Elise Lebec is a pianist, composer, synthesist, occasional vocalist, arranger and producer who has a new album out, Heart Song, and the music is most definitely heartfelt. She touches on affairs of the heart with the instrumental tunes “It Was Always You” (a piano-cello duet), “Afternoon Kisses” (her piano joined with flugelhorn champ Jeff Oster and drummer-percussionist Michael Urbano) and “Heart Song” (a solo piano piece). Elise also was inspired by the sailing ships of yore and yesteryear -- “Pirates and Poets” (piano, synth drone, flugelhorn and cello), “Ghost Ships” (piano, synth strings, singing bowls and bells, and Elise on wordless background vocals) and “Away Into the Horizon” (forceful solo playing on the piano). Other highlights include “Lullaby” (an expressive piano and cello duet), “Moonlit Waters” (with Elise on piano and lead vocals singing “Where have you been?”), and “Heart Song Avec Cello” (a revisiting of the title tune but with well-known new age cellist David Darling sitting in).
This is a classic-sounding new age album with beautiful melodies, strong playing, and a sense of intimate performance as if you were sitting in a parlor sometime in the past being entertained.
This is simply enchanting music. It probably falls into the new age music category as well as anywhere. But an argument could be made that it is more neo-classical since the bulk of it is either solo piano or piano-cello pieces. Lebec mostly has a light touch, but she can bear-down on occasion. The important thing is that she plays with deep feeling. While there are definite melodies here, it sounds as if she also leaves room for some improvisational soloing (for herself and others) within the framework. This is an outstanding new album worth checking out.
A single delicate note, conception: growing into the birth of a fully fledge composition, so delicate and light, ethereal and transcendental, allowing you the time and place to simply be; to sit, to listen to think or to dream.
Thus is the introduction to a collection of often solo piano pieces and others, complete with the delicate tones of flugelhorn, the cello and vocals giving the pieces a depth of understanding: a richness of texture.
‘Ghost Ships’ immediately takes you into a world of mysterious events. You can almost smell the dampness of the mist, the haunting sounds of the bell tolling in mournful tones, the fear of the sailors as the ship lays stranded in the mists, a ghost ship forming out of the cold, dense atmosphere.
The variety of moods is presented flawlessly as the album flows across the ocean, to the wistfulness of day-dreaming love, to the depths captured in ‘A Break in the Clouds’; moving from the heaviness of the gloom to the light; the rays refreshing the soul when the sun comes shining through the clouds, brightening the day.
In a tribute to the land in ‘Sacred Land’, Labec has combined the vocals of Guatemalan elder Tara OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez, as he talks about the earth, the blessings, being grateful for and honouring all the earth represents. This is one piece which is richer for listening deeplyto the words, accompanied by the delicate underpinning notes of the keyboards.
Each piece is representative of the beliefs held by Elise Lebec as she has captured truly the concepts of what goes into making such an interesting world; a world full of love, joy, sadness, the good, the bad.
With ‘Heart Song’ she encourages you to simply stop, to listen and enjoy the not so small things which make up the very essence of people and life.