Jim Chappell

Serenity Rush

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An early piano sensation on the burgeoning new age circuit of the 1980s, Chappell leaned more toward fusion, funk, and smooth jazz for a few albums when he signed with Real Music in the early '90s. Now that he's back in the elegant, reflective mode, conveying sweet, emotionally rich melodies with minimal accompaniment, he'd fit perfectly into Real Music's current ambient agenda. Though there aren't the radio outlets for Chappell's type of romantic meditations that there were when he began, all human hearts still have a place for the kind of gentle, easily rhythmic passages he writes here. His liner-note message indicates that these came after a time of challenge and loneliness, the loss of his father, and, significantly, a few years of neither writing nor performing. A few individual tracks stand out, most significantly the elegant, lush opener, "Mockingbird Days," and the hypnotic "Sweet Country" (which features a sweet acoustic guitar harmony line), but the general recommendation is to listen to this as one big rush of stress-reducing calm. It's beautiful, and it works.

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