Alex Clements | Emily's Song

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Emily's Song

by Alex Clements

The album demonstrates a blend of lyricism and intimacy with passionate and dynamic improvisations. His piano sound, although steeped in jazz lore and tradition, shows a tenderness and romantic melancholy that is European in origin.
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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1. A Song for Ethan
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5:53 $0.99
2. Inspired by...
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8:59 $0.99
3. Emily's Song
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5:22 $0.99
4. Pieces of Dreams
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5:17 $0.99
5. Dinner for Two
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5:34 $0.99
6. I Loves you Porgy
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9:06 $0.99
7. You Must Believe in Spring
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7:29 $0.99
8. Waltz for Peace
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Alex Clements; so many adjectives can be used to describe the many facets of this talented, creative, well-rounded Canadian jazz pianist and composer. Clements is an internationally recognized artist, performing in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Morocco, and Cyprus. One of Clements’ highest accomplishments is an Alberta Achievement Award, which was presented to him by the Government of Alberta.

However, this is only the beginning of his accomplishments; Clements holds a Master's degree in Jazz Performance from McGill University and a Bachelor's degree in Arranging from Berklee College of Music. He also completed two associateship performance diplomas from the Royal Conservatory of Music and Mount Royal College Conservatory of Music, where he was awarded a gold medal and scholarship.

In the past fifteen years, Clements has received numerous scholarships and awards from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, The Canada Council, The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Record (FACTOR), McGill University (Margaret Houlding Memorial Prize), Berklee College of Music (Achievement Scholarships), and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (Arts Study Grants).

Clements has performed at numerous jazz festivals including, the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Kissimmee Jazz Festival. He competed twice in the Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition in Paris; the competition consisted of 59 top jazz pianists from around the world.

Clements maintains an active performing career in jazz, organizing his own concerts as well as directing and working as a sideman at many venues across the US. He recently performed a concert featuring his original compositions and held a master class at Abilene Christian University in Texas. Clements skills as a composer and arranger are recognized by a series of commissions for Canada’s nationally known Montreal Jazz Big Band, including a 60-minute suite entitled “Jazz Images” portraying the history of jazz. The band was awarded a Prix Opus (Quebec Music Award) after performing this work.

Clements is also an active film composer, recently completing a score and recording of music for the Rockefeller Center’s multi-media exhibit presenting Paramount Pictures re-issue of It’s a Wonderful Life. He also wrote the music for a 45-minute documentary entitled Lewis and Clark: Following their Footsteps.

Additionally, his music can be heard on the McGill Jazz Orchestra’s latest release Ostinatocious which includes Part 1 of his Suite No. 4 ‘Cycles’. In addition to his own album, Clements has recorded with singer Sophie Lapierre on her album entitled They Can't Take That Away From Me, with soprano saxophonist Monik Nordine’s on her album Not Just To But Over The Moon, tenor saxophonist E.J. Hughes on his album Audrey, and more recently, with tenor saxophonist Alain Bradette on his album State of Mind. In December of 2004 Clements was a member of the peer assessment committee for the Grants to Professional Musicians (Non-Classical Music Grants) Program for the Canada Council for the Arts, the principal federal agency for the support of the arts in Canada.

A skillful composer and virtuosic musician, he has performed on numerous CD’s, including his own entitled Suite No. 3 ‘The Cycle of Life,’ featuring his original compositions, as well as a new solo piano album entitled Emily’s Song. The album was recently featured on Radio Palermo La Guagua, Buenos Aires, Argentina, WUCF-FM Orlando Jazz and more, and CBC radio show Afterhours. To support his latest release Clements has made numerous radio appearances and most recently performed on WUCF-FM radio Orlando with his Quartet recording a live performance paying tribute to Bill Evans. He also performs frequently in the Lake Timucua Concert Series in various settings including solo, trio, quartet, Classical and with international jazz trumpeter Tiger Okoshi. He performed with saxophonist Randy Cole for the Central Florida Jazz Society. He also worked with a jazz trio in Seoul, Korea and his music was heard on a local television mini-series.

Continuing his journey, Clements next release will be in 2007 featuring Clements in a quartet setting with internationally renowned drummer Danny Gottlieb, Canadian saxophonist Alain Bradette, and bassist Chris Queenen from Orlando.Danny Gottlieb has performed with all the jazz greats including Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea and
more.


Reviews


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Midwest Record

On the best tradition of solo piano dates, Clements is up for the task...
ALEX CLEMENTS/Emily’s Song: Piano jazzman that’s been tearing it up north of the border, as well as around the world, sits still long enough to put the spotlight on just him and his piano. On the best tradition of solo piano dates, Clements is up for the task turning in a wonderfully textured date that almost makes you forget this is a one man army. He wears his feelings on his sleeve and you are never far from the real deal with this cat.

Dan McClenaghan - www.allaboutjazz.com

He plays Michel Legrand's “You Must Believe in Spring” with a lush, lilting gorg
Solo piano may be the ultimate form of musical expression on the instrument. But a good percentage of the albums in that category seem to beg for a bass and drums, a boost of the rhythmic undercurrent to flesh out the keyboardist's ideas. Going solo, it's melody, rhythm and harmony in two hands, no safety net. The plus side of the solo approach is the freedom it allows the musician to follow his muse and expore his artistry outside the constraints of the ensemble. The question for the player is this: can you handle the freedom?

Pianist/composer Alex Clements handles the freedom admirably on Emily's Song, a set of eight original tunes that were inspired by people (a son, a daughter) and events in his life, plus three well-chosen covers.


Clements' influences seem to come from the gentler, more introspective group of pianists, those with a light touch and a taste for nuance and pretty melodies: Bill Evans, Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett. His playing reveals a tenderness, a romantic and introspective world view—the type of sound an inattentive listener can take for lightweight stuff. But Emily's Song can't be dismissed in that fashion; there's too much depth and beauty and on-the-sleeve emotion here.


These are sounds that are, start to finish, captivating, and the pianist seems particulary inspired on Gershwin's “I Loves You Porgy,” a flexible but loving exploration of the classic; while his original “Dinner for Two” has a prickly tone and gathering tension; and he plays Michel Legrand's “You Must Believe in Spring” with a lush, lilting gorgeousness on this top-notch solo piano outing.

LA Jazz Scene

Clements is an effective communicator who puts his feelings into music naturally
A solo piano album can be dreamy, inspiring, eye-opening or mellow and laid back. Alex Clements’ latest album is all that and more. Based in Montreal, Clements has a love for expressive ballads that tell the story of what’s on his mind and in his heart. His session simmers gently with a lovely lyrical glow that never fades. Included in his program of originals are two familiar pieces by Michel Legrand and one by Gershwin. Throughout the session Clements sparkles with a crisp and clean approach to the keyboard that enunciates each melody clearly with a well-defined drift. He’s dreamy with his slower pieces and driven on his livelier ones.

“Dinner for Two,” an original, drifts slowly with the kind of momentum that carries conversations at length. Unlike some relaxed affairs, this one probes with the motion of a fluid waterfall, as would a dinner conversation if the topics were new and fresh. Here, Clements imaginary dinner partners are excited to see each other and have much to share. The pianist’s interpretation of “I Loves You Porgy” captures a heartfelt mood that we recall from Gershwin’s folk opera. He feels the meaning and translates through his hands. “You Must Believe In Spring” flows sweetly with a gradual building of emotion while most of the album remains cool, gentle, and connected. Clements is an effective communicator who puts his feelings into music naturally.

Edward Blanco ejazznews.com

Emily’s Song is an elegant sounding CD that features a wonderfully talented pian
An enchanting solo effort from Canadian Alex Clements, Emily’s Song conveys an emotion and warmth that shines through in a contemporary/ classical vein with rich lyrical playing by a virtuoso jazz pianist. The album is essentially a set of soft and sensitive piano music presented with a light touch on the keys appealing to ones softer side.


Clements plays five original compositions of which two were inspired by his children.
The opener, “A Song for Ethan,” written for his son, begins the embrace of beautiful music that last through out the album. Penned for his daughter, “Emily’s Song” is played in a quick tempo mood as the pianist runs through the keys in firm crisp fashion. The next tune, “Inspired By” is an excellent example of an energetic classical sound that one might hear in a concert hall setting of classical music.

Prominently featured here are two Michel Legrand standards, “Pieces of Dreams” offered in a simple ballad style, and the familiar “You Must Believe In Spring,” which for me, is one of the most beautiful renditions of this immortal chart ever recorded. The Gershwin/Heyward “I loves You Porgy” is the other standard piece on this disc, presented in a slow ballad style played to the heart in a nine minute tribute to the musical style of the great Bill Evans.

Clements solo journey ends with the soft and tender sweet number “Waltz for Peace” completing a masterful performance of a relaxing session of wonderful music that we all have a need for from time to time.

Greggo Applegate Edwards, Cadence Magazine

His playing breathes with life. With rhythmic drive and an interesting synthesis
Like chamber music in the world of Classical music, solo piano in the world of Jazz can be a demanding art, both in the playing and the listening The player is totally exposed; the listener has sometimes less in the way of rhythm to fall back upon. After Keith Jarrett’s landmark disks, along with some others, the medium has remained a proving ground for the aspiring musician…

Alex Clements’ solo effort has less flash but more intimacy. He writes in a lyrical vein. “Song for Ethan” has a late Evan’s feel. It is a waltz with a sophisticated harmonic sequence and a contemplative melody. The improve that follows has a soaring expansive quality—and makes you want to hear him with a trio, since it swings increasingly. “Inspired By” features an almost Rachmaninovian rolling left hand accompaniment to an increasingly rhythmic overall feel and a restless melody. There is certainly a Romantic Era feel to some of these. The title track “Emily’s Song” has a Jazz waltz feel with a pendulum chord structure and lyrical line. The improve section shows flow and builds dramatically in a way again where a rhythm section would have enhanced it all. A sensitive performance of a Legrand ballad “Pieces of Dreams” follows. This guy doesn’t try to wow you with his technique; sheer musicality and taste predominate. His playing breathes with life. “Dinner for Two” is a good vehicle to anchor his vividly imaginative inventions. With a rhythmic drive and an interesting synthesis of Corea, Jarrett, and Evans influences, Clements stands out from the pack. Emily’s Song is a joyous listen.

Carmel DeSoto

Clements has the ability to create and sustain a musically flowing statement tha
Alex Clements’ new CD entitled, Emily’s Song, is an intimate solo piano performance that indubitably sets this talented Pianist/Composer as one to watch for great things. The success of Keith Jarrett’s solo improvisation master piece, The Koln Concert has opened a whole new era for solo piano explorations. However, very few can really pull off a solo performance that is flowing and musical live, much less on CD. Alex Clements’ CD, Emily’s Song rises to the occasion with a strong flowing musical journey that will entertain and leave you wondering if possibly some pianist are evolving a third appendage with five more fingers!

Clements’ lets the listener know from the first note where the pulse of the music is and then builds the musical story line upon its solid foundation throughout the eight solo piano selections. A gentle waltz entitled, “A Song for Ethan,” opens the CD; the melody is developed through multiple key centers, giving the song harmonic interest as well as a deep reservoir for drawing creative ideas for improvisation. “Inspired By…” is definitely a nod in the Jarrett direction with a driving pulse that showcases Clements’ mastery of contrapuntal lines and developing musical layers.



Two Michael Legrand compositions are presented on Emily’s Song, “Pieces of Dreams” and “You Must Believe in Spring.” Clements also pays tribute to the great Bill Evans with the well known Gershwin classic “I Loves You Porgy.” Clements’ innovative approach to rich voicings and a daring harmonic treatment of the tune keeps the song fresh, while still staying true to the Evans style.

A solo performance CD is perhaps the greatest challenge of all, exposing every weakness in a player’s communicative skill, which usually results in a non-musical experience for the listener. Clements truly has met this challenge on Emily’s Song. Clements has the ability to create and sustain a musically flowing statement that will keep the listener’s interest. Highly recommended!

Paul J. Youngman - Jazz Review (Aug 30, 2006)

Emily’s Song is an elegant sounding CD that features a wonderfully talented pian
EMILY'S SONG

Emily’s Song is an elegant sounding CD that features a wonderfully talented pianist, Alex Clements, who displays a magical touch with an inspirational solo piano performance. A product of our times, Clements borrows from the best in classical, contemporary, jazz and world flavours, he blends them together and delivers them up in an enchanting and delightful manner.

On “A Song For Ethan” composed by Clements for his son, he indicates in the liner notes that he finds amazement in the strengths displayed by his son. The song has a beautiful melody and finds Clements exploring the keyboards full range of emotions, with the tinkling of raindrops on windows and childhood nursery rhymes, hinted at in the foundation of the melody. The listener is transported through this range of emotion, joy, sadness, excitement and mystery.

The next song “Inspired By…” starts almost as a continuation of the previous song. You have to check the track to make sure it’s a new song such is the fluidity of Clements playing. Another well-written song with Clements playing in a style reminiscent of Keith Jarrett. This song set to a medium-paced tempo with the rhythm played on the left hand while the right hand plays some very impressive runs with a grand full sound.

“Emily’s Song,” another family member tribute tune, is a gorgeous blend of traditional blues and jazz. The song has a moderate tempo and a swinging rhythm. The number is played beautifully solo and would be outstanding as a trio piece. Picture a trio in the style of Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Herb Ellis and you get the idea of where I’m coming from.

The CD features two Michele Legrand compositions, “Pieces Of Dreams” and “You Must Believe In Spring.” Clements maintains a warm, touching, yet cool approach in his interpretations. The emotion is always under control and held in check, the technique is flawless.

“I Love You Porgy” by Gershwin and Heyward is as the liner notes imply a tribute to the solo piano of Bill Evans, another cool and technically flawless pianist. The Clements version is one of the finest renditions I have heard. The song allows or motivates Clements to add more spirit and emotion to his playing adding tasteful trills and making wise use of dynamics, silence and accentuation with chords slightly off the beat and with a slight harmonic dissonance. A wonderfully touching and magical piece that has you sighing with pleasure.

The final song on the CD “Waltz For Peace” leaves you wanting more as every good CD should. With a taste of what could be, Clements lays down some magnificent fills, within an imaginative melody line that floats and sways. The song builds to a crescendo and gradually fades back to the intro verse in a melancholy way.

A fine offering of solo piano from an exceptional pianist.

George W. Carroll/The Musicians' Ombudsman

What a wonderful experience to just 'sit' & imbibe & listen to such 'raw' piano
What a wonderful experience to just 'sit' & imbibe & listen to such 'raw' piano talent as put forth through the hands of one Alex Clements. This is a jazz pianist with an enormous heart & soul for his chosen craft.. Jazz & The American Songbook!! His choice of Michel Le Grand's music to add to his already beautified project just shows more the fact that he's an inveterate romantic.
He'll break your heart...He broke mine! Hearing Alex, one definitely 'feels' the music. Next time your laying In bed with your lover, wife, girl...Whatever...Give he/she a nice warm hug and lose yourself in this guy's art. It's very easy to do. I'm in love again!!

Carissa Chesanek www.platterpicks.com

His piano technique gives off such an incredible, romantic, calming feeling, whi
The tranquil sound of the Canadian pianist, Alex Clements, has been heard all over the world, from the United States, Morocco, the Caribbean and so on. His smooth sound is known from all over.

The Government of Alberta actually presented him with a very high award; the Alberta Achievement Award.

The composer/pianist released his first solo album, Emily’s Song, which is inspired by the people in his life, and three of the songs are covers.

His piano technique gives off such an incredible, romantic, calming feeling, which could put anybody at ease. This album is deep, passionate, and full of talent, a definite must have for those long, cold, sitting-by-the-fire nights. 8/10

Jazz Times

Alex Clements paints in watercolor tones on Emily's Song
Alex Clements paints in watercolor tones on Emily's Song, a heartfelt solo piano disc that puts the Alberta based composer's graceful melodicsm front and center. The title track and "A Song for Ethan," dedicated to Clements' children, have a sunny, lilting manner that juxtaposes innocence with inner strength, love of today with hope for the future. The other tracks may have stormier undercurrents or somber overtones, but Clements never abandons that core optimism, and his aching rendition of "I love you, Porgy" seems bathed in soft light.