John Fluker

The Sound of Peace

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Given that John Fluker has made his living as a vocal coach, studio musician, backup singer, and accompanist and musical director to various artists (primarily Gladys Knight), one might have expected his debut solo album to be a recording of his R&B/gospel compositions featuring his vocals. Instead, The Sound of Peace is a standard-issue new age piano instrumental collection. Fluker, whose voice goes unheard, plays in the familiar soothing style of countless predecessors. He favors lots of little arpeggios high up on the keyboard, the flourishes repeated and developed slowly against deliberate stairstep rhythm playing in the left hand. The only distinguishing characteristic of his music, which will annoy purists, is that, on almost every track, he adds a supporting wash of synthesizer sounds as background, along with occasional nature sounds -- wind, water, birds. The overall effect is pleasant enough and demonstrates that Fluker knows his way around the keyboard. But it is not much different from or better than dozens of other piano albums in the new age bin. Maybe next time, having proved his versatility, Fluker will make an album that plays to his better known credentials.

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