Jim Gabriel – INTO ETERNITY (Piano): I gave Jim high marks for his piano work back in issue # 142, and he used some of the same high-talent players and engineers on that one as well… on this totally fresh recording, he has managed to exceed his own previous musical achievements… when I went back to the earlier album (something I often do in order to get a “refresher” on the artist’s style and musical persona), I was especially impressed with how much more “body” this new album has… listen to the wonderful “Goodbye for Now“, with it’s guitar intro and subtle string weave integrated with Jim’s magical piano keyboard, and you’ll be fascinated with his ability to capture your heart, as well as your soul. He doesn’t do any “strange spells”, and his playing is very down-to-earth, but his music will certainly make you feel just how fleeting our time here is…. beautiful emotions painted with his keyboards!
As mentioned before, the lineup includes some who have played with him before… you’ll hear Jill Haley on English horn; Tony Levin’s bass work; Jeff Oster on flugelhorn; Eugene Friesen on cello, Charlie Bisharat on violin and Gus Sebring on french horn… there are also guest appearances by Will Ackerman on guitar and Tom Eaton on accordion, synthesizer and guitar (Tom is also the engineer and mastered the album). As you listen to the 5:17 title track, “Into Eternity“, you will realize that his simple and straightforward keyboard playing are only elements of a much stronger ability of his… he’s able to turn simple into “ethereal” (“extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world”) in the best sense of the word… and his piano is totally complimented by the abilities of all the other players, as well. To experience this in “live mode”, I highly recommend that you watch this YouTube video featuring Jim playing “Midnight” from the release:
You see/hear? There’s no “pretension” in his playing… he helps you to slow down and enjoy what he’s doing without being at all overbearing about it; nowhere is that better represented (for this reviewer, anyway) than on my personal favorite of the dozen pieces offered up for your eternal listening pleasure, “Dreams of You“, the dynamic closer for the album… again, the integration of the instruments with Jim’s delicate and thoughtful playing style brings back memories of the passing of some of my own loved ones – in a most pleasant way, actually. I give Jim and his fellow players a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of a (perfect) 5.00 – meaning that this gets a “PICK” for “most personal and intimate piano artistry”. Get more information about Jim at the Jim Gabriel website (& tell him you read about him here, of course). Rotcod Zzaj