10 Songs, 48 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

From MainlyPiano

KathyPiano7

"After The Rain" is the third album from pianist/guitarist/composer Neil Tatar and is his second album recorded at Imaginary Road Studios. Co-produced by Tatar, Will Ackerman and Tom Eaton, the ten tracks include original piano and guitar solos as well as ensemble pieces that feature the talents of several of the stellar musicians who often accompany artists who record at Imaginary Road. Both of Tatar’s previous albums reached the #1 position on the ZMR Top 100 Global Radio Airplay charts and Tatar received ZMR’s “Best New Artist” award for 2015. I would certainly expect "After The Rain" to do just as well and will likely bring Tatar additional awards. The music is gentle, melodic and accessible enough for casual listening, but is also complex enough to stand up to many listens with full attention, revealing nuances and subtleties each time. Warm, soothing and relaxing, I’m sure this will be a go-to album for many people after a stressful day, to accompany an intimate dinner, or to enhance the beauty of a scenic drive (to name a few!).

"After The Rain" begins with “Gentle Steps,” a wonderful duet for piano and violin that features the always-excellent Charlie Bisharat. It begins as a quiet piano solo that feels a little bit tentative, treading carefully but gaining confidence with the violin’s support and encouragement - a great beginning! “Sunsets” has Tatar on acoustic guitar along with Bisharat on violin, Premik Russell Tubbs on sax, Tony Levin on bass, Jeff Haynes on percussion, Eaton on Hammond organ, and Noah Wilding’s wordless vocals. Dreamy and hypnotic in the first half of the piece, it picks up the tempo and tonal colors in the second with a more smooth jazz approach. “Reflections” puts Tatar back on the piano bench, this time collaborating with Jeff Oster on flugelhorn and Levin on bass. Peaceful and introspective, this one will quiet anyone’s world. “Rush Pond” is a favorite. A trio for piano, violin and cello (Eugene Friesen), there is a melancholy sense of longing that often comes with being in a really beautiful place. I get the feeling that it’s a dark night with the moon reflected in the pond as gentle ripples move across the surface of the water. My favorite track is “Night Walk,” a wonderfully haunting guitar piece plus the ensemble of Ackerman (guitar and rainstick), Tubbs (ewi), Eaton (piano and keyboard), Levin and Wilding. A dark, mysterious melody and an intoxicating rhythm merge as an unbeatable combination on this piece! Pieces with the theme of freedom are often buoyant and soaring, but Tatar’s “Freedom” is a very poignant and reflective duet for piano and English horn (Jill Haley) - also a favorite. The title track has Tatar on piano, Ackerman (guitar), Haley, Levin, Haynes, and vocals by Wilding as well as Tatar’s wife, Lini. Sometimes very quiet and dreamy and other times a bit more active and rhythmic, it paints a beautiful picture of a landscape or a garden refreshed by a spring rain. “Sidewalk Jam” is a breezy, light jazz piece for guitar, sax, bass and percussion and brings this excellent album to an upbeat close.

"After The Rain" is an album sure to please Tatar’s established fans and bring him a lot more new ones! Highly recommended!

Warm reflective, acoustic ensemble music

CandiceMichelle1

Neil Tatar is a composer, pianist and guitarist whose musical roots lie in diverse styles such as blues, R&B, light jazz and world music. Having released two previous albums, Where Did the Time Go (with cellist David Darling) and Learning to Fly, Neil’s third release, After the Rain, continues in the stylistic mode of his other contemporary instrumental works, while also softening the mood a bit in a subtle change of pace from the album’s generally livelier predecessors. Produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton and himself and recorded at Will’s own Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont, After the Rain is comprised of 10 compositions spanning nearly 50 minutes, which variably features contributions by other guest musicians such Charlie Bisharat (violin), Jill Haley (English Horn), Jeff Oster (flugelhorn), Eugene Freisen (cello), Jeff Haynes (percussion), Premik Russell Tubbs (EWI) and Tony Levin (electric and NS bass).

“Gentle Steps” appropriately opens the album with gentle piano notes in the higher register that are soon joined by violin. Conveying a thoughtful tone, hence the song’s title, the melody eventually becomes a bit fuller with the two instruments yielding a crisp, clear sound as they elegantly intertwine throughout. On the next piece, “Sunsets,” Neil switches to his guitar as he’s joined by a robust ensemble of violin, soprano sax, bass and percussion. Tom Eaton additionally lends Hammond Organ while Noah Wilding provides some wordless vocal intonations. A leisurely composition with a bit of a jazz flair, it fittingly brings-to-mind that of strolling along a scenic road in the sunset.

One notable highlight on the album is “When I Was Young”, which seemingly nods at the recollection of youthful memories, with all its pleasant and often bittersweet moments flooding to mind. Guided by a gentle guitar rhythm and accompanying percussion, the composition features a lead violin melody that is further complimented by the softly understated sounds of sax, cymbals and rainsticks, as wispy vocals caressingly brush against the earthy acoustic arrangement. Following up this piece is the particularly lovely “Rush Pond” with its deeply reflective mood. Here contemplative piano notes are perfectly accentuated by violin and cello, which further lend to the composition’s solemnly graceful air.

The atmospherically mysterious “Night Walk” is easily my favorite piece on the album, beginning with EWI (electronic wind instrument) that soon introduces rhythmically paced guitar chords. I’m particularly fond of Tom Eaton’s signature haunting piano notes and ambient keyboard textures, which are sparsely placed among the nocturnal soundscape. Gentle rainstick and EWI further enhances the song’s woodsy feel, while ethereal vocal overtones seemingly allude to the presence of woodland fairies, as the occasional cymbal flickers like the glow of a firefly.

“Sidewalk Jam” wraps things up on a decidedly uplifting, carefree note with a gently rhythmic ensemble of guitar, alto sax, bass and percussion. Conveying a subtle smooth jazz vibe, a nice little jam gets going, making it a perfectly fitting conclusion to an overall contemplative album.

Another enjoyable release from a talented composer and multi-instrumentalist, I appreciated the warmly reflective and generally low-key nature of After the Rain. Indeed, this album sounds similarly like other instrumental ensemble recordings that come out of Imaginary Road Studios, so if you’re mostly or totally a fan of those works, as well as Will Ackerman’s numerous productions in general, then be certain to check out this one!

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