Written on: 16/08/2012
Pianist Laura McMillan does what few other musicians do. She changes back-and-forth between tempos within her original compositions. Sure this happens occasionally in jazz, rock and country, but only once in a blue moon. McMillan, a classically-trained new age solo pianist, does it on virtually every tune (or at least 10 out of 12) on her second album, the recently-released Linger Longer on her own label. The down-side is it is occasionally disconcerting because most of us are used to music staying at one tempo during each song. The up-side is that it is sort of a fascinating experience because you never really know what McMillan is going to do next or where she is going within any given composition. It held my interest more than usual with solo piano music which, if the performer is not careful, tends to sound somewhat the same from one piece to another. McMillan does not write your standard, catchy, highly-melodic piano pieces. These sound somewhat improvisational, but there is some very nice melodic content sprinkled throughout. It is just that she develops the melody line a bit and then branches off with a different tempo or some strong chord progressions and she may or may not come back to that melody before the piece ends. It keeps you guessing; that’s for sure.
The first and next-to-the-last tunes are both lullabies and quite sweet and loving. “December 12th” and “Empty” both have some loud, heavy chording in them. “Twirling” (music for children to spin around to), the title track, “Dear Heaven” and “Without You” all have pretty melodies. I especially liked the last 30-seconds of “Letting Go” (that part could have served as the basis for an entire other song).
All in all this is a very nice album of piano music. I would think that piano music lovers might want to check it out specifically because it sounds a bit different. It is available on-line at a variety of different sales sites (some of which allow you to preview track excerpts).
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