John Burrows

Music from the Heart

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Unlike his debut recording Opus One, which featured somewhat preciously titled, pseudo-classical pastiches that were loosely strung together through improvisation, John William Burrows' Music from the Heart is a more modest effort that suits his informal keyboard style better. Because he borrows freely from classical, pop, jazz, and adult contemporary genres, his piano music feels inspired and off-the-cuff, so songs and character pieces are more appropriate for his evolving ideas than the traditional classical forms he tried to use on his first album. Burrows is apparently more relaxed and freewheeling here, with less of a need to impress with high-brow tricks; hence, there are almost no allusions to the Classical and Romantic piano masters, and the change of approach makes all the difference in appreciating his intentions. The portraits of Judy, Nancy, and Billie are reflective and sentimental, and several other pieces on this album share their sweetly nostalgic moods, while the upbeat Cockroach and Tar Baby seem designed primarily to demonstrate Burrows' flashy playing and wide-ranging influences. Casual listeners who enjoy showy lounge piano will find this disc attractive and pleasant for background listening, but people who want more of a challenge will find Burrows' music to be too improvisational, glittery, and mellow for their tastes.

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