Art on the Piano
By: Holly Jones
Review by: Jonathan Widran
Especially when it comes to new age solo piano music, we often talk about the great holistic healing powers of music in easing pain/burden and speaking health, joy and positivity to the body, heart, soul and mind. Often these powers are spoken of in a general or metaphorical context, but for the extraordinary composer/pianist Holly Jones, it’s much more literal.
The Kentucky bred, Oklahoma based artist’s recording career – which began with her 2003 debut album Traveler and resumed in 2017 with the aptly named Storyteller – is an extension of her work as a physical therapist. On her latest collection, Art on the Piano, she continues her ever-evolving journey by taking her listeners on a deeply soothing, impressionistic inner travels of their own.
Holly not only enjoys creating pieces she feels are “good for the neurology,” but she uses what one patient calls her “magic fingers” for both Manual Therapy practice and for playing pieces while she treats patients. That healing touch extends to fans beyond her office setting who have found great healing just from listening to and internalizing her thoughtful, wondrously meditative and soul-awakening pieces.
Her bio includes a brief but powerful testimony from a fan who was dying from a serious bacterial infection. The woman’s father brought Holly’s Traveler CD and told her to “go where the music takes her. Adrift in a dream inspired by the calming music, she felt the Lord’s hand come down to cradle her. When she awakened, her fever was gone and she quickly recovered.
Who can explain how the divine interacts with us as we listen to music? Some things transcend our human logic or understanding – yet it’s clear that the grace of Holly’s compositions and her tender embrace of the keys have the power to connect us to that ultimate, sustaining, healing force. Many solo pianists in her genre mix in cheery upbeat tunes for variety, but it’s to her credit – and our ability to feel a sense of weightless “floating” as we immerse further - that on Art on the Piano, she keeps a relaxed tempo to drive her gorgeous melodies.
By design, from the soft-spoken, moody sensuality of “A Blackberry Sky” through the lilting and lyrical, hypnotic and hopeful “Light on the Water,” she fashions the album as a collection of eleven pieces of art in which the “brushstrokes” are played out on the keys of the piano.
To extend the literally colorful metaphor, she consciously crafted each song/work as an intimate calling on our hearts, drawing us into another aspect of embracing the present through each of our five senses.
Holly serves as a gentle, loving guide for our soul traveling through the soothing yet empowering dynamics, alternately high and low register melodies and harmonies of soft, graceful gems like the increasingly passionate, dark toned title track, the soothing and uplifting “Butterfly,” and the aptly titled mood pieces “Repose,” “In the Quiet” and “Stillness of Brilliance.” Allowing these pieces to transport us yet also bring us back to our center where inner peace and healing are attainable, we have the opportunity to all at once enter an unprecedented, mind freeing state of relaxation and a realm where we can rejuvenate, rise and thrive unfettered once again.