ABOUT ‘ASCENSION’ CD …
We are living in a time of stress and struggle. There is still hunger, hatred, and sickness in a world that is also filled with such beauty, generosity, and harmony. ASCAP award-winning composer Wendy Loomis and Eastman School of Music alumna Monica Williams decided to create a CD that had the power to help people relax, de-stress, and energize with positive vibrations of gratitude for this life. While Wendy was in the middle of a yoga class, she had a vision of the CD being organized around the 7 chakras. For those of you unfamiliar, the 7 chakras are energy centers that run up the human body from the base of the spine, to the sexual center, the stomach, the heart, the throat, the 3rd eye between the eyebrows, and the crown of the head. Many people have developed systems that associate colors and tones with each chakra. Monica and Wendy decided not to be quite so literal in their interpretation, but rather incorporate the idea of energy rising from our most earthly, primal instincts up toward our higher, nobler, spiritual realm – the eternal quest to ascend toward the Higher Power. And ASCENSION was born.
7 is a lucky and inspiring number that is threaded through ASCENSION: there are 7 tones in a scale, the compositions are in 7 different key signatures, the music is played on 7 primary instruments, Monica was born in ’77, and this is the 7th CD of Wendy’s music.
With the exception of ‘Seed’ which was based on the Plum Blossom melodies written in 1490, the themes for this CD were composed by Wendy Loomis. Monica and Wendy arranged the flute and piano sounds in a weave with instruments from around the world played by a group of very talented women: Jennifer Lim on guzheng (China); Debra Podjed on tabla (India) and goat hooves (Bolivia); Jessica Styler on hang drum (Switzerland); Suellen Primost on cello (Italy); Irina Mikhailova on voice (born in Russia); and Karen Segal on guitar (Spain/the Middle East).
“Phoenix Rising is not rising - it is risen!” Ron Dellums, Mayor, Oakland, CA.
“Although I have more than 50 CDs to listen to, I decided to listen to 'Ascension' and I must say it's brilliant. I was very surprised with the beautiful melodies of the compositions. I also have to congratulate both women for a recording with original things like all the stories about #7 in this recording. I am going to add it to the station library for airplay on LA OTRA ORILLA and sharing their music with my audience from shows from now on.” ~Francisco M. López Herrero, Barcelona, Spain.
“…The tracks on “Ascension” have links between each other, as well to the conception of the album itself. That is to say, the thoughts and emotions touched on during “Creation” constituent an album-wide phenomenon, which means that for full enjoyment, listeners should secret themselves away to a quiet room and fully enjoy what has been committed to disc by the members of Phoenix Rising. When I am looking for a clean and crisp set of compositions, “Ascension” will be the first album that I reach for. I eagerly anticipate the band’s future recordings, if not only to see the new ground the act will touch upon in the years to come.” ~NeuFutur Magazine
ABOUT PHOENIX RISING …
Mystical, lyrical, dramatic at times and always thoughtful and emotionally compelling, the dual musical vision of composer Wendy Loomis (piano) and arranger Monica Williams (flute) drives a deep sense of transcendence and spirituality that can only be captured in metaphoric terms. Phoenix Rising is much more than a flute and piano duo. In addition to often using a rotating guest artist (hang drum, cello, guitar, guzheng, or vocals) they incorporate their large collection of ethnic flutes and percussion instruments from all over the world, making Phoenix Rising one of the most innovative and versatile ensembles in the Bay Area. India's bamboo bansuri flute is hardly a jazz instrument, but that doesn't stop Wendy Loomis from writing original jazz pieces for Bansuri and piano. In fact they are one of the only Northern American ensembles using bansuri in blues works. Phoenix Rising combines aspects of new age, world, classical, and jazz styles into their music bringing magnificent scenescapes of light and energy to audiences of all demographics.
In November 2008, Wendy and Monica attended the Hollywood Music Awards as nominees in the new age/ambient music category. The HMA is the only red carpet style event of its kind in the world that celebrates music in new visual mediums and gives equal attention to signed and unsigned artists. Their music is currently contracted by 10 TV and film licensing companies and can be heard in several films. They have performed at events such as Austin Women’s Literary and Music Festival, Pro Arts Concert Series, Trinity Chapel Concert Series, World Flute Fest at Chapel of Chimes in Oakland, and the Napa Wine and Film Festival to name a few.
Wendy and Monica originally met as members of the larger spoken word and music ensemble Copus, which was co-founded by Wendy and Bay Area poet Royal Kent. Wendy, who earned her Master’s in education from Syracuse University and bachelor’s degree in creative arts from Denison University, has performed and recorded a broad range of compositions, many of which
can be heard on her six CD. Monica is a graduate of Eastman School of Music and has performed with orchestras in Chicago, Rochester, and Cincinnati.
In addition to ‘Ascension’ released in February 2009, Phoenix Rising released its debut CD ‘Whispers’ in 2005.
Contact Phoenix Rising at