Latest Entries »

The Recording Academy, Los Angeles

The Recording Academy, Los Angeles

I am a San Francisco Bay area music producer, recording artist, and journalist with over 30 years experience writing arts and media reviews for nationally published magazines and more recently world-wide on the internet. I’ve been the music editor for the Los Angeles-based Awareness Magazine for the past 6 years as well as a free lance journalist/ publicist, and editor of Music and Media Focus.


As a music industry professional, I currently belong to The Recording Academy and am a voting member of The GRAMMY’S.




Ambient Alchemy front final

NEW – AVAILABLE NOW at Amazon and iTunes!

AMBIENT ALCHEMY –  Steven Halpern & Michael Diamond  with special guest Michael Manring.


“An enchanted world of musical dreamscapes.”


Click here to hear samples and read about it.



  • Reached #2 on the ZMR Top 100 chart for international radio airplay. 
  • Nominee  in the ZMR Awards for “Best Electronic Album” and “Best Ambient Album.”
  • Nominee in the Independent Music Awards for “Best Ambient Album.”



indigo-moonAs a recording artist I have 5 CD’s of ambient music with elements of electronic, jazz, and rock. My previous release, “Indigo Moon“, features a guest appearance by Jefferson Starship and Rod Stewart keyboardist, Pete Sears.  Also appearing as a special guest is new age music pioneer Steven Halpen, whose record label distributes this album, as well as my first release, “Atlantis Rising,” which was named by CD Baby as “one of the best new releases of the year“.




md-studio-pic-11Along with studio recording and producing projects for other artists, I perform doing  electronic music and synthmulti-media shows  in addition to  playing synthesizers and electric guitar in SF Bay area bands.





I also produce music videos, such as the ones for Ambient Alchemy below, as well as creating soundtracks for video, guided imagery, etc.



Featuring excerpts from 4 songs with visionary art images:

(Be sure to watch video in “full screen” mode for best effect)



New: CELESTIAL SUITE – from Ambient Alchemy album
(this track has been submitted for GRAMMY consideration)

(Be sure to watch video in “full screen” mode for best effect)


For more music videos on this site, visit: 

Chill out with the enchanted sights and sounds of Michael’s visionary art music videos.
Click here.

Now showing: “Merlin’s Garden,”  and more…

(For a cool “double feature” – take a fantasy journey to otherworldly alien landscapes with Indigo Moon, then come back to earth with a visit to Merlin’s Garden which features original music and nature photography filmed in the San Francisco Bay area)


Also, for more on my music and writing services on this site, click on these page links:

Michael Diamond CD’s

Writing and Promotional Services



Atlantis Rising

Six full length songs from my various CD’s can be heard on the music player here:

(shorter samples of every song on all my CD’s can be heard on the links here)



 My music is available for licensing as soundtracks for films, video, guided imagery CD’s, etc.


CONTACT: mdiamondstudio@aol.comChroma Zone


Michael Diamond Facebook page – click here. 


*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Under The Stars by Joanne Lazzaro

Album: Under The Stars
Artist: Joanne Lazzaro

Under the StarsThere have been many solo flute albums over the years, but perhaps the most seminal in the new age genre was the iconic Inside, recorded by Paul Horn in the Taj Mahal back in 1968. Its natural ambiance and reverberation gave it a dimension that enchanted listeners. Since then numerous albums have been recorded in a wide variety of settings including cathedrals, caves and caverns, in the Great Pyramid, and even while rafting down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon as The Paul Winter Consort did in 1985. Inspired by the original Paul Horn recording, flutist Joanne Lazzaro decided to do a solo flute recording in a unique and sonically resonant setting: the 100-inch telescope dome at the historic Mount Wilson Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains outside of Los Angeles.


View full article »

Album: Fall Into Winter
Artist: Bryan Carrigan

Fall Into WinterLooking out my window a few days before Thanksgiving, and seeing the red and golden leaves drifting gently from the trees to the ground, it seems like the perfect time to be listening to and writing about the latest release from Bryan Carrigan entitled “Fall Into Winter.” While this would be considered a seasonal recording, it’s not a holiday album. In fact, as Bryan humorously shares: “This is not your mama’s seasonal album and absolutely no ‘Jingle Bells’ or Christmas covers were harmed in the making of this CD.” He goes on to describe it as: “…loaded with over 73 minutes of wintery ambient goodness, capturing not only the cold and dark tone of winter but the stillness, beauty, and introspection that the season evokes.”


View full article »

Out of the Blue by Cory Lavine

Album: Out of the Blue
Artist: Cory Lavine

Out-of-the-BlueI really like the concept behind the title of Cory Lavine’s album Out of the Blue. In his words: “Over the years, I, and maybe you yourself have been inspired by people who’ve come in and out of your life. Many of these who I am referring to, came to us from out of nowhere. They came, “Out of the Blue.” Who sent them? Where did they come from? How did they know when and where to find us, and why? Regardless if we ever find out the answers I believe when we look deep within ourselves, we can often answer the reason why. This album is dedicated to all those who’ve inspired us to be our best, and to be sure we’re living out our lives to the fullest.”


View full article »

Christmas Beyond by Steven C

Album: Christmas Beyond
Artist: Steven C

steven_c-christmas-beyond-coverFor many artists who record their albums in studios, the ideal is to have the space be as neutral as possible. Then later, ambiance is added electronically through reverb and other effects. For his Christmas Beyond album, multi-platinum composer and pianist Steven C (a.k.a. Steven C. Anderson) wanted the space to be as much a part of the recording as the instruments. To fulfill this desire, Steven was granted permission to record this project in the iconic 100-year-old Cathedral of Saint Paul in Minnesota. As he shares: “While putting together the music, it became apparent through my muse that to capture the timeless sacredness I wished to embody and create, it needed to be done in a reverent and sacred place. Through her vision, the Cathedral of Saint Paul was the place. It has been a highlight of my career to be able to record there, and I can’t wait ot perform these songs live for an audience.”


View full article »

You Are My Home by Michael Whalen

Album: You Are My Home
Artist: Michael Whalen

Michael Whalen album coverTo say that Michael Whalen has had, and continues to have, an illustrious career in the music industry would certainly qualify for understatement of the year status. His experiences and achievements are the stuff of dreams for many aspiring artists and composers. To mention them all would take a good deal of this feature article and leave little room to talk about his wonderful new album. But briefly, Michael is a two time Emmy® award-winner and a veteran of more than 750 television and film scores, thousands of commercials and numerous TV themes and corporate identity pieces. His most well known credits include music for “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, “Inside Edition”, themes & network IDs for HBO, PBS, CBS, Comcast, additional music for the feature film “What the Bleep Do We Know?,” short films for Disney, and the theme for “Good Morning America”.

View full article »

Asia Beauty by Ron Korb

Album: Asia Beauty
Artist: Ron Korb

Asia BeautyAs the old saying goes: “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” and I suppose that extends to CD’s as well. However, its hard not to be extremely impressed with the first impression flutist Ron Korb’s Asia Beauty CD makes with its stunning packaging and 36 page booklet with gorgeous full color photos and liner notes. Before even hearing the music, you are drawn into Ron’s world travels to exotic places and spaces. Fortunately, the music is equally impressive as well.


