Gronau is a one-man cauldron of creativity. Thoughts of Tomorrow showcases his wide variety of musical ideas and modes of expression. The shifts in sound and texture, melody, harmony, and rhythm produce a fascinating range of music in this 16-track album. The theme is hope for the future. Gronau says, “I think humans are smart enough to create a good society for future generations, and one of the keys is the utilization of music.”

The songs on the album feature Gronau on the piano, synthesizer and organ. These are blended with bass, drums, and a wide variety of other instruments. The music stretches from jazz to progressive rock, ambient space, and edgy pop. Sometimes the songs are derivative (but not trite); other songs are wildly original.

The CD opens with the world-music influenced “Brazil”, which was inspired by the world soccer championship games that were held there. It’s reminiscent of the Carlos Santana sound with its rich Hammond organ melodies. Track 2: At the Beach, is more laid-back and pensive. Track 3: Deep in My Heart, returns to a more energetic, progressive jazz idiom. Track 4: Make it Happen leans toward the ambient-space genre with its strong synthesizer melodies. Track 5: The Secret of House #15 is a wonderful, slightly spooky and slinky jazz piece with a dominant bass line and a piano melody out of a smoky, late-night bar.

Track 7: New World leaps fully into the ambient-space genre. Tracks 8 & 9: Journey Part 1 and Part 2 explore musical ideas, first through a simple piano exposition, and then through a fully orchestrated development. Background noises include train sounds and bird song.

The longest cut on the CD, Track 15: The Magician expresses “a secret magic language that does not need words.” returns to the progressive jazz-rock idiom. Gronau is at his best here. An energetic, driving rhythm and bass line pulse hard beneath various synth and organ melodies. The final song, Track 16: Prophet Talk, features a synthesizer from the eighties, the Prophet 5. It’s lightly jazzy and conversational as different melodies and chordal statements toss the musical ideas back and forth.

Different tracks may be used for different purposes, but overall, this CD is a soundtrack for life. It evokes a wide range of moods and feelings. A person can play this to create a musical ambience, but also play the CD for rambling personal contemplation. The excellent musicianship is always at the forefront. Well done!

Review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Uwe Gronau
Uwe Gronau and TRM, released July, 2014
CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes as a CD ($13.95) or digital download ($9.99)
English-language website is at: