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Mystical America

Laura Sullivan

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Album Review

One term that keeps coming up in connection with Laura Sullivan's pianism is "classical-influenced." That isn't to say that Mystical America, Sullivan's second album, is actually European classical music; this 2004 release will not be mistaken for an album of Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart or Rachmaninoff melodies. But the European classical tradition is definitely a strong influence on this pensive, evocative effort, which is very much a part of the new age genre. Some might argue that Sullivan's compositions are an attempt to simplify classical music and make it palatable to modern ears — sort of like the way soul-jazz organists simplified hard bop in the '60s. But truth be told, Sullivan isn't pretending to be anything other than what she is: a new age instrumentalist along the lines of Liz Story, Suzanne Ciani and George Winston. And like a lot of new age instrumentalists, she is very nature-minded. Nature was a major influence on her first album, Pianoscapes for the Trails of North America, and it is definitely a big influence on Mystical America (which was produced by guitarist Chris Camozzi). From "Mt. Shasta" to "America's Stonehenge" to "Hawaiian Islands," every song on this 2004 release has been inspired by nature in some way — specifically, nature in North America. While Sullivan's charming, thoughtful new age melodies owe something to the European classical tradition, she is an American performer who grew up in California — and her U.S. upbringing is reflected in titles like "Chaco Canyon" and "Red Rock Ridge." Anyone who has enjoyed the new age pianism of Liz Story or Suzanne Ciani will find a lot to enjoy about Sullivan's second album.

Mystical America, Laura Sullivan
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: New Age, Music
  • Released: 26 August 2005

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