View full article »

Christmas by Curtis Macdonald

Album: Christmas
Artist: Curtis Macdonald

Christmas CVR 500 X 500Among the many nice things I could say about keyboardist/composer Curtis Macdonald is that his creativity and versatility seem to know no bounds. His latest release of holiday music entitled Christmas, follows in the wake of a very different kind of album he released last year, which I had the pleasure of writing about. View full article »

Shastro: artist profile

Artist: Shastro

sha1-400pxjpgMulti-instrumentalist Shastro, who was born in Venice, Italy, has spent a good part of his life traveling the world on a quest for musical and spiritual inspiration. Although he began his professional career as a fashion photographer, all that changed one day on a crowded street in India. In 1985, Shastro left Italy to live in a spiritual community in India. As he describes: “I saw along the street a young Indian boy selling bamboo flutes. Without hesitation I bought one for 50 cents and I remember distinctly a voice inside me that said ‘now you will no longer be a photographer but a musician.’ View full article »

Little Things Of Life by Eichstaedt

Album: Little Things Of Life
Artist: Eichstaedt

Things Of LifeWhen I wrote a feature article about Eichstaedt’s first album, My Own Little World in 2013, I ended by saying: “The debut album by Petra Eichstaedt shows potential for this evolving artist. As the saying goes, ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with at single step,’ and Petra’s first venture as a solo recording artist shows that she is on firm footing and following a promising creative path. I’ll look forward to her continuing adventures.” And now here we are in 2015 ready to set out on a new musical sojourn with her follow up release, Little Things Of Life. View full article »

Album: All Our Yesterdays
Artist: Blackmore’s Night

BLACKMORE allouryes DIGIPACK.inddI always knew that the group Blackmore’s Night was popular and had an extensive international following, but I must say I was taken a bit by surprise when I posted my feature article about their previous album, Dancer and The Moon, and it generated 500 views here on Music and Media on the first day alone. However, for those who may not be familiar, as I wrote at that time: “The music of Blackmore’s Night is an alchemical brew of Renaissance and Medieval music, Celtic, English folk, and rock influences. The seven-piece band employs a wide range of instruments harkening from the Middle Ages to the present.” This retro mix is lovingly referred to as “Ren-rock” by some of the group’s adoring fans.


View full article »

CD: Illumination of the Heart
Artist: Deuter

Illumination-of-the-Heart cover (Deuter)With over 60 albums to his credit since 1971, Deuter has to be one of the most prolific artists in new age music – a genre in which he was one of the pioneers. In my more than 30 years as a new age music journalist, I have written about many of his albums, the most recent being Reiki Hands of Love. In that feature article, I wrote about his formative years as well as his musical and spiritual background. Readers who are interested are encouraged to check out that article for further information. But briefly, Deuter (pronounced doy-ter) who was born in Germany remembers the first time he heard someone playing a flute. In his words: “It was like a light coming from the heavens. For one of my birthdays I was given a flute and that was the beginning for me.”


View full article »

The Ascent by Amy Faithe

CD: The Ascent
Artist: Amy Faithe

The AscentFrom soul to Soul describes the journey of vocalist Amy Faithe in the creation of her debut new age music release, The Ascent. In the years preceding the creation of this album, Amy has made a name for herself in the jazz, soul, and R&B genres, influenced by artists such as Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. However, with this album, Amy has a sense of moving into greater expression of what she feels is her life purpose and higher calling… to create music that is healing and spiritually uplifting.


View full article »

Keys of Light by Dan Chadburn

CD: Keys of Light
Artist: Dan Chadburn

Keys of LightKeys of Light is the third album by talented pianist/composer Dan Chadburn that I have had the pleasure of writing about. Detailed information about Dan’s musical background and extensive training in classical music, electro-acoustic music, and experiments in the avant-garde can be seen in my previous feature articles on his Nocturnes CD and Whispers The Falling Snow album which I also created a music video for. But briefly, Dan has won numerous awards and accolades, received worldwide radio airplay, and his performance venues have included Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall in Boston and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Additionally, his choral compositions have been recorded and performed in the Concert Hall of The Kennedy Center. View full article »

Winding Down by David Nevue

CD: Winding Down
Artist: David Nevue

windingdown_300It doesn’t take a crystal ball to know that we are in a time of tremendous change, upheaval, and turmoil. One only has to turn on the TV or read a newspaper. These changes have also been foretold in The Bible, the Hopi Prophecy, some Eastern religions, and more. While for many, the state of affairs in our world is cause for feelings of helplessness and despair, for others there is a sense of hope and a higher vision that guides their perceptions. David Nevue is one of the latter, and the unfolding of current events plays a role in the theme of his latest release, Winding Down. View full article »

Moon and Shadows by Barbara Hills

CD: Moon and Shadows
Artist: Barbara Hills

cover picBefore even hearing the music on Moon and Shadows by Barbara Hills, its hard not to be impressed by the stunning package it is presented in. This double CD is produced in a small ‘book’ format, which includes fifteen photos of places that have inspired Barbara Hills for many years. Although the fact that there is such a visual aspect to the album is not surprising, considering that’s where Barbara’s roots are. View full article »

Songs of Leaving by Angelo Râpan

CD: Songs Of Leaving
Artist: Angelo Râpan

Songs-of-LeavingThe subtitle under Angelo Râpan’s name on his website reads: “Musical Versatility.” This is a bit of an understatement concerning the talents of this Romanian-born pianist/composer, whose musical repertoire expands beyond his classical roots, encompassing music theatre, opera, music for dance, Argentine tango, world music, and with the latest chapter in his life, which he describes as, “contemporary instrumental music of a reflective, soothing nature.” View full article »

Eight Winds by Bob Ardern

CD: Eight Winds
Artist: Bob Ardern

EightWindsCoverAs the old saying goes, “the third time’s a charm.” And that certainly holds true for the third album I’ve written about by talented composer and finger-style guitarist, Bob Ardern. Although, in reality, the first two albums, Wire Rosewood & Roots, and Craftsman were equally charming. Since those two feature articles contain background about Bob, I’ll refer interested readers to them, rather than reiterate it here. However, my recent interview with Bob includes some interesting personal perspectives and inside info about the music and creative process of this fleet-fingered Canadian guitarist.


View full article »

The Sunflower Waltz by Anne Trenning

CD: The Sunflower Waltz
Artist: Anne Trenning

sunflower waltzWhile pianist/composer Anne Trenning has featured a variety of accompanists on some of her previous albums, on this fourth release, The Sunflower Waltz, she has decided to fly solo. This album is envisioned as a “greatest hits” assemblage, offering ten new selections, and six previously released compositions interpreted as solo piano productions. View full article »

CD: Silhouettes Of Love
Artists: David Lanz and Kristin Amarie
Contact: and

Sihouettes - CD coverA master alchemist could not have come up with a more perfect blend of elements than the chemistry created in the music of David Lanz and Kristin Amarie – pure magic! Along with a truly all-star cast of musical accompanists, their new album, Silhouettes Of Love is a stunning synergy of new age, smooth jazz, neo-classical influences, and more, which transcends it roots to produce an innovative sound that breaks new ground for these talented artists – a piano icon and a rising star. While Kristin’s previous solo release introduced her impressive vocal abilities, this album with David Lanz takes it to a new level and reveals an artistic interaction that is greater than the sum if its parts.


