The spirit of Vince Guaraldi can be heard in the jaunty opening track, “Centre Island,” as well as in “The Music Garden.” A softer mood prevails in the lilting “Butter Avenue” and pastel-inflected “Sunday in High Park.” With stirring power, “Fleur-de-lys” evokes spring’s vitality. Stormy chords and a steamy beat propel “Stormclouds.”
“Water Lilies” conjures Monet with an impressionistic, seductively simple waltz. Multiple piano lines weave through “Starry Night Over the Rhône,” an ode to Van Gogh’s painting that pulsates with dark and light. You can almost feel the rocking of passing trains in the bluesy “Portland Street Bridge,” named for the overpass above Toronto’s rail lines. Mystical, bell-like tones and drones swirl in “Snowmelt.” A gently meandering melody and echoes of the traditional Japanese tune “Sakura” infuse “Cherry Blossom.” “Waterfall” builds to a stately climax with a cascade of sound that closes the album.
Why the return to a purely piano-oriented sound (a stark contrast to my last album of electronic dance music)? It felt like the best way to capture the sense of life re-awakening. The piano allows me to paint musical landscapes that embody life and motion while maintaining an intimate and improvisatory feel.
Butter Avenue is available through online music retailers and streaming services, including:
For a taste of the music, check out this video for “The Music Garden”: