Kevin Kern

In My Life

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This extremely melodic new age pianist makes no bones about his intentions. Based on song titles like "Love's First Smile," "To Sleep on Angel's Wings," and "Twirling in Time," it's clear that his lyrical, rhythmic piano pieces are intended to provide a sense of reflection, mellow joy, peace, and hope in a chaotic world. While he's a fine melodist who knows how to intricately weave melody and harmony (as on ensemble gems like "Dance of the Searching Souls"), what's most interesting is the way he bookends his nine original cuts. He names the album after the ultimate reflection song, the Beatles' "In My Life," and does a fairly pedestrian but quite graceful reading of that. Much more creative, though, is his choice of an opener, the obscure but simply beautiful Elton John classic (from 1975's Captain Fantastic), "We All Fall in Love Sometimes." John's piano-based ballads have long cried out for new age or contemporary jazz interpretations, and it's wonderful to see Kern introduce the romance of his collection this way, and with such an non-obvious choice. With Kern, the message is pretty simple -- beautiful, spiritual melodies that relax and inspire. Not overly challenging but absolutely beautiful.

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