View full article »

Imaginings by Paul Adams

CD: Imaginings
Artist: Paul Adams

ImaginingsI remember doing coloring book exercises in art class back in elementary school, where everybody tried their best to color neatly within the lines. However, there was always one kid in the class for whom those lines were irrelevant and presented boundaries to be transcended. I think that Paul Adams was that kid. While I say that jokingly, I believe that idea of transcending boundaries has infused Paul’s music over the years. I’ve been a fan of his for two and a half decades and remember reviewing his earliest recordings starting around 1990. One of the most fun things about receiving a new Paul Adam’s release is that you never know what kind of music or fusion of elements it will be, considering that he has had nine critically acclaimed albums in five different musical genres.

View full article »

CD: It’s About Love
Artist: Karen Marie Garrett

It's About Love We’ve all heard the adage about “quality, not quantity.” That is most certainly the case with the new release from pianist Karen Marie Garrett, entitled It’s About Love. Although it is a 5 song EP, Karen has spared no expense to produce a recording that exemplifies the above statement to the nth degree. Before we even get to the music itself, let me say a few words about who and what went into the making of this album.


View full article »

Love Language by Wouter Kellerman

CD: Love Language
Artist: Wouter Kellerman

Love LanguageSometimes in life, events happen that cause you to stop what you are doing at the moment and put it on the back burner for a while. Although South African flute maestro Wouter Kellerman started recording his new release, Love Language, back in 2012, he put it aside when the opportunity arose to collaborate with producer Ricky Kej of India on an album called Winds Of Samsara. And it’s a good thing he did, as that recording went on to win the GRAMMY in the New Age category in 2014! View full article »

Radio God by Get Tribal

CD: Radio God
Artist: Get Tribal

Radio_God_Album_CoverFollowing the success of the award-nominated album God of Drum, Get Tribal (Kari Hohne) delivers another collection of rhythmic soundscapes centered on Shamanic drumming in her new release Radio God. While there are many new age recordings and world music albums, this new project by Get Tribal combines both the earthy percussive and world instrumental elements with the ambience and healing intent of new age music. Radio God is an alchemical blend of diverse rhythms and uplifting grooves, exploring a fusion of sound that is sensual, soul invigorating, and sure to get you moving.


View full article »

CD: Elders & Ancestors
Artists: Agrelia’s Castle

EldersandAncestorsIf I had to choose one word to describe the music on Elders & Ancestors, it would be “enchanting.” It’s diaphanous tones and textures, along with strings, subtle percussion, and sounds of nature create a magical soundscape for ethereal vocals and earthy Native American flute to drift dreamily over. Agrelia’s Castle is the musical identity of husband and wife team Paul and April Brown. View full article »

Om Land by David Vito Gregoli

CD: Om Land
Artist: David Vito Gregoli

OM LAND coverIn the follow up to his multi-award nominated album Primordial Sonics, which I had the pleasure of writing about, guitarist/producer David Vito Gregoli, revisits the familiar landscape of world fusion music, but with a slightly different focus this time. On Om Land, Vito, as he is best known, delves deeply into one of the most primordial vibrations of all – the sound of Om. Stemming from ancient Eastern spirituality, Om is said to be without beginning or end, and embraces all there is. Finding a perfect collaborator in GRAMMY winning recording artist/producer Ricky Kej of India, along with singer Kimberly Haynes and percussionist/sound healer Christo Pellani, the album is a musical meditation on the divine sound.

View full article »

Across The Water by Bill Leslie

CD: Across The Water
Artist: Bill Leslie

Across The WaterWhen famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma refers to you “one of the greats in modern Celtic music,” you know you have reached a pinnacle in your music career. From the stunning album art of Across The Water, to the rich Celtic-tinged melodies contained within, Bill Leslie taps deeply into his Irish ancestry to offer 10 brilliant original compositions and two arrangements of classic tunes. Along with a hand picked group of world-class instrumentalists, this harmonic convergence of musicians create verdant soundscapes that range from haunting to soul stirring. In the tradition of veteran recording artist Bill Leslie’s many previous releases, Across The Water, is lavish listening experience that is at once earthy and ethereal – absolutely gorgeous!


View full article »

First Light by Peter Calandra

CD: First Light
Artist: Peter Calandra

First LightWith over 25 years of playing keyboards in major Broadway productions and 15 years of composing music for Hollywood films and network TV, Peter Calandra brings a level of experience that many musicians only dream of to his latest album, First Light. Above all, Peter is a storyteller in song and his music lifts the listener out of their everyday world on an imaginative flight of fantasy. Blending new age, neo-classical, and smooth jazz influences, Peter’s creative compositions are as emotionally evocative as they are technically brilliant, striking the perfect balance between form and feeling. View full article »

CD: Daydream Alley
Artist: Holland Phillips

Daydream AlleyIn the immortal words of John Lennon: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” That is something I, and I’m sure many people reading this can relate to, including multi-instrumentalist/ composer Holland Philips, whose fourth and latest release, Daydream Alley, reflects. Some dreams happen when we are sleeping and others while we are awake. Of his album title, Holland shares: “Life is full of daydreams and the possibilities of the roads taken and not taken. We travel down the main street most of the time, but sometimes we come to an alley, an off shoot, a side road, and we look down it and wonder what would happen if we went that way instead. View full article »

Reminiscent by Anastasia

CD: Reminiscent
Artist: Anastasia

Reminiscent-Anastasia-CDFor pianist/ composer Anastasia, the quote: “Where words fail, music speaks,” by Hans Christian Anderson is personal and deeply meaningful. As she explains: “Music is my passion, my release, and my form of self-expression. It is a way to tell a story.” Born in Bavaria, Germany to parents of Greek descent, and later moving to the US, Anastasia has studied classical piano and honed her skills to be able to give musical voice to her creative impulse and inspiration, which she does elegantly on her album Reminiscent.


