Setting the standard for instrumental piano music since the mid-'80s, when the term "new age" was the fashionable way to label it, David Lanz has worked ambitiously with orchestra before, most notably on 1990's Skyline Firedance. On his Phillips debut East of the Moon, however, he creates a majestic, dual-themed recording unlike any in his bestselling Narada Records catalog. First, he delves into a spirited intertwining of Greek mythology and rock & roll, then formulates a classically-influenced, six-movement suite declaring his hope for a "World at Peace." Initially, Hugh Padgham seems to be an odd production choice on Lanz's part, but the producer -- best known for his pop classics with Sting, Melissa Etheridge, and Phil Collins -- builds a lively, rocking environment around the first tunes: the Irish-scented "The Green Man" (which begins with a Collins-esque drum fill and finds Lanz dancing over uilleann pipes and pennywhistle) and the symphonic, hard-blues, organ-based "Dancing With Dionysus." While Lanz enjoys jamming more than ever before, his feathery ivory intertwining with Dave Heath's flute on "Chasing Aphrodite" reminds us of his command with graceful piano ballads. Though the "World at Peace" has its booming orchestral swells, this same sort of gentle sway and sparse, acoustic piano melody approach (with touches of flute and violin) are the dominant sounds driving Lanz's soaring millennial vision from "Declaration" and "Prayer of Peace" through "Renaissance" and "Transformation."
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran