Serenely peaceful world-class improvisations on Gregorian Chants Merrill Collins – SINCERO: As a long-time music reviewer (over 40 years), I must admit that Merrill’s latest release is a new (and thrilling) experience for me… it won’t officially release until my birthday in 2018 (21 September), so there are no samples available right now (I will come back and add them in as soon as I’m told the release has gone “hot”)… in the meantime, I can tell you that compositions like the 7:18 “Regina Caeli”, featuring Merrill’s wonderful piano, flute from Laura Halladay and cello by Maksim Velichkin and vocals by Andrew Robert Bennett, will help you achieve balance in your life, and encourage you on your journey… the integration of crystalline-sounding bells is just superb, and the overall performance provides ever-so-subtle nudges towards the serenity you diligently seek.
The 9:12 opener, “Veni , Creator Spiritu” (Come Creator Spirit), will hold you spellbound from the opening note to the very last chord… Andrew’s vocal, starting right at the 1:40 mark, after a splendid and tender introduction by the other players, will amaze you with power… a totally engaging performance that is the perfect call to calm… I wouldn’t be surprised (in the least) to see this composition be nominated for an award, and WIN it (hands-down).
The most impressive of the nine songs offered up, though, is “Ave, Maris Stella” (Latin for “Hail Star of the Sea”)… as the WIKIPEDIA entry declares, “much of its charm is due to its simplicity”, and Merrill and her talented musicians keep that simplicity at the forefront as they weave a web of enchantment you will find yourself totally wrapped in… I will be listening to this often, and have no doubt you will as well.
I give Merrill and her crew a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99 for this fantastic sonic journey. Get more information as it becomes available on Merrill’s Spiraling Music website. Rotcod Zzaj
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Golive 21 September