"Promise" is Christine Brown’s sixth release to date, and I think it is by far her best. I have enjoyed all of Brown’s albums, but this one has a grace and musical wisdom that only living life for a while can bring (I’m older, so I can say that!). Classically-influenced and inspired by people, events, and emotions, these thirteen original piano solos provide a rich listening experience for full attention, relaxation, or as an accompaniment to quiet activities. Recorded at Piano Haven Studios near Seattle on Joe Bongiorno’s now-legendary (and rightly so!) Kawai RX-7 grand piano, the sound quality is warm, clear, and elegant and Brown’s playing is relaxed and self-assured. This is a truly beautiful album, from the lovely cover artwork and liner notes to the first and last notes of the music.
"Promise" begins with “Silent Tears,” a lovely piece that conveys deep emotion and a sense of intimacy, much like a heartfelt conversation with a close friend or relative. “Pura Vida” is much lighter and more joyful. “Tender Heart” is delicate and fragile yet conveys strong feelings from within - a musical soliloquy of sorts. “A Sunset’s Promise” was inspired by a spectacular sunset and the reminder of how often we forget to enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life. Peaceful and serene, this is one of my favorites. “Treasured Moments” is another favorite - reflective while conveying an inner peace, it feels like a lingering musical hug. I am always amazed at how effective the piano is when it comes to depicting rain, and “The Passing Rain” is an excellent example. Varying in intensity from a gentle sprinkle to a moderate downpour, the piece gives the sense of a refreshing shower as the notes dance about. “Eagle’s Flight” effectively depicts the effortless majesty of these amazing birds. “Wishful Thinking” again turns inward, reflecting and asking why or why not? - another very personal beauty. I love “Cascada” - my favorite on this album. Its graceful flow and purposeful sense of moving forward are captivating, as is its rubato rhythm, slowing and accelerating as the music suggests. “Twilight’s Touch” is warm and gently evocative. “Moonlight Embrace” closes the album with a gorgeous love song without words - meaningful and contented.
Christine Brown has created a wonderful hour (almost) of poignant and inspiring solo piano that is sure to relax and uplift the listener. Highly recommended!