Look around you, hear the music, be inspired...

Quiet Piano Improvistions, Volume 2

And the journey continues...

This CD is the second in a series of improvisational CDs. The music is meditative, quiet, and emotionally rich. I find improvisation to be about living and breathing and creating right in the moment. I am playing piano with no blueprint or guidelines. The only guides I have are my heart, mind, fingers, and the sound of the piano. The melodies and harmonies are there, all around, just waiting to be played. The music in this CD is profoundly personal for me, the kind of music I play when no one else is watching or listening. I can absorb the quiet around me and play the music that comes straight from the deeper part of my soul.  As before, these songs were performed on a Steinway D in our home studio, no multiple takes or editing. Please excuse any errant barks, thumps or other sounds that may appear, they are just part of the moment. I hope this music lets you float free of your cares, for at least a little while.
Thank you,
Greg Maroney


CD available direct from Greg, $9.99 includes shipping in US only
Also available on iTunes

Reviews

Quiet Piano Improvisations Vol 2
Written by Steve Sheppard, One World Music

This album came at a perfect moment for me; I had been suffering with late winter flu for some time, and needed a place of calm. a sanctuary, somewhere easy and peaceful to heal, and I found that as usual in music, thanks to the delicate touch and sublime compositions of Greg Maroney and his latest offering called Quiet Piano Improvisations Volume 2.
From the very first track I could feel my cares and troubles ease away, and as the sunlight played tricks with the shadows of the day, I found My Everything playing its gentle refrains within my heart and mind; this has to be simply the best way to start an album.
The scene set, the musician engaged, Maroney now takes us to another place of tranquillity called Melting Heart. The flow on this album is utterly magnificent; the calming energy from this release is as beautiful as a spring flower blooming for the first time and this piece is one of those tracks that is both memorable and also deeply moving in its content. There is a certain power and poise here that cannot be denied.
It’s a common mistake made by some listeners, that making music for meditation is easy, actually it couldn’t be further from the truth, the tempo and content has to be perfect to allow the mind to traverse into a meditative state, any peaks and troughs and the moment will be lost. On Meditation, Maroney creates something restful and very easy to just drift within, and with a few subtle moves he manifests the perfect piano based meditative composition.
The quality of performance on this album is supreme, Greg Maroney has certainly produced a release that does what it says on the can, it is both quiet and improvisational. Now let’s sink into the piece Daydream and you will be in the realm of my favourite piece off the album, here is a track that has a lush minor refrain to its narrative that creates such a special and emotive moment in music. The melody and flow here is so good I would rate this track as one of my all-time favourite piano pieces, in fact I would go further to say that this should be used in a moving film segment, it’s that good.
Dear reader and listener, we are about to cross the border into the second half of the album, and to help us to do so, we must listen to the next arrangement called Quietude. This is a composition that creates its own ambience and with great ease brings us along on the journey as well. This is one of those tracks that you could easily play, whilst watching the afternoon clouds drift by, it is that blissful.
I can imagine that by now the day’s worries will have drifted away from your shoulders, that furrowed brow is smoothed and a calm sense of being now washes over you, so continue that feeling whilst listening to a charming piece called Rainbow Visions. Here is one all-encompassing opus of beauty that radiates out a constant colourful hum of tone. Rainbow Vision has harmony and gentleness all of its own and if I maybe so bold, it creates a warm and loving embrace as it plays, in the same way as a mothers love does for a child.
As we move deeper into the album we now come across something very special indeed and it’s called Moonlight on Snow. Behind me the mountains begin to lose their snowy tops, they are like ice creams that begin to melt in the spring warmth, but at night its cold embrace hardens and this composition would be the perfect soundtrack for that moment. This is a deep and sombre piece that has a slight emotive imprint, combined with the sublime musical vision of a dark coldness of the combination of a moonlit night and falling snow, a truly stunning performance by the artist can be found here.
The next piece is literally where I am right now, in an Afternoon Sojourn. The sun filters through the palm tree in my garden and the warmth of an early spring day raises my energies, and during the sun filled perambulation I am comforted and eased by the soothing refrains of Greg Maroney. Afternoon Sojourn is truly a wonderful and tranquil temporary place of rest for us right now, it’s light and flowing passion is a pleasure for us all to dip our toes into.
It is always good to allow yourself a moment of Contemplation, here Maroney provides us with the perfect musical backdrop on the track of the same name. Dear constant reader, you have also arrived at another personal favourite of mine, as the artist combines a moving arrangement with one that also has a sense of inspiration built in as well. The constant warmth of this album never ceases to amaze me and here we have yet another classy composition that one could get totally lost within.
We now arrive at the penultimate piece and the title does give us an indication of movement, it is entitled Sway, however, while the arrangement does drift back and forth, any movement is so subtle and delicate, that one feels absolutely still in the flow of the concept of the album and the performance is gifted to us with a lightness of heart and great skill on the keys.
Our very last port of call on the album is called With Every Breath, and Greg Maroney certainly leaves us with a composition of great quality and style, the careful and loving attention to detail here by the artist is so evident, and on this last offering Maroney manifests a perfect end of album track and leaves us the ever eager listener, completely chilled and in total peace.
Quiet Piano Improvisations Volume 2 is an album that I so desperately needed to listen to today, and I am sure that you too will find solace in this quite outstanding release. Maroney has allowed himself to be totally in the moment with this album and its musical reflection bathes us with its serene tones of bliss and calm, making this release one of the classiest solo piano albums I have heard for ages, completely recommended.


Quiet Piano Improvisations, Volume 2
Greg Maroney
2017 / Greg Maroney
62 minutes
Kathy Parsons, MainlyPiano.com

I just noticed that I reviewed Greg Maroney’s Quiet Piano Improvisations, Volume 1 exactly one year ago. I hope this continues to be an annual event, because both of these improv albums are some of Greg’s most beautiful music yet (this is his seventeenth solo album!). Maroney has been one of my favorite composer/pianists since I reviewed Sentinel fifteen years ago, but there is something very special about the freedom and flow of these improvisations. I have been trying to figure out what makes this music different, but I think Maroney nailed it in his liner notes where he says that improvising is about “living and breathing and creating right in the moment.” He goes on to say that this music is profoundly personal because this is the kind of music he plays when no one is watching or listening. “I can absorb the quiet around me and play the music that comes straight from the deeper part of my soul.” What really amazes me about this album (and Volume 1) is that there are no edits or multiple takes and yet every one of the eleven pieces is unique and born perfectly-formed. There is NOTHING I would suggest be changed or improved. That’s pretty mind-blowing if you think about it. I also have to say that this journey to the deeper part of Maroney’s soul demonstrates what a beautiful soul he has (and is!). He’s usually a man of few words, but his spontaneous musical creations speak volumes. Although the title is Quiet Piano Improvisations, this music has plenty of emotion and substance.

The album begins with “My Everything,” a beautiful, heartfelt piece that expresses tenderness, passion, and contentment - a stellar opening! “Melting Heart” is gently stirring and graceful. “Meditation” is the longest track at just over seven minutes, and is the most ambient piece on the album. