15 Songs, 1 Hour, 1 Minute

TITLE TIME
3:14
4:38
3:39
4:17
3:00
3:46
3:27
3:06
3:37
4:50
4:00
3:51
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8:16

Ratings and Reviews

From MainlyPiano

KathyPiano7

"Solitaire" is Neil Patton’s fourth solo piano album following his 2015 release "Between Shadow and Light," which was awarded “Album of the Year” by MainlyPiano as well as several nominations for similar accolades. I’m going to quote myself from my review of that album because the statement is equally accurate and valid for "Solitaire": “There are a lot of really good pianists on the contemporary piano scene, but only a few are breath-taking, and Neil Patton is one of those. With impeccable technique, lightning-fast fingers, and amazing control of the piano, Patton also brings that intangible magic and passion to his compositions and playing that set him apart from most.” I’ll add that Neil Patton is one of my top five favorite pianist/composers on the planet and that I hope the wonders of his music will reach many new and appreciative ears and hearts with this release.

The fifteen original piano solos on "Solitaire" express the wide variety of emotions experienced when we are alone as well as the many life events that can result in solitude whether we welcome it or not. The CD liner notes explain the thoughts and inspiration behind each piece, often reflecting Patton’s deep faith. Some of the pieces are big and triumphant, while others express grief and sadness, joy, and everything in between. This is music that has substance, beauty and profound depth, played with passion, compassion and soul-stirring empathy. Neil Patton is the real deal, folks!

It’s not often that I have a hard time naming favorite pieces on albums, but every track on "Solitaire" is a favorite. It begins with “The Turning Page,” a gentle reminder that “each day is a journey to the next, and is not a permanent residence.” (quoted from the liner notes) Expressed with grace, it’s a very welcoming start. “Redemption” quietly offers hope and the promise of a Redeemer to those who have lost it all. Warm and encouraging, it’s a rainbow shining through the dark clouds. “Walking On Air” takes a different look at solitude - one of freedom, renewed energy and the possibilities of time spent alone. This piece is absolutely euphoric and ends with a surprising percussive burst. “The Shepherd” is a tender message of gratitude to the pastors of small churches - delicate, fragile and very sincere. “Lacrymosa” is for those who mourn. Comforting and soothing, it offers open arms and a sympathetic ear - stunningly beautiful. Although it is light, “Twilight” is bittersweet as it reflects on those who have lost many friends and family members to the passage of time. The title track is a swirling celebration of the “precious stones all around us.” Joyful and energetic, this one is sure to bring a big smile! “Back Porch” is quite different with a folksy feeling and a slight country “twang.” It is about the easy peace that can come from the solitude of reading a good book or having a pleasant daydream while sitting on the back porch. “Gethsemane” is the most breath-taking piece on the album and HAS to be heard. The title refers, of course, to the place where Jesus was hung on the cross. At over eight minutes, this is the centerpiece of the album, although placing it anywhere else in the playing order would have overshadowed the other tracks, no matter how exceptional they are. This is one of the darkest and most powerful piano solos I’ve ever heard. I can’t imagine anyone hearing this masterpiece and not being profoundly moved. Incredible.

It is early in the year, but I have a strong feeling that Neil Patton will have his second Album of the Year award from MainlyPiano. This album is a masterpiece from start to finish. Just don’t expect it to be background or mood music. I give it my highest recommendation.

One of this year's finest solo piano recordings

CandiceMichelle1

Neil Patton is a supremely talented composer and pianist/keyboardist (as well as a singer – although I’ve yet to hear him in that capacity) whose released four solo piano albums to date. His latest album, entitled Solitaire, is comprised of 15 outstanding compositions spanning a little over an hour – and follows-up his fantastic release, Between Shadow and Light, which was one of my personal favorite solo piano recordings of last year.

The album opens with “The Turning Page” – a delicate, brisk-paced number that initially begins with a light and fluttery melody played in the higher register, as it increasingly adds more fullness via lower register chords along its course. Aptly setting the pace for the rest of the album, Neil expressively yet gracefully takes the listener on an inner journey that captures both hopeful, joyful moments as well as solemn, introspective moods, as he brilliantly performs on the keys with seemingly perfect ease and fluidity.

One particularly notable piece is “Walking on Air”, which recalls a hint of George Winston. Characterized by a colorfully radiant and vivid melody, the composition is seemingly punctuated by spiraling bursts of energy.

Another favorite of mine is “The Muse”, which pleasantly recalls some of Liz Story’s work, as it effectively showcases a constantly-changing pattern that sparkles and spins throughout. I’m also especially fond of “Twilight” – a boldly cinematic yet contemplative piece that bears touches of David Lanz. Here, Neil impressively creates a three-dimensional effect with his remarkable playing technique.

As with his previous album, Between Shadow and Light, Neil has once again saved the best for last (for me anyway) in the form of a similarly darker, lengthier composition entitled “Gethsemane”. Named for the urban garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, of which is probably best-known for being the place where Jesus prayed the night before his crucifixion, this hauntingly beautiful number imparts an aptly mysterious, reflective mood. Here, Neil employs some gentle digital delay and liberal amount of reverb to create an all-encompassing, epic sound – making this one of my favorite solo piano pieces to emerge from an artist in a long time.

A truly exceptionable and professional talent, Neil Patton’s piano-playing is unquestionably top-notch – with his instrument always emitting a most lovely resonance. Additionally, Neil’s enthralling compositional style and perfected execution of these melodies uniquely stands out among many of his contemporaries, as well as places him in great company among some of the best in the field – hence, I can already conclude that Solitaire is destined to be named among the finest solo-piano releases of the year!

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