Phil Feather & Marilyn Harris
Over 60 minutes of
Wholesalers contact Betty Richards
at Wrightwood Records
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What people are saying about WINDS ON IVORY:
"Following hot on the heels of her previous collaboration with koto player Mara Purl (the superb Koto Keys), pianist Marilyn Harris joins up with yet another consummate musical professional (wind instrumentalist Phil Feather) on Winds on Ivory, a recording that is in the much the same vein as Koto Keys, but is also completely different as far as its literal sound. What I mean by all that is that, like Koto Keys, Winds on Ivory is a serene and peace-inducing album, full of meadering yet purposeful musical improvisations, conveying a flowing, almost stream-like, sense of slow movement that is one hundred percent unforced and completely natural. It's a damn amazing album, to be honest. How Harris finds a way to make music so beautiful and so naturally calming, yet so devoid of cliché, maudlin faux sentimentality, or new age glitziness or superficiality is beyond me. To do this twice in one year on two different albums featuring two different accompanists (and who play such different instruments) is quite the achievement.
Once again, as he did on Koto Keys, Mark Wolfram handled production, mixing, mastering duties as well as playing some keyboards (mostly sampled instruments used for sparse coloring effect of subtle accompaniment to one or the other lead instrument). This guy can really mix an album. There are some nature sounds scattered here and there and the amount and their placement in the mix is textbook - I mean it is flawless. Trust me, if Winds on Ivory were released on a major label, it would be HUGE! Ah, the pitfalls of being an independent musician.
Owing to the assortment of wind instruments that Feather plays on the CD's ten tracks, the songs themselves vary more than you'd expect them to, but the overall "feel" of the album is not just coherent but works almost on the level of long-form ambient. Weird, huh?
As she did on Koto Keys, Harris shows remarkable technique in her control of shading and nuance, playing in a sparse and minimal style yet also filling her notes with feeling and grace. Another similarity to her previous collaboration is her unselfish attitude and the way that her and Feather frequently share the spotlight, playing with each other, instead of trading off solos. I would have to say it is this aspect of the music that makes it so enjoyable and also so unique.
Don't bother asking which are my favorite songs on the album. It'd be like deciding between lobster, crab, shrimp or scallops for yours truly (I love 'em all!). However, from a purely subjective viewpoint, I like the sound of Feather's oboe d'amour ("Reverie" and "Sanctuary") and his bass clarinet ("Sky Blue Waters" and "Quiet Forest") best, although the man is no slouch on alto flute, Native American flute, pennywhistle or recorder, either.
This is among the loveliest and prettiest
albums I heard last year. Between Wolfram's layering of nature
sounds (along with his other instruments), Feather's soulful
wind instrument playing, and Harris' evocative piano work, Winds
on Ivory is ideal music for late night relaxation, as accompaniment
to massage, or you could just sit quietly and drink it in while
savoring a glass of wine, a cup of tea or whatever suits your
"down time." I suspect that if you are seeking a few
moments of peace and serenity, you will find that this CD will
more than satisfy you. I give it my highest recommendation, especially
for those who like their acoustic instrumental music draped in
true gentility and filled with a deep sense of calm.
"Peace blossomed inside me with the
first song and grew with each new melody. Without trying, visions
of spring meadows and rippling brooks sprang into my mind. In
only an hour, listening to this terrific CD creates a weekend
away from it all!"
Please send YOUR comments on WINDS ON IVORY to
Betty Richards at wrightwoodrecords.com
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