Defining the Genres
How many times have you wished for an album that had wondrous contemporary piano pieces rooted in demanding classical signatures? This new compilation album by Birmingham, Alabama pianist Michael Dulin is what you’re waiting for. These Are The Moments is an album filled with a plethora of Michael’s most requested keyboard tunes which, for the most part are contemporary instrumentals delicately woven with familiar classical fare. The results are a recording that subdues the cravings of any classical audiophile/New Age listener. I have known Dulin for a decade and I can tell you he is one of the most serious, demanding musicians I have ever met. His attention to musical detail is sometimes Draconian, but it always yields an album that delights and surprises the listener.
Once Upon a Time is from one of Michael’s earliest album called Atmospheres. It is a story song that starts out with a question of what ifs and ends with a promise of happily ever after. Michael premiers his signature riffs in this magical tune of storytelling.
Put Impressionist composer Erik Satie on anything and it gets my attention. I remember Simply Satie from Mike’s previous album Timeless and the tune is a crowd pleaser with his artistic treatment. It solidifies Satie as a forerunner to New Age and contemporary styles.
The One I Waited For, is one of the most poignant tunes on the album, and it exudes with the everlasting love Michael has for Jan, his wife. This is an old timey sepia-glazed love story, a valentine with a big red bow and a musical love letter on vintage parchment all rolled into one for the love of his life, his muse, his emotional compass. Greater love hath no man that one that transmutes passion into music.
Michael crosses into another genre in the song Night Rhythms which he renders into something akin to a smooth jazz tune. Apparently he learned more than classical music at Juilliard. In the tune I could imagine the rain just ending and the street lights gleaming in the misty darkness, and two doors down on the right, the sound of sophisticatedly cool piano music fills the night. The upbeat tempo promises me that it will be a night to remember.
Dulin revisits his Atmospheres album for the tune Bedtime for Little John. Part lullaby and part cinematic soundtrack, the song recounts the bright, sunny day of sand castles, grasshopper wrangling and the melted ice cream cone. This is a song of childhood innocence with the hope that his soul is to keep… forever.
Winter Dreams introduces vocalist Jeania Major to Michael’s latest song written for the album. Jeania’s light operatic style adds an intricate dimension to the fairy realm tune. The melody sparkles with glistening snowflakes dancing in a world fraught with snow queens, mischievous elves and ice so clear that the sky is bluer than blue.
With sixteen tracks on These Are The Moments it is easy to relive some of Michael Dulin’s greatest musical moments that fans and newbies can share and appreciate. The fun thing about a Michael Dulin album is it is whimsical, yet masterful in the way he incorporates classical standards into his contemporary tunes. It is always a fun challenge to hear a song and know I know it in the back of my mind. Then the answer hits and I am surprised and enthralled. Every time.
Rating: Very Good+
R J Lannan, independent reviewer for the Zone Music Reporter