With David Lanz having successfully made the transition from new age pioneer to smooth jazz artist, there are very few pianists remaining whose sole focus is the gently rhythmic, deeply melodic, and healing music that defines the classic genre. Kevin Kern is a newly minted Steinway artist (joining the prestigious ranks of, among others, Vladimir Horowitz, Herbie Hancock, and Billy Joel), and plays his latest set of stunning, soothing, and captivating melodies on The Hamburg Concert Grand -- which he calls one of the most lyrical instruments he's ever performed on. More than simply a collection of ten originals (one of which, "Keepers of the Flame," was inspired by an ancient Gregorian chant) and a glowing cover of Sting's "Fields of Gold," the album is an impressionistic glimpse into Kern's childhood experiences of sitting at the piano in a darkened room lit only by firelight. This imagery inspires the classical-tinged intimacy of pure, hypnotic piano pieces like "Pearls of Joy," but Kern also enjoys sharing his memories with his small ensemble of Terry Miller (bass) and Mike Miller. Miller's acoustic guitar shimmers as the harmony line on "Remembering the Light" and joyfully shares the melody on parts of "Safe in Your Embrace" and "Musings." Channeling Imagination's Light magnificently, the sensitive and spirited Kern ensures that the flame of true new age music burns on.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran