Review: Karen Olson & Crispin Barrymore – A Hero’s Journey

Karen Olson – A Hero’s Journey – This is my first listen to Karen’s wonderful work on viola… and, for that matter, Crispin’s intriguing and almost magical piano as he weaves it in, about and through the inspiring compositions.  The mark of “true artists” is that they don’t need to “overplay”, and yet possess the talent and power to brighten your day in ways you had not yet imagined!  As you listen to the truly inspiring range of emotions they paint on the beautiful 7:30 “Promising Hope“, you will realize that you’ve come upon a musical gemstone that will be with you forever – even in your dreams (I just LOVED the subtle weave of the keyboards against the shimmering viola tapestry).

Karen and Crispin note on the one-sheet that accompanied the album that “we find our own answers, and we are our own heroes”.  The two players really work flawlessly together, and give you very memorable musical moments that will help you on that journey of finding your own answers… just listen to the intricate (and shining) hues on “Dream Quest“, and you will easily realize why I’m so enchanted with their abilities together… again, that near-invisible whisper of percussion going on down under is solid evidence of a mastery players seldom achieve together, because they’re focused on “being better”… this is not a “competitive” set of music.. it’s all about expressing what’s in their hearts… their souls… and, ultimately, in all of our collective consciousness.  I just loved this tune!

Their talent at “reaching down” into life and the living thereof is also clearly evident on the poignant and penetrating “Life Force“… the length of the song (8:19) also gives each artist the opportunity to delve deeply into what keeps the healing flow going, and makes the gift of life we have all received ever more apparent… it’s clear that both players love playing together, and you will catch that vibration as you listen to this beautiful song.

I am truly impressed, and have no doubt you will be as well… if you’re not 100% convinced yet, check out the sample for my personal favorite of the eleven offered up… “Heaven’s Gates” takes you (sonically, anyway) closer to the all powerful force that guides our universe (and us, of course).  If you’re seeking music that can bring real beauty into your life – GET THIS one!  I give Karen and Crispin a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99.  You can get more information on Karen’s Soundcloud page for this release.          Rotcod Zzaj


Dick Metcalf, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews
Dick Metcalf, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews
Dick Metcalf (aka Rotcod Zzaj) is a globe-hopping musician and poet who spent many years roving the world until he finally settled in his current abode, Lacey, Washington... just down the road from Seattle. He started IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION magazine in 1990 (still being published), and Contemporary Fusion Reviews magazine in 2016. He also was a keyboard player & singer for many years... you can hear (and download for free) many of those works at his "Internet Archive Collection". If you'd like to support our efforts and get something in return, there are also a few of these albums for sale on the Rotcod Zzaj BandCamp site"

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