View full article »

Time and Tides by Yu Ya Huang

CD: Time and Tides
Artist: Yu Ya Huang

Time and TidesI really like the title of the third and latest album by pianist/ composer Yu Ya Huang: Time and Tides. But beyond it’s evocative imagery, I was curious as to what it meant to her. In an interview, Yu Ya shared how days and moments fly by so quickly and that if there is something you want to express in life, or share with family, friends, or the world in general, the time is now – don’t hold back. View full article »

CD: Beyond Borders
Artists: Randy Armstrong & Volker Nahrmann

Beyond Borders CD cover (Armstrong & Nahrmann)I must say that I was thrilled to hear about this new release by Randy Armstrong and Volker Nahrmann. When I began my career as a new age music journalist back in 1982, writing a monthly review column for New Frontier Magazine, guitarist Randy Armstrong was one of the first artists I wrote about. At that time he was part of group called Do’a that was one of the original ensembles to mix new age, jazz, folk, and classical with world music instruments and rhythms. At first, the group was a duo with Randy and Ken LaRoche and later expanded to include other members, one of them being German bassist Volker Nahrmann, who joined Do’a on their fifth album, World Dance (which went to #7 on Billboard’s World Music Chart). View full article »

CD: Bridge To Vallabha
Artist: Tina Malia

vallabha cdAlthough I’ve been familiar with Tina Malia’s music since her ground breaking debut release, Shores Of Avalon, in 2002, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to write about her. But the timing is perfect as I recently had the pleasure of seeiing her perform for the first time at the ZMR Awards in New Orleans, both solo and in duet with award winning pianist Peter Kater. Since that first album, Tina has released four more recordings including the latest, Bridge To Vallabha. Her music has been diverse and spans a range from dream pop to world music and sacred chant. Over the years, Tina has been fortunate to perform and record with Kenny Loggins, Bonnie Rait, India Arie, Jai Uttal, Deva Pemal & Miten, Peter Kater, and many others.


View full article »

GhostChild by Tedd Arnold

CD: GhostChild
Artist: Tedd Arnold

GhostChild_V9_4PANITIn my three decades as a music journalist, I’ve received many “concept albums,” covering a wide range of subject matter. But one of the most intriguing and unusual ones is a new release from Pittsburgh-based electronic musician, composer, vocalist and lyricist Tedd Arnold, who is known by fans as The Earth Cat. According to Ted: “GhostChild is the story of a young girl, Sarah Diane, that has not fully realized she has passed away. View full article »

CD: Fire In The Rainstorm
Artist: Kori Linae Carothers

album coverOne of the main focal points of the feature articles I write here on Music and Media Focus, in addition to highlighting the music on an album, is an in-depth profile of the artists themselves; their inspirations, motivations, background, and more. In the case of pianist Kori Linae Carothers this back-story is as inspirational as the elegant expressive music she creates. View full article »

CD: Celestial Resonance
Artists: Paradiso and Rasamayi


Celestial-Front-Cover-WebIt’s been about two and a half years since I wrote a pre-release article about Attuning To Oneness, the previous recording by Paradiso and Rasamayi. Since that time, the album went on to win a Best New Age Album of the Year Award, as well as debuting in the top 5 in global airplay of World/Ambient/New Age music. View full article »

White Sun by White Sun

CD: White Sun
Artist: White Sun

WhiteSun-AlbumCoverIn today’s fast-paced hi-tech society, the latest developments can become obsolete in a relatively short time to make room for the next big thing. Yet in the quest for spiritual development, seekers often look far into the past for inspiration. And some, like the music group White Sun, create contemporary versions of ancient spiritual practices for the modern world. Here on their debut album, they tap into the healing power of mantras. View full article »

Equilibrium by Kerani

CD: Equilibrium
Artist: Kerani

Kerani---Equilibrium---CoverEquilibrium, the impressive new album by Kerani is the follow up to her chart-topping previous release Arctic Sunrise, that I had the pleasure of writing about, and which won the Best Neo-Classical Album in the 2014 ZMR Awards. Arctic Sunrise was a concept album that Kerani described as “ a true tribute to the mysterious worlds of ice.” So, not surprisingly, Equilibrium is also a concept album, although with a very different theme. In her words: “With this album I wish to bring homage to all women who took it upon themselves throughout history to go against the tide.” View full article »

LOVE by Peter Kater

Artist: Peter Kater
Contact: and

coverlove6Ah, love… that most powerful and universal emotion which has captivated and inspired every form of artist and musician throughout the centuries. While poets, playwrights, and songwriters have used words to express their feelings on this subject, instrumental composers like Peter Kater use music to communicate the depth and expanse of their sentiments, hoping that it will create a resonance in those that hear it. View full article »

Galaxy by Tim Neumark

CD: Galaxy
Artist: Tim Neumark

galaxy-cover-247It’s been about a year since I wrote a feature article about Tim Neumark’s excellent previous CD, Storm. In that time its obvious that others have taken notice of it, as was named “Best Solo Piano Album” of 2014 by One World Music and that it is nominated for Enlightened Piano Radio’s “2014 Album of the Year.” This is no small achievement given the large number of solo piano albums released in that time by a host of highly talented artists. Tim’s latest release, Galaxy, is his sixth album, and as of this writing was just named “Best Instrumental/Piano Album” by The Akademia Music Awards.

View full article »

Learning To Fly by Neil Tatar

CD: Learning To Fly
Artist: Neil Tatar

Learning To FlyWhile his new album is entitled Learning To Fly, guitarist/pianist/composer Neil Tatar is one of the most down to earth people you could meet – although his music certainly does have wings. Neil’s previous release and collaboration with cellist David Darling, Where Did The Time Go, was excellent, and those who are interested can click the link to read my feature article about it. With Learning To Fly, however, Neil has taken his music and collaborative efforts to the next level entirely.


View full article »

CD: A Better Place
Artist: Michael Stribling

Stribling_BP_cover_300dpiRecording artist/ composer Michael Stribling describes his new album, A Better Place as: “14 instrumental tracks in a calming and reflective celebration of the joy of love, growth, healing, and nurturing relationships.” That definitely sounds like something we can all use. I was looking forward to the release of this recording, having greatly enjoyed his previous release Safely In The Arms Of Love, which I wrote about back in 2011. View full article »

CD: Android Dreams
Artist: Jose Luis Serrano Esteban

Android DreamsIt’s hard to believe that it’s been over 3 years since I wrote about A New Horizon, the excellent previous release by Spanish recording artist Jose Luis Serrano Esteban. In that feature article, I covered much of his history and prior work in the music field, so those who are interested can find more at the above link. But just as a brief recap, Jose Luis’ background includes extensive experience in both music and sound engineering. View full article »

One Journey by Ryan Stewart

CD: One Journey
Artist: Ryan Stewart

One JourneyPianist/composer Ryan Stewart’s One Journey is his third release, and follows his critically acclaimed debut album Equanimity, which was included on the Top 30 Albums for the Decade by, and the sequel to that, The Dreaming Hour, that was in the Top 15 Albums of 2010, also on Based on his past success, as well as having heard this new album, I’m sure One Journey is going to be equally well received. The recording encompasses 13 original compositions ranging from piano solos to “fully painted orchestral works.” View full article »

CD: Playing With Shadows
Artist: David Franklin

Playing with Shadows coverWhen David Franklin was just 9 years old, he made a promise to himself that, in his life, he would never miss a day of playing music. Keeping that promise, except for a few days of illness or travel in the past 40 years, David calls his eighth, and newest album: “… the culmination of all that playing.” While many musicians choose an instrument, often early in life, and stay with it for their entire career, David’s musical path has been diverse. View full article »

CD: Fields Beyond The Known
Artist: Alan Roth

Fields Beyond The Known CDComposer/ multi-instrumentalist Alan Roth has created Fields Beyond The Known, an album of deeply meditative music that is perfect for inner exploration. Recorded in the tropical Hawaiian paradise of Maui, Alan’s intention was to “capture a moment in time” and musically share, as much as possible, the lush surroundings and his peaceful yet focused state of being. The album also features legendary LA keyboardist/ soundscape artist Ben Dowling and was co-produced by Emmy Award winner and Oscar nominee Kit Thomas.


