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Friday, November 17, 2006

CD REVIEW - Common Places

Common Places
Piano Improvisations by Starr Parodi
Sonicdoppler (U.S.)
10 Tracks 50:44 mins

Now I have to admit that I just don't get time to listen to concert music, whether it be orchestral, chamber or solo instrument, as is the case with this album, so I'm not really used to listening to music that doesn't support an image. Therefore, I find an album like this difficult to come to grips with.
Common Places is a series of piano improvisations by Starr Parodi, who with her husband, Jeff Fair, has written music for many films over the years, predominently of the TV variety, although one of the most recent projects is the critically acclaimed film Conversations With Other Women, starring Helena Bonham Carter. But there is another side to Starr, in that she has accompanied many artists of the caliber of Celine Dion, BB King, Seal, Jimmy Cliff, Patti LaBelle and Phil Collins, over the years, and will be remembered by American audiences for her nightly appearances on the Arsenio Hall Show.
Common Places was recorded on a 1928 Steinway B piano with vintage microphones at Universe of Soul Studios in Los Angeles, with just a little bit of electronic tweaking here and there, and, whilst many of the tracks are Starr's own compositions, also included are her variations on a well-known classical piece by Albinoni and a piano-only take of Monty Norman's James Bond Theme, a piece she and Jeff had earlier arranged, produced and performed on the Capitol CD The Best of Bond...James Bond, and which subsequently was used in trailers for the most recent Pierce Brosnan Bond films.
So, how would I sum up the album? Well, my overall impression is that it would make for good chilling out music, something that if I ever got time to do so, I could imagine curling up to on the couch, drink in hand, comfy slippers on. Maybe not required listening for film music fans, though some of it seems influenced by her experience of TV scoring in particular, I would say.


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