Infinite Beauty Review
From One World Music Radio in the UK
Donovan Johnsons Infinite Beauty is well named; it is filled with a new energy of hope, love and life, much like track one that literally will burst into your world with ease, it’s intent is to show its freshness, its newly birthed and here for your to enjoy and may I add it’s also good to see a musician placing his title track proudly as the first composition on the album, a trait sadly lacking with some. The piano style here is undeniable joy and Johnsons performance will fill you with that most wonderful of emotions.
Through this whole album a narrative will guide you through each and every emotive twist and turn of life’s path and that’s what I adore about Infinite Beauty, on Fortitude we have the strength and necessary determination needed to see it through imprinted deep on the DNA of this composition, it is deeply moving and there are some absolutely wonderful chord changes at the latter part of this stunning track.
With the narrative taking us past another stepping stone, it’s time to reflect upon the Infinite Beauty of life and within the track Infinite life, we have the perfect musical backdrop with which to do so, somewhat moody and laid back, this is a piece that is played so emotionally it begs to be paid attention too.
Now Donavan takes us on a Drive, but what kind I hear you ask dear constant reader? A slow and deliberate start takes us on a sunny leafy journey through the avenues and alleyways of a Sunday afternoon in the sun. The construction and constant tempo changes in this piece, give it a really sensual vibe, this has to be one of my favourite tracks on the album, so redolent of music that sits fondly within my memory, but an ambient place to be and one track that I completely recommend if you wish to hear the skill of a musician who has found his soul.
What can you not like about the next piece called A Morning Coffee with Grandma, the title alone says
exactly where it is going and this reflection and homage to her is beautifully composed and played with such a respectful intent, it’s hard not to picture yourself there as well. Johnson has created a warm piece using his skills and the piano flows with a loving caress that grandma would be very proud to hear.
One of the shorter tracks off the album is entitled Green Pastures, Still Waters and is filled with a classy and at times, a little jazz styled reverie of Psalm 23.2 from the Bible. Whilst listening to this it reminded me in parts of Louis Landon in style, but it does show what a skilful and adaptive pianist Johnson is.
Strangely enough we move to the mid section of the album with a track called Higher Power, this is again a very peaceful reverie that is easy on the ears and has a purpose that steadily builds throughout, and the narrative now pulls strength down from the all encompassing universal energies. This is a composition with a defined melody and I am betting that you may find yourself whistling the tune many days after initially hearing this track.
Sometimes a title will rear its head and enthral, Forsaken Hour did this for me, this music would easily be the backdrop for those dark moments when all around is still and you feel shaken by a dream, fearful of the night and the thoughts that run endlessly through your head, when all is out of context and in those forsaken hours we watch the clock, for the hope of a first spark of daylight to lift our mood and give us something to look forward to. Through this track you may find an empathic soul mate and a slice of music to help you through that time as well.
The guided tour of the mind of Donovan Johnson now reaches deep within as he seeks a little Redemption. This is a ballad of character that has an element of reflection within its structure, but the overriding melody is powerful enough to speak volumes on its own, listen out for the passage just over half way through this piece, its outstanding in its emotive quality. There is something very endearing about Redemption that will be recognised by the true music lover.
Nightfall is now cloaking our shoulders like the worn out overcoat of time, but unlike Forsaken Hour,
Nightfall has a latent and imperious energy about it that offers security and assurance. Then through the genuine and loving performance Johnson gives us a track that has so many facets to it and again around the middle of the track the artist builds and sculpts a composition that I am sure will be one asked for, or should be, at many concerts. With a sublime jazzy ending as well, this is a cleverly composed and professional performed arrangement indeed.
From beauty, to life and now to Infinite Birth, Johnson’s stylish performance continues to bring us a
multitude of delights performed on his illustrious piano, this is a track of real light and respect, dear constant reader when you listen to this piece, you will also be filled with the wonder of a new life and the energy of all it in encompasses. Once more at the middle of the track the tempo changes, but the full flow of pride and happiness resumes to deliver a composition whose main ingredient is happiness.
The shortest track on the album is called Pleading for Peace, how relevant that is now that we continue to live in a world that is divided by a pure lack of miss understanding and fear, we are manipulated by those who we allow to hold power over us, but within Johnson’s track, perhaps there is hope, perhaps through this composition we can finally see, that the key to true freedom isn’t some epic work of great depth and pompous posturing, but a small short form tune that shows us that peace, like life is really simple, but we just make it complicated, so Pleading for Peace is that anthem, its short its simple, embrace it, let’s go.
I liked Forest City; once more it’s that narrative that hooked me in, a light performance but one of supreme majesty, allow this track to wash over you like a warm summer day and you too will enjoy the interpretation of this place of special meaning for the artist, you can also hear all about this, dear constant reader by going to the album show and listening to the fascinating interview I did with the musician.
On the last track I noticed that Donovan has an ability that many pianists seem to lack, it’s his awareness of using such memorable chord structures just at the right time, however on Midwestern Hoedown anything goes, the title speaks volumes and on this, the penultimate track of the album it’s party time, so before we head off into the sunset of another release, grab your partners and go.
We now arrive at the end of another journey and give thanks to Donovan Johnson for allowing us into his musical world and mind, in reality Johnson is not only a really nice person, a good father and a classy composer of great tunes, but he is a man who has tussled with life’s rich pattern and become a better person for it, the fortitude shown in this new release is evident and to emphasise it, just listen to the last offering called Epiphany. Like any good performer he has saved the best till last and pulls out all the stops of a multi tempo, gently, but magically played piece that I rate as one of the best piano based tracks I have heard this year, classical, jazzy, even a slice of a rock element can be found here.
So dear constant readers and listeners I hope you will also enjoy Infinite Beauty by Donovan Johnson, the musician has bared his soul, has opened his life and placed it all on show and will walk away with head held high for doing so, this is not just another solo piano album, this album IS the actual artist in musical form,