The title, Bloom Road, symbolizes the journey through life and the potential for the soul blooming along the way. It features some solo piano music and songs performed by a small combo with piano/keyboards, saxophone, Native American flute, and bass. The combinations of instruments changes through the songs.
The CD begins with the lovely and haunting “Moonrise”, a duet with flute and synth chords. “Prayer for Janet” is a quiet, thoughtful piano solo. “Sweet Rain” goes more up-tempo; it’s in the adult contemporary jazz genre. The combo performs light swing in a major key.
“Falling” is an expressive piano solo that looks inward and works through emotional questions. “Beautiful Day” continues with another piano solo, but this has a different texture and a more easy-going mood. “Dulcimer in C Minor” is a piano solo with a folk-like tonality. The open-chord structure gives a sense of indefinite modality, so this song is a little more ponderous. “A Moment” returns to jaunty and dance-like instrumental combination. The lovely cello-bass line adds to the drama. The title track “Bloom Road” is a gorgeously mystical piece. Native flute leads with a luxurious melody and is accompanied by piano, subdued percussion and synth effects. The CD jumps into another adult contemporary jazz piece in “Pop Top.” “Heaven” is a thoughtful and pensive piano solo, reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi pieces.
“Torrent” bounces back to the contemporary jazz genre. This funky piece has a pronounced bass line and a sexy tenor saxophone bouncing lines back and forth with the piano. The final song “Who Loves You” ends the album with a piano solo. The melodic and harmonic ideas go through phases of development.
The solo piano and contemplative pieces are beautiful. The adult contemporary jazz pieces are nicely produced and skillfully played. I’m not sure these two genres belong together on the same album; it feels like Mr. Kennedy couldn’t make up his mind about what kind of album he was producing. The duality isn’t a problem if a listener is playing this album as music for relaxing and hanging around with friends. Listeners who want music for meditation, healing therapies, and rituals will need to put together a play list with the songs that work for those purposes.
Overall, the quality of composition, musicianship, and production are very high. A great deal of talent is evident on this CD. The mixed genres may appeal to some, but confuse others.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Artist: Dan Kennedy
Mt. Pollux Music, 2015.
MP3 - $8.99, CD - $15.99