“A treasure and a gem.” – Dyan Garris, New Age CD
As musical artists, we can find ourselves inspired by a multitude of things. A solo pianist, in my opinion, has a real challenge to not be dry or boring, even if they are inspired. And, in that way, solo piano is perhaps harder to do well than it may seem. In any genre, however, to be fresh, authentic, to play directly from the heart, and to be emotionally engaging at the same time is a true gift of artistry.
That’s what we have here in “Gardens of Zion in the Rain,” the new album from the very talented Michael Borowski. The entire album is spellbinding from the very first notes. And, that ambience continues on throughout the 11 tracks on this quite enchanting solo piano album.
Produced by the legendary Will Ackerman and co-produced by Tom Eaton, along with Executive Producer Michael Whalen, this album is a winner all the way around.
The album opens with the beautiful, “Gloriana,” which is a tribute to Michael’s first piano teacher. Clearly, she did her job well. This is a dreamy and flowing composition with lovely melodic and chord structures that are extremely calming to the spirit.
“Brotherly Love” follows, which is a nod to Philadelphia, a city for which Michael holds a great deal of affection. This is slow, but not lumbering. The piece makes good use of the lower piano register, along with a pleasant melody.
One of my favorites on this album is “This is My Song – Frick’s Field.” Frick’s Field is another landmark in Pennsylvania. I love the build here, the chord progressions, and the way the composition bursts into a quite happy, upbeat tune at about 1-1/2 minutes. This is a very enjoyable piece in every regard.
The inspiration for the title track – and the album – is Zion Memorial Gardens, his mother and stepfather’s final resting place. It’s lovely, this, and we can very clearly envision the rain, the greenery, and. . .the emotional tears. Beautiful.
Some other highlights: Michael is not only a gifted piano player and composer, but he is also a beekeeper. Don’t miss the scintillating, “Bees,” which is light and airy, perhaps like the flight of these precious creatures. Love this.
As well, there is a cover here of Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman’s gorgeous song, “Time After Time.” I was wondering what this was doing here. In the liner notes, Michael explains that it’s his most favorite song ever. He’s done an amazing job with this. Cyndi and Rob would be very pleased. Everything is flawless.
This emotionally evocative album closes out with very moving, improvised, “April Mourning.” Michael’s mother and uncle, who each had huge influence on him musically and otherwise, both passed away on an April morning, but decades apart. This very brief, but stunningly beautiful song is the perfect close to this wonderful album, which is both a treasure and a gem. You will want to get the whole thing.
Releasing March 4, 2022, listen/pre-save/pre-order here:
Official artist website: https://michaelborowskimusic.com/
Michael’s links: https://linktr.ee/Michaelborowski