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Conversations with my Family by Mike Garson

For over three decades pianist/composer Mike Garson has been best known for his association with pop star David Bowie. Along the way, the multi-faceted musician has pursued his love of jazz piano and composition, garnering inspiration from fellow Los Angeles cohorts with a wide range of projects including the renowned classical/fusion group Free Flight. The creative process continues to unfold for Garson with the release of Conversations with my Family

As the title suggests, the disc is a heartfelt tribute to the pianist's family. The love for family is not only recognized through individual track titles but through the emotive outpouring in Garson's performance. His flowering lines seem to appear out of nowhere, truly spontaneous, seemingly motivated by an ever-present, patient spirit. From the frantic pace of "The Child Within"--a clever reworking of "Stella By Starlight"--to the tender flow of "Lullaby for Our Daughters," Garson patiently stirs up an improvised momentum, discreetly adding touches of technical brilliance at just the right moment.

In between lengthy ensemble pieces are short solo piano interludes, creating a continuous momentum throughout the disc. At its core, the music here is intended for piano trio, with bassist Bob Magnusson--whose strong soloing is featured prominently--and drummer Gary Novak, however, guest soloists abound, adding color to the proceedings. Violinist Christian Howes has a forceful presence on "Longings" and "Play Nicely Together (Interaction)," an up-tempo duet with Garson that explores the chord changes to Miles Davis' "Solar." Trumpeter Claudio Roditi brings a soft-spoken lyricism to "Trials and Revelations" and "Miracle of Love (Welcome Heather)." Guitarist Andreas Oberg and Flutist Lori Bell also contribute to the proceedings.

Conversations with my Family comes with a bonus concert DVD of Garson performing a set of standards with drummer Peter Erskine and the late bassist Dave Carpenter.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Mike Garson
  • CD Title: Conversations with my Family
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Resonance Records
  • Rating: Five Stars
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