View full article »

CD: Lavender Dreams
Artist: Steven Cravis

Lavender DreamsThe lovely color and aromatic fragrance of lavender can enhance and brighten any space it is placed in. And so it is with the music of Steven Cravis on his Lavender Dreams album. Interestingly, although some of Steven’s songs have an upbeat groove to them, I find them to be both stimulating and relaxing at the same time, with an overall “feel-good” vibe – much like the effect that the scent of lavender produces. View full article »

CD: A Thousand Springs
Artist: Adam Andrews

A Thousand Springs coverHailing from my old stomping grounds of Denver, and currently living in Colorado Springs, solo pianist Adam Andrews has released his second album, entitled A Thousand Springs. This follows on the heels of his debut solo album, Road To Ambo, which garnered him a nomination for “Best New Artist” in the recent ZMR Awards, in addition to another award nomination, chart success, and international radio airplay – quite an auspicious entrance for this talented artist.

View full article »

CD: Among Friends
Artist: Steven Halpern

Among FriendsLike many reading this, I’ve been a fan of Steven Halpern’s music for over 30 years.  His groundbreaking meditative and healing albums, including SPECTRUM SUITE, CHAKRA SUITE, and ANCIENT ECHOES, earned him a well-deserved reputation as a founding father of New Age music. As I wrote in my review of his PARADIGM SHIFT album: “If anyone has ever helped to create and define a musical genre it is Steven Halpern.” In my three decades as a professional new age music reviewer I have had the opportunity to review many of his recordings, and recently had the pleasure to collaborate musically with Steven on the award-nominated album AMBIENT ALCHEMY. View full article »

CD: Letters From Far Away
Artist: Heidi Breyer

Letters From Far AwayJust before beginning to write this feature article on pianist/ composer Heidi Breyer’s new release, Letters From Far Away, I went back and revisited the one I wrote about her excellent 2012 album Beyond The Turning. It concluded with a quote from Heidi that makes an excellent segue to this release. In her words: “Our creations are an affirmation of life…whatever form they take, they are the legacy we leave, reflecting the most poignant moments of our short time here. View full article »

CD: Another Time, Another Place
Artist: Robin Spielberg

Another Time Another PlaceAlthough I haven’t had the pleasure until now to write about the music of composer/pianist Robin Spielberg, I’m quite familiar with her name from my being involved in the new age music genre for many years. She is considered among the premier neo-classical/new age solo piano artists and has quite an impressive history that extends into a number of different areas. Robin is a prolific composer with seventeen recordings under her name, as well as appearing on over 40 compilations. Her record sales exceed one million, and this official “Steinway Artist” has had three sold out performances at the legendary Carnegie Hall. View full article »

New Rain by Eve West Bessier

Book: New Rain
Author: Eve West Bessier

New Rain If ever the term “multi-media” fit like a glove, it does in the case of describing the life and artistry of Eve West Bessier (pronounced Bessie-yay). Eve is known for her many and diverse talents. On the musical end of her artistic spectrum, she is a top-notch jazz vocalist, voice coach, and studio musician/ voice-over artist. On the literary side, Eve is an award-winning author of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, as well as being the Poet Laureate Emeritus of the City of Davis, CA, where she lived for many years and earned her Master’s Degree from the University of California. She is also a visual artist/ painter and photographer. Now, after recently moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Eve can add the title of “novelist” to her impressive resume, with the completion of her first novel, New Rain.

View full article »

Mississippi by Eric Tingstad

CD: Mississippi
Artist: Eric Tingstad

mississippiThe latest release by GRAMMY winning artist Eric Tingstad is a superb contemporary example of the classic “concept album.” I’ve always had a fondness for concept albums, dating back to the late 60’s with artists such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Jethro Tull and more. A concept album as defined by Wikipedia is “a studio album where all musical or lyrical ideas contribute to a single overall theme or unified story. View full article »

Souvenirs by Christine Brown

CD: Souvenirs
Artist: Christine Brown

Souvenirs-coverThere’s an old saying: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Although for pianist/ composer Christine Brown, it might be more appropriate to say: “When life gives you lemons, make music.” This is not to say that all of her composing has been inspired by life’s challenges, but the piano has certainly been a place where she could pour her heart out, and in turn, create some of her most evocative music. View full article »

CD: Spiritual Haven
Artist: Russell Suereth

Russell-Suereth-CD-Cover-Spiritual-Haven-FrontRussell Suereth (pronounced sue – reth) is a composer/ recording artist with a vision. In fact, many visions, which we’ll soon see. As the title of his third and latest release implies, expressing and fostering universal spirituality is motivating force in his life and his music. The sounds heard on Spiritual Haven are rich in imagery, often of sacred places around the world, as well as those within us. View full article »

next by Jeff Oster

CD: next
Artist: Jeff Oster

next - coverQuick, can you name your top three favorite ambient flugelhorn players? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably no. All of which gives Jeff Oster, who also plays trumpet, a distinction that not many others can claim. As I wrote in my feature article on Jeff’s previous album, Surrender: “While there is some precedent for this with artists like Mark Isham, Jon Hassell, David Hoffman, and even Miles Davis (particularly on his classic “In A Silent Way” album and subsequent “electric” period, Jeff is charting new sonic territory in his expansion of these instruments into a context of electronica, down-tempo grooves, and loop based electro-orchestral tracks.” Although Surrender was one of my favorite albums when it came out (and I still love it), this new release, simply entitled next, certainly takes it to a whole new level, for many reasons, as we’ll soon see.

