Jim Chappell

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Acadia Review

by Jonathan Widran

Jim Chappell's musical pendulum has swung successfully from stark solo piano roots to recent pop-fusion dates, and he integrates both perfectly on the magnificent Acadia, the first in a promised series of National Park tributes from Gallery Records. In his liner notes, Chappell reflects upon hiking with a tape recorder through coastal Maine's greatest treasure, combining his verbal impressions with nature sounds and the musical motifs that naturally emerged. He develops each of these into beautifully composed and produced musical snapshots, sharing with us a thoughtful travelogue of a picture perfect day of brisk hiking and moments of quiet reflection. Walking basslines key us into the spirit of Chappell's sojourn, whose story is told through a series of piano melodies which first trickle then rush, strings that evoke the feeling of clear air and wind, and subtle shadings of oboe, English Horn, flute, clarinet, and violin which reflect the shifting colors and topography of the landscape. From the playful jog up "Carriage Road" to the quiet awe he felt at the "Bay Without a Name," Chappell illustrates the profound connection between music and nature.

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