Catherine Marie Charlton | Red Leaf, Grey Sky (Piano Improvisations)

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George Winston Keith Jarrett Philip Aaberg

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United States - Pennsylvania

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New Age: Contemporary Instrumental Classical: Piano solo Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Red Leaf, Grey Sky (Piano Improvisations)

by Catherine Marie Charlton

Contemplative, stirring & intricate piano improv. "...genius, sensitivity and strength to fuse contemporary improvisation with classical styling in a way that stops you in your tracks ...a star in ascension." - Phil'a Society for Art, Literature & Music
Genre: New Age: Contemporary Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Lullaby for Swingtime
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2:48 $0.99
2. Introspection
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4:09 $0.99
3. Wonder
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3:43 $0.99
4. Red Leaf, Grey Sky
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5:46 $0.99
5. Transformation
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5:16 $0.99
6. The Sun is Shining, the Birds are Singing
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2:45 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Red Leaf, Grey Sky was recorded on October 24, 2010. The day was sunny and crisp and the leaves were just starting to peak into brilliant colors. The recording opportunity came up spur-of-the-moment on my first solo road trip with my then 11-month old son. Babe was pushed around in a stroller while Mommy played, and the emotions of the year poured forth into the piano. “Lullaby for Swingtime” came to be over the course of several months while I improvised on folk tunes while my son napped in his swing in the piano studio. “The Sun is Shining, the Birds are Singing” was originally written in 1993 during my study abroad in Hamburg, Germany. This joyous piece about a huge life adventure had never been recorded, and it seemed to me a fitting bookend to a studio session marking the beginning of new adventures in my life as a mother. The remainder of the tracks are spontaneous compositions/free improvisations created in the studio. For six weeks following the session the music was my driving companion while I watched the leaves turn and fall against a backdrop of everchanging sky. As you listen my wish is for the music to guide your reflections on gentle changes of season and your own life journeys. -CMC


to write a review

Raj Manoharan (

The RajMan Review
Sometimes less truly is more, as exemplified by Catherine Marie Charlton’s latest album, a short but effective collection of six piano performances.

Quantity does not necessarily translate into quality, and while Charlton’s release may be short in the former, it is bountiful in the latter. The entire CD unfolds in less than thirty minutes, but it is so pleasantly engaging that you can enjoy it twice as many times as a full-length album that may not be as enjoyable.

The great thing about a short album such as this is that you don’t have to skip to your favorite tracks if you’re pressed for time. And every song on this album is so delightful that you can listen to the CD in its entirety several times over.

Of the six tracks, Charlton composed two and improvised the rest, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to the album. Every song has a solid and intricate structure to it. None of the tracks meander; they’re all tight and to the point, all the while displaying a sense of playfulness and quiet beauty.

The last song, “The Sun Is Shining, The Birds Are Singing,” is a slight departure from the rest of the collection as the composition is very quirky and truly does personify how one might feel when the sun is actually shining and the birds are actually singing, which could also serve as an apt description of the general disposition of the album.

Michael Diamond (

Review excerpt from Music & Media Focus
A lot could be written about Catherine’s history and accomplishments, but a glimpse into her latest release, “Red Leaf, Grey Sky: Piano Improvisations” beckons. I think the concept of “quality over quantity” is appropriate to mention in that, while the six songs on this recording clock in at just under 25 minutes, it is so rich in content that it doesn’t feel like an abbreviated work by the time you are finished listening to it. Perhaps it would be best classified as an EP (extended play).

Catherine has an interesting style on the piano that draws equally from new age, jazz, and classical. Not surprising since among her influences, she includes: George Winston, Liz Story, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Cecil Taylor, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy - quite a range of composers from which to draw inspiration. But the way in which she integrates these influences is what makes her special. Overall, her compositions are quite sensitive and lovely, however, every once in a while you hear something in them that makes you aware that she is not afraid to tread closer to the edge musically and let her more left-of-center jazz inclinations show.

Some solo piano recordings can work well as background music to set a mood, while others like this one inspire more active listening and ask more of the listener. Those looking for an evocative and eclectic musical journey, will certainly find it in the piano compositions and improvisations of Red Leaf, Grey Sky.”