View full article »

CD: Heart of Silence
Artists: Peter Kater & Michael Brant DeMaria


Heart-of-Silence-coverI was excited to first hear about and then to receive a new album on the Sounds True label that features two of my favorite recording artists, Peter Kater and Michael Brant DeMaria. Although I’ve written numerous times about each of them separately, this new release, Heart Of Silence, showcases their first collaborative effort. As the album’s subtitle, “Piano and Flute Meditations” indicates, the music blends Peter’s elevating piano with the soothing sounds of Michael on a variety of Native American flutes. View full article »

Signature – Solo by Fiona Joy

CD: Signature – Solo
Artist: Fiona Joy

It’s not often, as a music writer, that I have the opportunity to be present in the studio when an artist’s album is in the process of being recorded. However, I was happy to receive an invitation from award-winning Australian composer/ pianist Fiona Joy to stop by when she was here in the San Francisco Bay area working on her new album as a Blue Coast Records artist at their impressive OTR Studios. Signature – Solo is the fifth Fiona Joy CD I’ve had the pleasure of writing about View full article »

Reiki Hands of Love by Deuter

CD: Reiki Hands of Love
Artist: Deuter


CD cover - Reiki Hands of Love (Deuter)Way back at the dawning of the new age music genre in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s a few seminal musicians planted the seeds of a new kind of music that was in tune with the awakening consciousness and emerging spirituality of the time. Along with artists like Steven Halpern, Constance Demby, and Iasos, was German-born Deuter (pronounced Doy-ter) who released his first album in 1971. View full article »

Bloom Road by Dan Kennedy

CD: Bloom Road
Artist: Dan Kennedy

Bloom Road (cover) - Dan KennedyBloom Road is the latest release from pianist/composer Dan Kennedy and is the follow up to his excellent Intuition CD which I had the pleasure of writing about back in 2012. Although Dan is classically trained and earned a Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, his style is diverse and inclusive, blending classical, jazz, contemporary instrumental, and new age.


View full article »

Heart Song by Elise Lebec

CD: Heart Song
Artist: Elise Lebec

albumart_eliselebec7_200x200Some artists begin their musical career early in life following a strict path in a particular genre of music and stay rooted in that form over the years. While other artists answer to a more diverse calling and experiment with a wider variety of musical forms as they develop their own creative identity. Composer/ pianist/ vocalist Elise Lebec is one of the latter. Her latest release, Heart Song, reflects the rainbow spectrum of her musical history and the long winding road that has led her to this particular point in time.

View full article »

Ca Sarvetaratra by Vive

CD: Ca Sarvetaratra
Artist: Vive

albumcover1Ca Sarvetaratra, which means “and everything else,” is the latest release from the group Vive. The music exists at the intersection of ancient spirituality and modern technology, making for a divinely blissful yet energizing listening experience. Vive combines the considerable talents of vocalist/ massage therapist/ yoga instructor Tanya Witman and composer/ songwriter Gabriel Mann. View full article »

Transcend by Phillip Wesley

CD: Transcend
Artist: Phillp Wesley

reg_Transcend cover full-resolutionNo doubt, everyone experiences ups and downs in life ranging from minor to catastrophic. Composer and pianist Phillip Wesley certainly has, and through his music has documented those times in a way that not only touched the hearts of listeners around the world, but also has earned him numerous awards and accolades. His seventh and latest release, Transcend, occupies a special place in his discography. View full article »

Undercurrent by Michele McLaughlin

CD: Undercurrent
Artist: Michele McLaughlin

Undercurrent coverA great number of the instrumentalists I write about, and pianists in particular, tell of years of study, private lessons, music academies and conservatories, and the like. It’s not as often that I hear a pianist who has reached an extremely high level of proficiency with no formal training and being completely self-taught. However, Michele McLaughlin is one of them. View full article »

Spiritus by David Wahler

CD: Spiritus
Artist: David Wahler

SPIRITUSSpiritus is the fourth release by accomplished composer/ keyboardist David Wahler. Although this is the first time I’ve written about his music, I’ve certainly enjoyed listening to two of his earlier albums, Antiquus (2009) and A Star Danced (2010). His debut recording, Antiquus, made a splash after its release, reaching number one on ZMR (Zone Music Reporter) Top 100 chart for international radio airplay. And at the time, it was the highest-ranking debut album in the history of those charts. Topping it off, he also won the award for Best New Artist that year. View full article »

CD: Inamorata
Artist: David Arkenstone and Charlee Brooks

Inamorata_coverIt’s been two years since I had the pleasure of writing about composer/ multi-instrumentalist David Arkenstone and enchanting vocalist Charlee Brook’s epic recording Lovèren, which out of the over 250 featured albums on my site, has been by far, the most viewed of all. Since that time, this dynamic duo has certainly not been resting on their laurels. Much of the music from that album was subsequently featured in a live multi-media concert extravaganza entitled David Arkenstone’s Symphonic Adventure, which has recently been broadcast on PBS. View full article »

Summon The Wind by Timothy Wenzel

CD: Summon The Wind
Artist: Timothy Wenzel

CD cover Summon the Wind (Wenzel)I ended my review of Timothy Wenzel’s previous album River Serene by saying: “I’ll certainly look forward to hearing more of his sonic alchemy in the future.” And with the release of his new recording Summon The Wind that future is here. I’ve been a fan of Timothy’s imaginative and visually evocative music for a while, and my enthusiasm is only bolstered by his latest creative effort. View full article »

22 Piano Tales by Galya

CD: 22 Piano Tales
Artist: Galya

Galya-22PianoTalesIn the world of fictional literature, tales are told in a variety of forms ranging from epic novels to short stories. Having had the pleasure of writing a feature article about Galya’s previous album, Key of Dreams, which showcased her talent for intricate and detailed composition, I was fascinated to receive her new release, 22 Piano Tales, that is more an example of the short story analogy. In an exclusive interview, she explained: “Each song in my previous albums was like a book, with an intro, story line and ending, so they were long. In the album 22 Piano Tales I use a little bit different approach. Each song is like a small tale describing a moment of life or an emotional state.” View full article »

CD: Seasons of the Heart
Artist: Renee Michele

Seasons of the HeartAfter four solo piano albums, Oregon-based composer Renee Michele has expanded her circle by releasing a recording with a variety of accompanists to embellish her emotionally rich compositions. Seasons of the Heart reflects Renee’s determination to take her career to the next level by choosing to produce the album in collaboration with the GRAMMY Award-winning Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton. Recorded at Will’s iconic Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont, the album features a number of his world-class studio musicians adding their colors to Renee’s sensitive tone poems.

View full article »

Coming Home by Greg Maroney

CD: Coming Home
Artist: Greg Maroney

Coming HomeThere is something about the elegant simplicity and spaciousness in much of pianist Greg Maroney’s music that is perhaps a reflection of the earthy rural lifestyle he leads in south central Pennsylvania where he and his wife tend their gardens to raise much of their own food, build their own barn with only hand tools, and seek to live in harmony with nature. Much of Greg’s inspiration comes from the beauty of this region with it’s rolling farmland, with endless fields of corn and wheat that ripple in the winds, and summer thunderstorms. Also, according to Greg’s bio: “His songs are derived from his life experiences as well as the emotional and spiritual journey we all take as human beings.”


View full article »

Colors by John Otott

CD: Colors
Artist John Otott

john-otott-colors1As Cyndi Lauper sang in one of her iconic hit songs: “… don’t be afraid to let them show. Your true colors… are beautiful like a rainbow.” Pianist John Otott certainly lives by this advice, as evidenced in his latest release entitled Colors. According to John, many of the songs are inspired by his life events, conveying a true sense of meaning through music. Emotions provide the impetus for much of his composing and the piano is the perfect channel for his expression of them. View full article »

CD: Drum Travel
Artist: James Asher and Sandeep Raval

Drum TravelWorld Music and percussion fans, be forewarned: when pressing “play” on the new release by James Asher and Sandeep Raval, keep a firm grip on you socks so as not to have them knocked clean off. I was about to say that “this is one seriously powerful recording,” although the reality is that is actually two recordings – a double album; something you don’t find very often these days. But Drum Travel offers some of the most mind-blowing, earth-shaking percussive energy and cross-cultural influences that I have encountered in quite a while.


View full article »

CD: Whispers The Falling Snow
Artist: Dan Chadburn

whispers-cover-artworkIn my feature article on pianist Dan Chadburn’s previous release, Nocturnes, I provided detailed information about his background and classical music training, his performances at Carnegie Hall in New York, Symphony Hall in Boston, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and more. Readers who may be interested can click on the Nocturnes link above to read that article. While the theme of album was “a journey through the night,” the focus for his latest album, Whispers The Falling Snow, is winter and the holiday season. View full article »

CD: Patterns of Sun and Shade
Artist: Kathryn Kaye

Front_CoverThere can be little question as to the source of Kathryn Kaye’s creative inspiration. The beauty and mystery of nature have always played prominently in her artistry. Even the title of her latest release Patterns of Sun and Shade reveals her fascination with the natural world. Of this she shares: “I’ve always been fascinated by sunlight filtered through leaves or bare branches, the play of light and shade in clouds and high mountains, and shadows on a rock wall or on a narrow path winding through the woods.” There is no doubt that her home in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado provides an endless bounty of natural splendor, where she captures its essence in music and photography. However, another source that feeds into her musical wellspring are the hymns and folksongs of the Appalachian Mountains of southeast Kentucky, where she grew up.


View full article »

Coming Home by Peter Jennison

CD: Coming Home
Artist: Peter Jennison

Coming HomeI’ve had the opportunity and the honor to write about many albums that have been created in support of heartfelt humanitarian causes, and the latest release by Peter Jennison is certainly one of them. Entitled Coming Home, the album, in his words: “celebrates the wonderful homecomings between Soldiers and their Families that we see depicted on national television. I also pay tribute to those soldiers that return from battle wounded, and those that come home in flag-draped coffins. I created each piece to evoke a certain image for the listener.” And the music, which is a sequel to his debut recording Longing for Home (Songs from War) is quite evocative, to say the least, being written from Peter’s experience as a soldier deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.


View full article »

CD: Where Did The Time Go
Artist: Neil Tatar and David Darling

Where Did The Time GoThe title of the new release by Neil Tatar and David Darling, Where Did The Time Go poses a question you may well ask yourself after becoming totally absorbed in listening to this captivating music. Although this is their first collaboration, both are veteran musicians with extensive experience in music and the arts.


View full article »

My Beloved by Michael Dulin

CD: My Beloved
Artist: Michael Dulin

My BelovedIt’s been close to three years since I’ve had the pleasure of writing about the music of virtuoso pianist/ composer Michael Dulin. At that time, I reviewed his then-current release Timeless II, which is an album of classical piano with interpretations of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and others. I also wrote about his previous release Follow The River, which by contrast was an album of his original compositions that spanned much wider range of influences including contemporary instrumental, new age, smooth jazz, and a bit of folk/roots Americana. That Michael is able to draw from such diverse influences and genres is remarkable, but is not surprising given his background. View full article »

Midwinter’s Night by Erwilian

CD: Midwinter’s Night
Artist: Erwilian

Midwinter's NightIt’s not that often in the new age music genre that I get a live concert album to review. However, I know from writing about Erwilian’s excellent Light From Darkness CD, and learning more about them, that live performance is a major aspect of the group. In fact, as founding member Jordan Buetow told me: “Erwilian originally began in 2000 as a performance group with a passion for bringing audiences seasonal music that was not always given the attention it deserved. An album – a live album for that matter – of this material truly was like a distilled manifestation of the very soul of the band.” View full article »

Endless by Rick Sparks

CD: Endless
Artist: Rick Sparks

Endless CDThe title for pianist/ composer Rick Sparks’ latest CD release, Endless, was prompted in part by the magnificent picture of a starry night sky over a tropical lagoon, by photographer Ben Canales. Yet, on a deeper level, for Rick, the title also reflects what he refers to as “God’s endless love for us.” This spiritual focus is what is at the heart of this beautiful music that he creates, in his words, “ to feed the soul.”


View full article »

Artist: Sherry Finzer

sherry-finzerPeople are drawn to playing, recording, and performing music for a wide variety of reasons. And like other aspects of our lives, those reasons can evolve over time. For international award-winning flutist and composer Sherry Finzer, this is certainly true.

View full article »

Spirits by Erik Scott

CD: Spirits
Artist: Erik Scott

SpiritsThe old saying: “expect the unexpected” is certainly appropriate, and perhaps even a bit of an understatement, when referring to the music of veteran bassist Erik Scott. I doubt whether there are many artists producing music in the instrumental new age genre that have a more extensive, impressive, and quite unlikely discography as he does.


View full article »

CD: Voices From Heaven
Artist: Runar Halonen and Tron Syversen


Voices From HeavenIt’s been over two years since I wrote about Norwegian composer/ keyboardist Tron Syversen and his wonderful Sacred Dreams album. At that time, I predicted: “I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from this talented recording artist as his mellow music flows from the fjords of Norway into more international waters.” I don’t have a crystal ball, but that prediction has certainly come to pass. Since that time he has continued to produce beautiful music for relaxation and healing that has drawn the attention of listeners around the world.


View full article »

CD: Mind Heart Fingers
Artist: Trevor Gordon Hall


MHF_coverIt’s not everyday that I have the honor of writing about “The World’s Premier Kalimbatarist.” That’s probably because, as far as I know, Trevor Gordon Hall may be the world’s only kalimbatarist. But that is what makes him special and stand out in a crowded field of acoustic guitar players. So the obvious question now is: what is a kalimbatar?


View full article »

Trail of Dreams by 2002

CD: Trail of Dreams
Artist: 2002

CD_Trail_of_DreamsFor a well-established recording artist or ensemble with a large following, experimenting with new directions in their signature sound can be risky. Fans sometimes have preconceived notions about what they expect to hear from that artist and charting new territory can often go either way with the listeners. Fortunately for 2002, their experimentation has paid off, and I have no doubt that the changes to their sound will be well loved by those who have followed them over the course of their numerous chart-topping albums. In fact, I’m sure it will serve to expand that fan base as well.


View full article »

CD: Echoes in the Sand
Artist: Kevin Lucas

echoes_front_cover_1_300pxBack in the late 1960’s, Marshall McLuhan, one of the prophets of the electronic age coined the now-iconic phrase: “The medium is the message.” For recording artist and percussion virtuoso Kevin Lucas, his medium of music is all about conveying messages. The new CD by The Kevin Lucas Orchestra carries messages that are both timely and urgent, particularly with regard to climate change.


