This mood-lifting album doesn’t fit well in the New Age genre (although that’s its classification on Amazon). It’s a neo-classical genre, although it could also be considered adult contemporary. Santoyo’s early influences include classical, jazz, film scores, New Age, and pop, and this extensive range of musical styles is reflected in the compositions on this album.

Santoyo’s piano skills are featured on many of the tracks on this lengthy album. He demonstrates his skills as a composer, arranger and producer, blending solo instrument pieces with small instrumental ensemble and large-scale orchestral pieces. There is some lovely guitar. All of the instruments are played by Santoyo. 
Throughout the songs, the themes of joy, optimism, and courage shine through. Some of the melodies owe a bit to rock power ballads. I especially liked Track 5: Nostalgia, where he blends skillful Latino-style picked guitar with unusual pianistic textures with synth background sounds. Track 8: Awakening yields a blend of ambient percussion with Euro-style dramatic film score horns and melodies.

Santoyo has gathered the best pieces of his musical career to present on this album. It’s an expansive collection in breadth, depth, and content. The writing and playing is quite beautiful, sometimes sensuous or heart-throbbing. Recommended for those who enjoy listening to contemporary piano and orchestral music with an international flavor.

~Review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Alejandro Santoyo
18 tracks, 72 minutes
CD $13.98, MP3 $9.49