Laura Sullivan's Debut
The unassumingly titled “Piano Solos” by Laura Sullivan is an interesting collection of seven original pieces, three pieces by Roy Finch, and “Claire de Lune” by Debussy. A strong and passionate pianist, Sullivan brings a distinctive new voice to contemporary piano. Her previous two releases were collections of cover tunes for weddings and “special requests” from the standards repertoire, and I would hope that she’ll continue to record her original work. In her promotional material, she makes the following statement about her music: “Mine is a softer, feminine kin to styles played by Will Ackerman, George Winston, and David Lanz.” This seems like kind of an odd statement, and I don’t find it to be particularly true. Her style is much different from all three of the other artists, and I wouldn’t compare it to any of them.
Sullivan’s original pieces include “Dreaming Underwater,” a very nice flowing and rippling piece with a quiet mood; “Lullaby Wind,” which is also quiet and serene - my favorite track on this album; and “Calls to Spirit,” which is more upbeat and has a “bigger” sound. I also like ”Of Land and Sea, Of Mortal and Divine,” a flowing piece with classical and contemporary influences. Both wistful and with a sense of purpose, this piece is quite effective. I also really like Finch’s “Selling Water By the River,” which has an interesting rhythm and a nice, easy feel. His “Sleepwalking (On a Tightrope)” and “In Last Hours” are very dark and moody, and their forms are more abstract. Sullivan does a lovely job with “Claire de Lune,” although I kept wondering why it was included in a collection where all of the other pieces are so different from it.
So, if you’re looking for something kind of different, this could be a good choice.