View full article »

Inspired by Bryan Carrigan

CD: Inspired
Artist: Bryan Carrigan

bryan-carrigan-inspiredI’ve been a fan of Bryan Carrigan’s exquisitely crafted music for some time and was very much looking forward to hearing the latest addition to his ever-expanding catalog – now his fifth solo release. While I, and many others are familiar with Bryan’s extensive background in the music industry, for those who may not be, let me provide just a brief sketch. Bryan is described in Wikipedia as: “an American music producer, engineer, and electronic musician that has been involved in the production of studio albums and film scores. Carrigan is also known for serving multiple roles in the recording studio as music editor, programming and sound design.” View full article »

CD: Music That Matters
Artist: Various

Music That MattersIn these troubled times filled with so much discord between individuals and nations, its like a breath of fresh air to hear about caring people who have come together in service to humanity. A newly released music compilation entitled Music That Matters is a shining example of this philanthropic spirit. View full article »

CD: Experiences
Artist: Ryan Michael Richards

ExperiencesAcoustic guitarist Ryan Michael Richards is part of a younger generation of instrumentalists to whom the torch has been passed, carrying on the legacy of virtuoso artists like Michael Hedges, Alex de Grassi, and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, who actually produced Ryan’s album at his famed Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont. View full article »

CD: Songs Of A Siren
Artist Lea Longo


Songs Of A SirenIt used to be that musical categories were fairly well defined, and that most songs fit neatly into little boxes called genres. However, in recent times, it seems that the lines have become blurred and the boundaries breached, so that just about any style can be merged with any other style to create some of the most innovative blends imaginable. A perfect example of this is the latest release by Canadian singer/ songwriter Lea Longo, entitled Songs Of A Siren. Here she combines her love of jazz and pop standards with the spirituality of mantra and kirtan chanting to provide a completely different twist on the East meets West concept.


View full article »

CD: Ashokan Memories
Artist: Peter Calandra

Ashokan MemoriesHaving had the pleasure of writing about Peter Calandra’s excellent album, Inner Circle, I thought I had a fairly good idea of his style and musical direction. However, his Ashokan Memories album reflects a different facet of his creative spectrum. Oftentimes an artist draws inspiration from their surroundings, and this is certainly the case with Peter. View full article »

Day Star by Jonn Serrie

CD: Day Star
Artist: Jonn Serrie

Jonn Serrie coverThe earth has made many trips around the sun, twenty-seven to be exact, since as a budding new age music journalist, I wrote a review of Jonn Serrie’s now-classic debut album, And The Stars Go With You, back in 1987. That album was in memory of the astronauts lost in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster the year before. Now, over two and a half decades later, Jonn is still traversing the galaxy producing new music starscapes, as well as giving innovative concert performances back here on earth. View full article »

CD: Moksha

Artist: The Ray Spiegel Ensemble


MokshaVeteran musician Ray Spiegel and his Woodstock, NY-based ensemble have recently released an exciting world music album entitled Moksha. The word “moksha” is a Sanskrit term that means liberation or release. This is most appropriate in that the music, while based in traditional Indian Ragas and rhythms, breaks free from strict classical forms by integrating “the full spectrum of moods, grooves, and tempos of East and West from hard driving dance beats to meditative spiritually oriented music.”

View full article »

CD: The Gathering II: a new generation of musicians produced by Will Ackerman, the founder of Windham Hill Records and Tom Eaton
Artist: Various artists

The Gathering II_CoverIts hard to believe that two years have passed since the release of the first compilation entitled The Gathering – a landmark album that garnered international radio airplay, and was honored as the ZMR “Album Of The Year,” with the highest rating of any record in the history of those charts. For those who may not be familiar, The Gathering is a compilation of songs from 22 different artists who had albums produced and recorded at the famed Imaginary Roads Studios, the recording Mecca of GRAMMY winning producer and Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman.


View full article »

CD: Los Angeles
Artist: Curtis Macdonald

Los AngelesHaving had the opportunity to write about Curtis Macdonald’s previous album, When Dreams Come True, which I loved, I was very much looking forward to his latest, and 18th release, Los Angeles. The premise for this new album is quite unique and most definitely intriguing. Curtis’ many years of composing music for film and his love for the classic “film noir” genre led him to blend the distinctive feel of a vintage Humphrey Bogart detective movie or Raymond Chandler dime store novel with sounds of jazz and contemporary electronic music to paint an impressionistic sonic portrait of his current home city of Los Angeles. View full article »

CD: Still
Artist: Stephen Peppos

StillIt never fails to amaze me how many musicians who were around in 1964 cite seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show as being the inspiration for making music their life’s ambition. A budding young pianist named Stephen Peppos was one of them. As he tells it: “Seeing the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show was a watershed moment for me. I guess it was seeing how the audience reacted to them, but more so for me . . . it was the music. View full article »

CD: Narrow Path
Artist: Matthew Schoening

Narrow PathMention the word “cello” to most people and the first association that comes to mind is European classical music. In fact Wikipedia describes the instrument as “used in chamber music ensembles, string orchestras, and as a member of the string section of symphony orchestras.” However, some people like to think outside the box and innovate in ways that expand our horizons. One such person is solo electric cellist Matthew Schoening (pronounced Shay-ning). View full article »

CD: OMKARA – The Sound of Divine Love
Artist: Rupam Sarmah

OmkaraFrom combined efforts in India and California, comes a groundbreaking new project called OMKARA. Just released is an album of chakra balancing music called OMKARA – The Sound of Divine Love. But OMKARA represents much more than just a musical recording. It is also an ongoing research project that deals with sound in conjunction with medical facilities in India that work with conditions such as cancer, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, mental retardation, pain relief, depression, and more.


View full article »

Peace Is Now by Bodhi

CD: Peace Is Now
Artist: Bodhi

Peace Is NowIf there was ever a timely moment for an album like Peace Is Now, this is one of them, with armed conflict erupting from Iraq, to Ukraine, to Israel, and other places around the globe. Not to mention all the inner unrest that so many people experience. Although a single CD may not end the world’s strife, the adage: “Think globally, act locally” certainly is appropriate. View full article »

CD: Language Of The Soul
Artist: Steven Vitali

Language-Of-The-SoulI always find it interesting to hear about the seminal life experiences that inspired an artist to want a career in music. For young Steven Vitali of Toronto, it was seeing an orchestra perform the “Nutcracker Suite” ballet. On that day, a seed was planted which blossomed into a diverse musical garden. View full article »

CD: muichi motsu
Artist: Maneki Neko

muichi motsuManeki Neko (pronounced Ma-neh-kee Neh-ko) is the nom de plume, or more accurately, the musical identity of composer, soundscape artist, and recording engineer Al Mikula who specializes in electro-acoustic ambient music for yoga, relaxation, meditation, and massage therapy. View full article »

CD: Moments from the Life Stories of Strangers – Pt. 1
Artist: Steven Chesne with The Luminous World Orchestra

moments-coverOften times as a musician settles into their career, they find their “niche” within a particular genre of music. Few that I’ve encountered, however, are comfortable (and accomplished) in as many styles as Los Angeles-based musician Steven Chesne. While his latest release could be classified as new age with classical and world music influences, the branches of his musicality spread out like those of a tree and has roots just as deep. View full article »