Monday, October 24, 2016

Album Review: Beyond Words by Dan Chadburn

Dan Chadburn is a pianist and composer who has appeared on several compilation albums dedicated to various charitable causes alongside other notable and well-established pianists in the music scene. His sixth album, Beyond Words, is comprised of fourteen solo piano compositions, with each piece capturing a moment in time.

“Awakening” begins softly with high-register notes, where Dan initially lends a gentle touch to the keys before lower-register notes soon join in accompaniment. An emotional tenderness and graceful sentimentally is felt throughout the composition, likewise characterizing much of the album. Picking up the pace a notch is “Joyful Morning”, which exudes a distinct air of buoyancy and innocence like that of children playing and skipping about in the sunshine. Following next is the more contemplative “Healing Waters”, a piece that was inspired by an early morning swim at the seashore. One of my favorites, bolder mid-to-lower register chords provide a steady undercurrent for its delicately flowing higher register notes, perhaps to musically illustrate the ocean’s waves gently rolling in and out. The likewise intriguing “Crossroads” is about life’s journey and the varying paths to choose from, which is musically conveyed by its unpredictable melody that gently ebbs and flows throughout, with a subtly changing and evolving pace along its course. My absolute favorite composition herein is “Tears of Angels”, which was composed in memory of those killed and wounded at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12th, 2016. This unforgettable tragedy occurred in my hometown and directly affected the lives of many people in my community. Beginning in a solemn tone, sparse notes and spacious chords impart a sense of sorrowful comfort along the composition’s beautiful and perfectly understated melody. Interestingly, to say the least, its melody caught my attention even before I learned of the song’s inspiration. I’m also particularly fond of “Falling Forward”, which possesses a certain air of mystery and unknowing. The subtly waltzing and classical bent of the composition brings to mind that of a lone ballet dancer. Also especially noteworthy is the emotionally tender “Kal-Boy”, which was written in memory of Dan’s twenty-year-old cat on the evening he crossed the rainbow bridge. Conveying both the sorrow felt for his beloved pet’s passing along with the celebration of his life, this piece perfectly captures the emotions experienced during that most heartbreaking moment. Closing out the album with a peaceful optimism is “Lullaby for Peace”, which Dan has offered as “a prayer of hope for all of humanity to learn to live together”.

Inspired by “the people and events that shape our world”, Beyond Words is a deeply sincere and sentimentally imbued recording that subtly varies from gently uplifting to peacefully contemplative moods. Fans, especially, of the solo piano genre will likely find the characteristically non-intrusive and simple elegance of these compositions to be as overall lovely and comforting as I did! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes and more.

This review was originally published on Journeyscapes Radio on 10/24/16.