My Romance: An Evening With Jim Brickman

Jim Brickman

Windham Hill Records, 2000

http://jimbrickman.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/01/2000

I'm about to make an admission that should send some of my loyal readers screaming for the exits. Hold on to your seats: I don't mind New Age music. In fact, I kinda like it.

There is something about hearing the pure emotion of a single musical instrument, or even sparse yet intricate instrumentation, that pulls at the heartstrings. The music can take me soaring in my mind to places I can only dream about visiting, and - if the mood is right - it can make me long for days past, especially thinking back to when my daughter was just a baby.

Jim Brickman is one of the modern-day masters of piano-based New Age music, and his latest release my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 My Romance: An Evening With Jim Brickman is a wonderful example of how captivating this kind of music can be. It, regrettably, also shows what can happen if too many cooks are brought in to consult on the soup.

Recorded over a two-day period, Brickman absolutely shines when the spotlight is focused solely on his piano work. Tracks such as "Rocket To The Moon," "Circles" and "Lake Erie Rainfall" are stunningly beautiful, and captivate the listener in ways they may never have thought possible. But Brickman saves his own personal magic for the disc's closing track, "Starbright (The Lullaby Medley)". I swear, if anything could make me seriously consider having a second child, the memories this song evokes (as well as the lost opportunities) is the strongest argument I've heard. I defy any parent not to be moved by this selection.

Even with some of the guest performers, My Romance: An Evening With Jim Brickman works magically. The two selections with Olivia Newton-John, "Valentine" and "Change Of Heart," are surprisingly powerful, and re-affirm Newton-John's power as a vocalist, even if her pop stardom days are long gone. Likewise, Donny Osmond turns in a spectacular performance on "Love Of My Life," another song which grabs the heartstrings and tugs on them like an emergency brake on a runaway train.

And as good as this disc is in general, sometimes the guest list grows to be a little too much. Admittedly, the piano duet with David Banoit, "Glory," is well-executed, so it's hard sometimes to tell that there's two pianos playing. But the two selections with Dave Koz, "The Love I Found In You" and "Partners In Crime," sometimes make it feel like Brickman is trying too hard to show how many friends he has in the business.

Even with this minor flaw, My Romance: An Evening With Jim Brickman is a spectacular disc which may just show even the most skeptical listener how beautiful and enjoyable New Age music can be. Fans of Brickman's will undoubtedly run out to snag this disc - while people like myself who haven't followed him closely will probably be investing in his backcatalog. A wonderful addition to anyone's musical library.

Rating: A-

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Windham Hill Records, and is used for informational purposes only.