While Oscar Peterson can dazzle getting the listener to pay special attention to his spirited and entertaining technique, Ken Elkinson chooses to use the piano to paint soft pastels, each addition to his catalog combing the depths of this soothing and mellow music with a restrained and methodical passion. Opening track "Porteños" refers to the "people of the port," or as one public domain website puts it, "people born in the Argentine city of Buenos Aires." It is dramatic, perhaps a good soundtrack for the TV show Days of Our Lives. The album Cue gives the world 12 titles in addition to the 33 compositions he recorded previously, and they are along the same lines as Elkinson's earlier moody, meditative music. While the previous collections contained all Elkinson originals with one Jimi Hendrix title entering the mix, this CD concludes with the artist collaborating with Tom Freund on a Freund original employing vocals in a repertoire that was previously all instrumental. The guest singer's limited range works in this context, as the nearly spoken "Beautiful Sadness" does provide a nice change of pace and is itself reincarnated -- as the song was originally written for guitar accompaniment. Everything is pretty laid-back with the slight exception of "Firefly," which is more commanding in style compared to the other 11 ethereal selections. After his 1997 debut, Midnight Conversation, and the Revelry release in 2000, Elkinson waited three to four years before giving the world Opal, with another couple of years until Cue. The four "new age" discs over a span of a decade have a consistency in both cover art and production. The 12-page booklet included with this disc contains poetry, insight into the artist's personality and favorite charitable causes, and other information pertinent to the music.
by Joe Viglione