This second edition of the Grand Ideas series of solo recordings by jazz pianist Armen Donelian is all about introspective musings and deeply personalized vibes. Here, Donelian pays homage to those who inspired his life and career, via his delicate touch. A good portion this production consists of Donelian's cleverly executed contrapuntal statements, counterbalancing harmonies and an understated approach. The artist generally emphasizes his thematic forays with affecting, childlike motifs and simply rendered melodies. However, he utilizes his significant faculties for deceptively complex frameworks. The piece titled "Exile Dreams" -- dedicated to the late great saxophonist/composer Thomas Chapin -- features a dreamlike motif, augmented by juxtaposed chord progressions, whereas the pianist picks up the tempo via a jazz ballad groove on the closer, "Spree." No doubt, Donelian is a superb artisan. With this effort, he seemingly opens the doors for those who wish to obtain an insightful glimpse into his innermost passions and sentiments.
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AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita