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Album Review

Windham Hill continues its 25th year celebration as a forerunner in new age music with this beautiful 15-track compilation by one of their most consistent and loyal solo pianists. Though she's always been categorized as new age, Story's songs always incorporate a rich array of influences, from classical to jazz, even as they often calm into a meditative state. There's rich whimsy to "Bradley's Tune" (from Solid Colors), a mystical blues flavor to "Reconciliation" (from Part of Fortune), and a gossamer high-register elegance to the image-laden "Wedding Rain." Many of her best songs seem to make themselves up as they go along, forging improvisational paths, but others, like "Church of Trees" (from Escape of the Circus Ponies), take a more relaxed middle ground. While she can communicate every emotion with just her touch on the piano, she also knows how to use outside instrumentation when the emotional call is there; witness the mournful cello within the optimistic piano melody of "Ana" and the jazz duo effect created by the rhythm of Joel Di Bartolo's bass on "My Foolish Heart" and "M Romance" (from her standards album My Foolish Heart). The somber closer "For Mark, Unwound" is a track dedicated to her late friend Mark Paul Duke. Long before David Lanz and Jim Brickman were ruling the genre piano roost, Story was writing tremendous chapters of new age history. An essential collection.


Born: 1957 in Southern California, CA

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Story studied classical piano while growing up in Southern California and even thought about becoming a music librarian or theorist for a while. Then she heard jazz pianist Bill Evans at a New York club, and the experience changed her perspective on music overnight. Story, who had studied at Juilliard and was enrolled at Hunter College at the time, abandoned her academic program in favor of jazz lessons with Sanford Gold, a teacher Evans had recommended. Back in Los Angeles, she continued her musical...
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Welcome Home: The Best of Liz Story, Liz Story
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