Schawkie Roth

Heaven on Earth/Solo Meditations

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Heaven on Earth (1978) is the first solo album by new age composer and multi-intrumentalist Schawkie Roth. The album is an early example of spiritual music free of distinct rhythmic patterns. A brook bubbles in the background while layers of flutes soar and sing like birds, a zither's strings add an angelic touch, and sparkling musings on the piano cheer the atmosphere. The piece grows in intensity when Roth begins his saxophone improvisation. Roth's jazz roots are very obvious on "Ocean Vision," where he plays piano in an improvisation with Tom McNamara on string bass; Roth plays soulful jazz saxophones with piano accompaniment on "Golden Dawn." One wonders if the pieces would stand if played at a jazz club. The second side of the tape contains a number of meditations. The serene oriental flute solo on "Zen Garden of the Soul" pulses with the drone of the strings, then Roth plays other flutes that cavort in a delightful game of sonic tag. A kalimba thumb piano provides a koto feeling on other pieces. The album ends with a gentle jazz improvisation for bass, piano, and flute.

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