Art on the Piano
By: Holly Jones
Review by: RJ Lannan
This is my first encounter with Holly Jones’ music, but with the very first song, I knew I was going to like it. The music has a certain fragility to it. It is soft, gentle, and poetic. Like letters from an old friend that you miss. The first cut, A Blackberry Sky conjures up a warm summer’s day, a big, blue sky and someone with not a care in the world. art on the piano is eleven tracks of heartening, sometimes blissful solo piano instrumentals that create contemporary vignettes of a comforting era where time is measured not in wearisome hours on a clock, but in bright, lazy afternoons and apple pies on the windowsill.
Holly Jones, albeit a contemporary classical composer, is also a physical therapist. No surprise here. Healing and music go hand in hand. More often than not, there is an unseen force within the music that restores and soothes. I could tell you stories. Holly Jones, born in Kentucky, began to play at eight years old, and now lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband Fred and Darbie the dog.
In the Quiet has some beguiling classical elements secreted within it. The song flows with a gentle theme, the music solace in a world that seems to pull at every unguarded thread of your life, ready to unravel it at a moment’s notice. This piece reweaves the quiet, the comfort that the spirit needs from time to time. Those that toil in the wee sma’ hours know the refrain very well.
Art on the Piano is an exhibition of a different kind. Holly’s melodic pictures are painted with sound and a gentle hand. The muse is emotions. It is a bit lighter fare than friend Modest Mussorgsky, but the idea of a gentle, unrolling scenario remains. Soft, peaceful, and tender, the melody reminds us that music can alter the moods by vibrations alone. You just have to produce them in the correct order. Jones’ piece is sensitive, and back to my original assessment of fragile. Hearts and souls are fragile, aren’t they?
Holly slows down time on the track, Repose. She creates peacefulness where there was none. Let’s face it, the world is getting closer. Smaller, more encapsulating than ever before. The restrictions of place, time, and money seems to bang at the door at all hours. Holly’s song builds a musical barrier to keep the wolf out, if only for a while. Take a breath, breathe for yourself in this moment.
One of my favorites on art on the piano is a tune called Walk with the Trees. I choose to live in the woods because I can feel the magic all around me. Holly’s tune magnifies this feeling for me. How the Supreme Being chose green for us to enjoy is a miracle unto itself, but it always seems to soothe the spirit. Then there is the dappled blue sky winking through the leaves. And oh, yes, the trees do talk, don’t they.
Imagine yourself on a placid lake. There is a bit of a wind, but it isn’t an angry wind. The music in Light on the Water is the sun reflecting off a million ripples like glitter for the soul. This sounds to me like a romantic piece for some reason. Maybe we are not in the boat alone, but sharing the experience with another. A beautiful rendition.
Holly Jones’ music is reflective and gentle. For fifty-one minutes on art on the piano, she invites us to catch our collective breaths and take a little comfort. I liked all the tracks on the recording, and played them over and over just to escape for a little while. Highly recommended and I will endeavor to hear more of this talented pianist’s music. – R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews