Free As a Bird is the much-anticipated follow-up to Omar’s 2002 release, Opal Fire. Exotic, sensual, and brimming with life, it was worth the wait! Richly arranged and orchestrated by David Dial and Gregg Karukas, real instruments replace some of the keyboards from the earlier release, and the interaction of great musicians such as violinist Charlie Bisharat (one of my all-time favorites!), Ramon Stagnaro on guitar, Gregg Karukas on keyboards and percussion, and Pedro Eustache on flute makes the music even more exciting.
Solo Piano Publications
Imagination’s Light was partly inspired by pianist/composer Kevin Kern’s childhood experience of sitting in a darkened room lit only by firelight, letting his imagination guide his fingers on the piano keyboard. Kern continues this tradition by dimming the lights in the recording studio and spontaneously creating the solo piano tracks for his recordings. Legally blind from birth, it is fascinating that darkness is such an important part of the creative process for this outstanding composer.
After Omar’s last release, Free As A Bird, this musician became a force to be reckoned with. Secret Journey gives us the one-two combination hit that reflects a musician that is in full stride creating compositions laced with unbridled passion and poised grace. Rooted in world themes and layered in smooth jazz and new age influences, Omar’s music has become distinct yet highly accessible. This album has all the ingredients to be not only a chart topper but also a critic’s darling for 2007.
Comfort Music 1 is another beautiful compilation of soothing music from Real Music. Guitars are featured prominently on most of the tracks, but there are also flutes, keyboards, voices, and other instruments. Many of the tracks come from previously-released albums from Real Music, but there are a few “guest” artists as well.
Born in Germany, Bernward Koch has been around for a while. Classically trained, his piano work is melodious but never overstated. With plenty of room to breathe, there is a fine merger of classical and ambient influences that makes Walking Through Clouds a laid back album that will appeal to many who are seeking the escape from the clutter of life.