Live! is Suzanne Ciani'a first live album, recorded March 14 and 15, 1997, at San Francisco's Herbst Theater. You'll hear plenty of inspiration and movement in Ciani's pieces, but, unlike the athletic music of John Tesh, you won't break out in a sweat. "Neverland" begins the album with the snap of a sail filling with wind and surfing on a broad reach. "Eagle" soars higher, with strong melodic lines from violinist Jeremy Cohen and Paul McCandless. Smoother cruising -- and a more extended vision -- is offered on "Sailing to Byzantium," while "Butterflies" offers lighter, but more acrobatic, themes. The album offers plenty of places to dream: "Drifting," the sweet "Go Gently" (a tribute to Ciani's father), "Stream," the magical "Inverness" with its breezes, "Time Stops," and "Anthem." The pace is quickened with inventive rhythmic pieces such as "Samukee," where several of the ensemble help out on percussion; the jaunty melody is carried by McCandless' sassy piccolo sax and Eakle's flute and penny whistle. Ciani's synthesizer carries the plunky rhythm on "Mosaic"; she is then joined by Kalani on bongos, Teja Bell on electric sitar, Paul McCandless on bass clarinet, and Michael Manning on bass. The sonic textures and exotic interplay are invigorating. The highlight for the audience must have been Ciani's standard, "The Velocity of Love"; this breathtaking new arrangement, showcasing Ciani's solo piano, is like swimming in a lagoon in paradise. Ciani dedicates this album to "making dreams come true." Put that to music and you have this album.
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AllMusic Review by Carol Wright