayne has a passion for the water- perhaps he is
missing his fishing-fix during his journey. Another
appealing melody, another winning track.
by the title of Track 10- "Tree Castles". A
delightful melody ensues, and this is one of those
slow-tempo but exceptionally beautiful tracks.
Perhaps Wayne himself will enlighten us.
"Place of Inspiration" is another piece which holds
much appeal, through its gently evolving and most
graceful melody. As the title would suggest, this
mystery location clearly got his creative juices
flowing, and the end-result is another pleasing
I am very
touched by the twelfth track, "Natalie's Story", and
it is obvious that the composer was greatly moved by
the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of
this beautiful three year old. Wayne delivers a
perfect balance between reflecting on such a sad
loss and celebrating a short but
The next track
is entitled, "Kyra's Dance"- a reference to Wayne's
partner. Clearly, she has been inspirational to him
and this joyous track perhaps celebrates their time
track is entitled, "Distant Train". The slow rhythm
of the train appears at the start and, to this
reviewer's ears, it remains far-away throughout!
This track is quite the opposite of Philip Aaberg's
"Westbound" track on his Live from Montana CD which
captures the full intensity of a train. Wayne's
express is having a gentler ride.
breathtakingly good album closes with a short track
entitled, "A Breath of Autumn". We have almost come
full circle through the seasons. Parts of summer
still linger on, but there is also a hint of what is
to come. I found this to be quite a haunting track,
almost warning of the dangers ahead.
This is a
superb CD, and I am most impressed by the extremely
high-level of consistency maintained throughout the
CD. There are no fillers here; each track delivers
at the highest standard.
to order the CD direct from Wayne's web-site, or
exceptionally good CD, and one to which I give my
highest recommendation. Well done, Wayne!