Jeffrey Michael

After the Storm

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New age music has now been around long enough for a second generation of performers to have developed, and 27-year-old Jeffrey Michael, for whom After the Storm is his sixth nationally distributed, self-released effort (that's not counting the tapes he began selling at high school when he was 15) and his first to employ only acoustic piano, is a member of that generation. He sounds like it, too. He began playing at six, and at seven he could play the theme from Chariots of Fire (from the sound of "Painted Moon" on this album, he's never stopped playing it). You also have to figure that when he was ten, he must have seen The Princess Bride, because "Beyond the Horizon (No. 184)" (the number indicates that this was his 184th composition) recalls that movie's theme, "Storybook Love." At 11, he was introduced to albums by the first generation of new age pianists, George Winston, David Lanz, and Suzanne Ciani, by an uncle. Clearly, those experiences never left, either. Michael describes "The Storm" as "inspired and influenced by the music of George Winston, especially 'February Sea' (a track on Winston's Winter into Spring album)." The truth is that Winston's inspiration and influence are heard throughout the album. The millions who treasure Winston's album December will find much to their liking here. If it's not too early, or too odd, to coin a musical style called "traditional new age," After the Storm is one of the first albums to which it would apply.

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