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Reviewers: Tony Augarde, Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Andrew James JOHNSON

Winterís Heart




Echoes of Love

Moonlight Shadows

Taylorís Theme

Elysian Dreams


Winterís Heart

Ka Nalu

Touch of Her

A Great Expectation

Out of Solitude

A Distant Time

Andrew James Johnson (piano)

No recording details

PRIVATE [45:31]

British pianist and composer Andrew James Johnson is one of the latest musicians to have released a solo album devoted exclusively to his own music. Whether itís Geoff Eales, a jazz musician of electric heritage, or a less specialised practitioner, these personal odysseys are invariably revealing of the artistís musical personality even if Ė as in the case of this latest disc Ė there are no notes to support the music-making.

Winterís Heart is an eleven-track album cast in visual imagery of a wintry landscape. This is no Schubertian terrain though, as the music cleaves closer to the sphere of romantic rumination in which treble tracery is supported by a relatively straightforward left-hand harmonic underpin. Songs of dreamland, love and loss abound. Echoes of Love offers such a compound conveyed with great richness of articulation whilst the left hand harmony steps ofMoonlight Shadows are accompanied by lyric curlicues in the right. Taylorís Theme seems to feature a cello obbligato Ė the lack of any documentation is doubly frustrating at such moments - whilst Elysian Dreams offers music that is not dissimilar to, but far more athletic than, that of Ludovico Einaudi.

Johnson manages to evoke texture attractively and his themes are warmly conceived. The means arenít too varied Ė the procedures are very similar Ė but when he cuts loose a little, as he does in Ka Nalu, the results are decidedly affirmative and generate an exultant feel. Sometimes it seems to me he can overdo the left hand accenting and pointing. Severe critics would want some Ė any Ė dissonance. But set against that Johnson writes winning themes, evokes a sense of generalised place, and can draw on filmic-scenic elements in a quasi-improvisational way that proves most attractive to those who can free themselves of -isms, affiliations and the stylistic cul-de-sac.

Jonathan Woolf


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