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It's About the Rose

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Album Review

New age pianist Karen Marie Garrett comes from the classical realm, as indicated by the title of her first album, Classical Serenity. Her second, Pensare, boasted compositions by Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart, and it was only with her third, Allure of Sanctuary, that she began to introduce original tunes, along with titles by Satie. Her fourth CD, It's About the Rose, takes the logical step of turning to all originals, but Garrett retains her classical focus. She notes that "Vinot and the Seabird" is inspired by Satie's "4 Ogives," but there are echoes of her other classical favorites sprinkled throughout. It's About the Rose is her second album to be produced by new age progenitor Will Ackerman, and his Windham Hill style of becalmed acoustic instrumental music is very much in evidence; it would be easy to imagine this album having come out on Windham Hill. Of course, Garrett cites various inspirations for her compositions, everything from a recently deceased Labrador retriever ("Tally's Lullaby") to an interview remark by actor Matthew McConaughey ("It's About the Rose in the Vase on the Table"). But this isn't really program music, even if the pianist had specific ideas when she was writing. It is slow, contemplative new age music with a classical leaning.

Customer Reviews

Debutes at # 1 on national New Age Chart; # 1 Three Months!

Distinguished music critic Bill Binkelman of New Age Reporter has already named IT’S ABOUT THE ROSE to his list of the best dozen new age and adult contemporary recordings of the year (selected from a field of more than 2,800 albums). Review by Bill Binkelman, New Age Reporter "What can I write that will do justice to this sublime and beautiful recording? I have put off reviewing It’s About the Rose because I didn’t know how, in words, to capture my reaction to this album, conveying how deeply it touched me. From the opening “It’s About the Rose in the Vase on the Table” and its rolling yet melancholic melodicism to the gypsy-ish “Moon Night” (featuring Derrik Jordan on djembe and violin) to the light-hearted “Café Espresso (for Ken)” which prances and dances around like a little kid overflowing with the joy of the moment to the closing reprise “Finale of the Rose” on which Garrett is joined by stellar accompanists Will Ackerman (who produced this outstanding disc), Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Steve Schuch on violin and Derrik Jordan once again on percussion, there is no misstep, no over-reach, no wasting of a note or a chord throughout the fifty-one minutes on this recording. It’s About the Rose is one of the most evocative, deeply felt albums I’ve heard in years, and that statement encompasses many recordings. Comparable to the chamber minimalism of Tim Story at times, yet also more accessible for less adventurous listeners who need a firmer grounding in structured acoustic instrumentation, this is a CD of uncommon grace and elegance, yet never at the expense of becoming distant or overly concerned with technique as opposed to human emotion. Try to remain unaffected by the gentle caress of cello (played by Eugene Friesen) and Garrett’s piano as they weave a delicate beauty on “Tally’s Lullaby.” Then there is “Vinot and the Seabird” which begins as a sparse piano piece and introduces ethereal wordless female vocals (courtesy of Noah Wilding) and Oster’s flugelhorn, maintaining a distinct reflective mood with some of Garrett’s more nuanced and subtle playing, emphasizing the silence between notes as much as the gently sad melody. “Waiting” and “The Piano Called” are solo piano offerings, both being quiet, reflective and somber, yet wholly accessible, rich with emotion and inviting to the listener despite the amber tint of the minor tonalities and the overall downcast mood of the compositions themselves. What separates It’s About the Rose from other piano releases is no one thing, but a combination of elements. The quality of performances, the production by the aforementioned Ackerman, and the compositions themselves written (or in one case, co-written) by the artist all factor in; however, in the end, it’s the intangibles that reach out and grab the listener, the same way that a faded photograph of a long-past relative or a dog-eared letter from a former lover stokes the dying embers of memory and rekindles a flame that burns brightly if only for an instant. In the same way that a rainy Saturday afternoon invites us to withdraw inwards, so to does this sublime recording take us deep within ourselves. It’s About the Rose is so beautiful and so touching that it may reduce you to tears, but they may just be tears of fond remembrance, not sadness. The CD earns my highest recommendation without reservation."


I first heard Karen Marie Garrett on Pandora, and I must say that she is truly gifted. When I first heard her music my heart dropped and it was so beautiful I wanted to cry. My friend, who listens to m"ostly hip hop, was in the room and asked me to turn the volume up! And we just listened, quietly, until the song, "Finale of the Rose," was finished. I hightly recommend this album to anyone who wants to be amazed and just...yeah, i'm at a loss for more words.

Tally's Lullaby......

I have to say Tally's Lullaby is one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I have ever heard! The whole Cd is wonderful, but I wish Karen would make a cd with all of her songs similar to Tally's. Keep up the good work Karen, I'll be waiting for your new cd...


Genre: New Age

Years Active: '00s

Pianist Karen Marie Garrett was born and raised in Vancouver, WA. She began taking piano lessons at the age of five and later studied with Carolyn O. James of the Sherwood Conservatory of Music. Her first album, Classical Serenity, consisted entirely of classical works. Pensare, her second, combined more classical pieces with works by film composer Frank Sanucci. Garrett sent the album to new age guitarist and producer Will Ackerman, who then produced her third album, Allure of Sanctuary (November...
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It's About the Rose, Karen Marie Garrett
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