Alicia Bessette | Reservoir

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Wachusett Records

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United States - Massachusetts

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Jazz: Piano Jazz New Age: Solo Instrumental Moods: Solo Instrumental
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Reservoir

by Alicia Bessette

Each piano solo wraps the listener up in its own story, capturing singular moments, such as snow melting, or the thought that crosses your mind before you blow out candles, or the act of sitting in a parked car, listening to rain.
Genre: Jazz: Piano Jazz
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Open Your Hand
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2:48 album only
2. Under Water Looking Up
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3:08 album only
3. Mantle Clock
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2:20 album only
4. Harrington Trail
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3:23 album only
5. What Did You Wish For? (Var. On I Could Have Danced All Night)
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3:19 album only
6. The Chestnut Tree Dreams
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3:07 album only
7. Fille and Sweet
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3:01 album only
8. Caller's Place
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4:32 album only
9. Cape Cod Letters
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5:37 album only
10. Shapeshift
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5:34 album only
11. Soon (variations on Spartacus Love Theme)
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4:36 album only
12. For Celia
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1:39 album only
13. Reprise: Mantle Clock
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0:26 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
When she was barely seven, Alicia Bessette stared into a tiny mirror on the lid of a music box inherited from her Great Aunt Ella. She listened to the music winding down, a tinny version of "I Could Have Danced All Night," and wondered where the future would take her....

A little older, Alicia and her best friend found a secret world in an old stone fireplace deep in the woods. Inhabited by shy elves, Caller's Place became the meeting spot for pink ponies, tigers, and all the creatures of a child's imagination....

Adolescence. Another friendship, this one rich with piano duets and poetry, late night adventures, and convertible rides in January snow. And letters, Cape Cod Letters, that filled the summer months and kept the connection strong....

Now, in adulthood, Alicia still finds reason to return to her roots in Massachusetts. Maybe it's a hike up Harrington Trail on Mt. Wachusett and the pleasure of an afternoon spent in sunlight with good friends.

This is the stuff of Alicia Bessette's life, the times she transforms to music to share with her listeners in Reservoir, her first solo piano recording. In music that blends the beauty of nature with the enchantment of childhood, Alicia both soothes and surprises the listener with her unique arrangements. From the light and airy "Open Your Hand" to the fiery ardor of "The Chestnut Tree Dreams" and the fluidity of "Under Water Looking Up," Alicia demonstrates an understanding of the intimate harmony between music and the natural world.

For Alicia, composing music is interior work. She says, "I am inspired by the mental solitude of it, and by the challenge of translating something that exists entirely in my head to the real world for others to enjoy." Both musician and writer, she sees a connection in the creative process for both. "Good writing should make you want to write," she says. "For me, it's the same with music. When I hear good music, I want to make some myself."

And that is what Alicia does here. She makes very good music. Listening to Reservoir is like opening that magical music box. As a pianist and composer, Alicia Bessette possesses the sensibility of a poet, and she has never lost the wonder of a child. "What Did You Wish For?" she asks her listener. A simple answer: music like this.

Susanne Rubenstein
Princeton, Massachusetts
September 2002


Reviews


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annette m browne

the insight of this music is uplifting..i particularly like "harrington trail" w
i use this wonderful soulful piano music as a start and end to my yoga classes...the cd contains both moods of momentum and transition and meditative aspects...

Mike Atwood

Inspiring. Stimulating and relaxing at the same time.
The music was amazing. Each key played flows smoothely into the next, and the listener can almost anticipate the notes before they are hit. I found the CD very inspiring, it opens the mind allowing for clear thinking, but is also nastalgic, each piece seems to tell a story.

David Maldonado

Reservoir_Alicia Bessette
Spectacular!!! This is the kind of music that remember us we are angels living a human experience!!! Again, spectacular!!! Thanks, Alicia, you are a voice form heaven...

Kathy Parsons

An auspicious beginning!
“Reservoir” is an impressive debut of original solos and variations on familiar themes by pianist Alicia Bessette. Drawing on memories of growing up and experiences in nature, Bessette takes us on a most enjoyable tour of meaningful places and events in her life. Most of the pieces have a nice easy flow to them, but a few are bigger and a bit more turbulent.

The CD opens with “Open Your Hand,” a sweet and light-hearted piece that conveys an almost child-like innocence. “Under Water Looking Up” is one of my favorites. It has a beautiful, gentle flow, and yet sparkles like light dancing off of water. There are no hard edges - just a soothing tranquility. “What Did You Wish For?” begins with the melody of “I Could Have Danced All Night,” played in the style of a music box. As a child, Bessette actually heard this song on her aunt’s music box, and wondered what the future would hold for her. The song is fluid and dreamy like a young girl’s imaginings. “The Chestnut Tree Dreams” is darker and a bit more classical in feel. “Shapeshift” is a real beauty. The opening moments seem inspired by Bach, but as the title implies, the themes shift into other forms seamlessly, creating a fascinating piece. I also really like “Soon,” which has a sense of urgency or impatience at the thought of something coming, and wanting that something now!

“Reservoir” is a very promising debut from Alicia Bessette, and I look forward to seeing what comes next!

Tracy Zeender

Excellent and uplifting. The music is top quality. It immediately reminds you of
The music reminds me of the places that were special to me as a child and imprinted on my soul. My immediate reaction was to buy one for everyone I know. It is the kind of music you just have to share.

Jay

Heaven's Blanket !
To be swaddled in the light, the warm, the pure energy of music from the soul's center; this is calm in any storm - find it for yourself, now.

Bill Binkelman

soothing, human, and devoid of the usual new age piano clichés
Alicia Bessette's solo piano recording, Reservoir, is a solid addition to the always-growing field of new age piano music. The artist takes us through thirteen personal musical sketches from her life (according to well-written liner notes by Susanne Rubenstein). Melodic and accessible, yet not too sing-songy or pop-sounding, the songs on Reservoir are easy to enjoy from the first listen, yet they also reward the patient listener's attention through multiple playings. Part of this reward is owed to the disc's excellent engineering (kudos to Benjamin Lipchak) which yields the right blend of immediacy and distance. The music never sounds "too" intimate; the album is expertly recorded and well-balanced (don't minimize this - many a piano album can sound muddy, isolated, or flat).

A variety of moods run throughout the recordings, from the cheerful friendliness of "Open Your Hand" (the first track) to the dramatic wistfulness of "Harrington Trail" to the complexities of the shifting time signatures on "Cape Cod Letters." Through it all, Bessette shows both her talent (her control of nuance and shading is admirable) and her soulfullness (I enjoyed the emotional ambiguity of "Shapeshift" which seems to meander from the powerful to the quiet in a matter of seconds).

While this is not the more commercially-viable piano music of Kevin Kern or David Lanz (and that comment is not meant to disparage either of them), the music on Reservoir is also not in the least bit inaccessible. Alicia Bessette's playing and composing is obviously heartfelt (the liner notes are revelatory in how they explain what lies behind her music), which one can easily glean from tracks like "Fille and Sweet." While sometimes her reach for drama extends a tad too far (such as on "The Chestnut Tree Dreams") and histrionics replace subtlety, mostly what Reservoir reveals is an artist who is "plugged in" to her muse and responds in kind - with sincerity and passion. Soothing, human, and devoid of some of the usual new age piano clichés, Reservoir signals yet another artist to keep an "ear" on. Alicia Bessette has talent and heart - a combination that is always worthy of attention.