Ciani's "Live" album embraces all.
Suzanne Ciani reached another goal in her recording career. On March 14 and 15 of 1997, Suzanne and her supergroup of musicians called "The Wave," produced their first live concert album at the historical, Herbst Theater in San Francisco.
Featured players of the Wave include Grammy- winning woodwind player Paul McCandless (a founding member of the seminal jazz group Oregon), Windham Hill solo artist Michael Manring on bass, Teja Bell on guitars, Kalani on percussion, Matt Eakle on flute, Jeremy Cohen on violin, and Doug Harman on cello.
This album presents a tapestry of beautiful arrangements of her favorite songs. It has that "lite jazz" flavor. In addition, there are three new songs written especially for this album.
I have many favorite songs, but there are some that I should share with you.
Suzanne's signature song, "The Velocity of Love" is a very passionate arrangement.
"Go Gently" and "Time Stops" is what I would classify as "songs of comfort." It feels that her music embraces you when faced with difficult times in your life.
Again, all of her songs present a lot of imagery. The liner notes are well presented. The audio quality is very well done. You may want to play around with the Dolby Surround settings on your stereo system to capture that live concert feeling.
Suzanne was the "Diva of the Diode" from her gifted talents on the Piano at an early age. She was the "Diva of Electronic Music" from her expressive works in electronic music. After listening to Ciani's "Live" album, she is the "Diva of Endurance" because her music withstood the test of time. This album is a living proof of her achievements in music.
Purchase "Suzanne Ciani and the Wave - Live," and let her music embrace you.
-firstname.lastname@example.org from Cincinnati, OH ,
May 22, 1999
For her first live album, New Age piano and synthesizer wizard Suzanne Ciani brings a whole new perspective to some of her most popular melodies, such as "Neverland," "Anthem," "The Velocity of Love," and "Hotel Luna" among the 16 cuts. Playing with her to bring new life to her compositions is a stellar cast of musicians, including: Michael Manring (bass), Teja Bell (guitar, sitar), Paul Mcandless (oboe, sax, English horn, clarinet), Kalani (percussion), Matt Eakle (flute, pennywhistle), Jeremy Cohen (violin), and Doug Harmon (cello) each of whom has a distinguished track record with a long list of concert and album credits. Together, they give Ciani's sons new wins to fly on. In your mind, you may have imagined these instruments intertwining with her keyboard melodies. In person, the dialogue between the musicians is facile and well-balanced with each instruments making itself heard, yet combining gracefully with the others. More intimate than her symphonic album, this small ensemble is well suited to interpret her compositions.
-New Age Voice
Suzanne Ciani is one of my all-time favorite composers and musicians. It was very exciting to be able to attend one of two concerts she did in San Francisco in March 1997 with her hand-picked super-group, The Wave (Paul McCandless, Teja Bell, Matt Eakle, Michael Manring, Kalani, Jeremy Cohen, and Doug Harman).
These concerts were the setting for Suzanne's first-ever live album and DVD. At the concert itself, I was surprised that such phenomenal musicians were using sheet music, and commented in my review of the concert (in the first issue of Wind and Wire) that it seemed too controlled. Suzanne told me later that she was following the classical tradition of keeping the music as written, and feels that too much improvisation in her music takes the backbone out of it. Her vision was certainly clear and absolutely correct when it came to the recorded version of the concerts.
This album is gorgeous! Contents-wise, this is a wonderful overview of Suzanne's many composing styles, and the live performance gives each song a fresh take. There are electronic elements in several of the pieces, most especially "Samukee" and "Mosaic", which keep them true to their original form, but the live instrumentation makes them much warmer. Old favorites such as "Neverland", "Eagle", "The Velocity of Love", "Hotel Luna", and "Anthem" all take on a new life with Matt Eakle's soaring flute and Paul McCandless' variety of wind instruments, as well as the other artists' strings and percussion.
The three new songs on the album, "Butterflies", "Stream", and "Folk Dance" indicate that Suzanne is continuing to evolve in new directions. Her more recent work seems to me to be somewhat more complex and classical, but still continues in her own melodic and soothing style. "Butterflies" is my favorite of the new pieces, and it is easy to visualize the fluttering of tiny wings while listening to it; each of the band members also has a short solo here. "Folk Dance" has a very unusual rhythm, and is great fun (composer/pianist Ira Stein arranged this piece as well as "Sailing to Byzantium" and "Eagle").
"Sailing to Byzantium", "Go Gently", "Drifting", "Stream" and "Inverness" are all smooth as silk, and Matt Eakle's and Paul McCandless' playing are again outstanding in their tenderness and insight into the music. "Time Stops" and "Anthem" are the two encore pieces, and both provide a gentle but stirring conclusion to this excellent album.
As with any live album, the applause between pieces keeps it from being an album to doze off to, but the quality of the music should more than make up for that. I really like the way the album is laid out, with the quiet and flowing pieces alternated with the more upbeat, lively, or abstract songs.
Longtime Suzanne Ciani fans will be thrilled with this collection, and for those not familiar with Suzanne's work, it is a great introduction!
Solo Piano Publications
Suzanne Ciani is a composer, recording artist, and pioneer in the field of electronic music. She is best loved for her thirteen albums of original music which feature her performances in a broad array of expressions: pure electronic, solo piano, piano with orchestra, and piano with jazz ensemble. No matter the medium, Ciani's music communicates the special intimacy, passion, and sensitivity that has become her trademark and prompted fans to buy over a million of her albums.
Her music, renowned for its romantic, healing, and aesthetic qualities, has found a worldwide audience, and her performances include numerous benefits for humanitarian causes. She has toured throughout the United States, Italy, Spain, and Asia.
Her many recognitions include five Grammy® nominations for Best New Age Album, two recent Indie nominations for Best New Age Album, numerous Clios, a Golden Globe, and Keyboard Magazine's "New Age Keyboardist of the Year."
In the eighties and early nineties, Ciani's New York-based commercial production company, Ciani-Musica, Inc., was the leader in the field of sound design and TV spot scoring, creating award-winning music for a host of high profile Fortune 500 clients, including Coca-Cola, Merrill Lynch, AT&T, and General Electric. Additionally, Ciani has scored the Lily Tomlin feature The Incredible Shrinking Woman ; the award-winning feature documentary, Mother Teresa; the feature documentary, Mother Teresa: The Legacy; as well as scoring for the TV daytime serial One Life to Live.
In the early nineties Ciani relocated to northern California to concentrate on her artistic career. In 1995, she established her own record label, Seventh Wave. After many years as an artist on major labels (Atlantic Finnadar, RCA RedSeal, Private Music/Windham Hill/BMG), Ciani felt the need to own and control her own creative work. Seventh Wave has remained an exemplar of the artist friendly independent record label since then.
In addition to her thirteen albums, Ciani has published three books of original piano music through the Hal Leonard Corporation: Suzanne Ciani: New Age Piano, Suzanne Ciani: Dream Songs, and Suzanne Ciani: Turning. Her signature composition, "The Velocity of Love," appears in numerous anthologies of romantic music.
Ciani is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a Masters in Music Composition from U.C. Berkeley.