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Customer Reviews

From MainlyPiano


"Butterfly Rapture" is SF Bay Area jazz pianist/composer Brian Kelly’s first album since his 2008 "Afterplay" and his first solo piano album ever - something I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. When I lived in the Bay Area, I had the opportunity to see Kelly play live several times and he became one of my favorite live performers. I’ve also worked with him by proofing some of his sheet music, so I’ve gotten to know his music quite intimately and love it. Overall, the music on "Butterfly Rapture" has an intoxicating energy but also has many quieter, more reflective moments. Kelly started playing the piano at eight years old, so his composing reflects a lifetime in music and feels as natural as speaking. The twelve pieces on "Butterfly Rapture" are a fascinating combination of classical, jazz and new age influences intertwined to give Brian Kelly a unique and original voice.

"Butterfly Rapture" begins with “Piano Escapade,” a bright and lively piece that (for me) expresses the joy and freedom of getting “lost” in the music. It also clearly indicates that this is someone who really knows his way around a piano! “Room For Sky” has a beautiful flowing quality and combines elements of classical, jazz, and new age piano - a favorite. I also really like “Lilac Horizon,” a lyrical beauty with just the right touch of mystery to make it compelling. “Chasing a Breeze” has a carefree energy that goes in different directions like its namesake breeze would do. Lovely images of an abundance of wildflowers and new grasses gently caressed by a soft wind are evoked by “Hills in Bloom” - warm and soothing. “Niko’s Delight” is a multi-movement piece with a more classical structure that begins with a sweet and simple melody accompanied mostly by blocked chords. The second theme is somewhat more agitated yet beautifully flowing - I really like this one, too! As its title implies, “Playing My Heart” is poignant and sincere, a deeply personal expression - and a very beautiful one. “Winter Aura” goes darker to capture the feeling of winter’s chill. Much of the first half of this piece is played in the bass of the piano, becoming livelier and more percussive and then returning to the original theme - cool! Kelly saved the elegant title track for the end of the album. The various runs throughout the piece are crystal clear and intricate while the smoother and more lyrical passages flow effortlessly. It’s a great ending to a great album!

"Butterfly Rapture" was worth the long wait between albums and is sure to inspire and delight! Very highly recommended!

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus


The album gets off to a strong start with the opening track, “Piano Escapade.” There is a cinematic feel to this piece and I could definitely imagine it as a film soundtrack. One of the things that impressed me right away was Brian’s sense of dynamics and his ability to move between delicate passages and those that were much more powerful. On the jazzy upbeat “Room For Sky,” Brian displays striking keyboard technique and phrasing which really made me sit up and take notice. Just in the first two songs I got a sense of what he meant when he said: “My music integrates a broad palette of styles and techniques that I blend with the aim of expressing a continuous spectrum of emotion.” The slower, more reflective feel of track 6, “Spiral Moon” provides a bit of a change up from the first five compositions, which are considerably higher energy. On “Playing My Heart,” Brian expresses his more romantic side while exhibiting some jaw-dropping technique in the second half.

It’s hard to classify Brian’s music, although if Jedi master Obi Wan was a musician, he might say: “the jazz Force is strong in this one.” Elements of jazz are found throughout the album, and I’m not talking about smooth jazz, but more adventurous and complex forms of the genre. If I had to choose one word to describe Brian’s playing on “Butterfly Rapture” it would be “passionate.” I had the feeling of him being totally committed and pouring his heart and soul into every song, often digging in with unexpected vigor and intensity. This is definitely not background music. It is powerfully engaging and commands your attention. I am beyond impressed with Brian’s talents as a pianist and composer, and found this to be one of the most unique solo piano albums I’ve heard in a while.

To read a full length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit: MichaelDiamondMusic.com

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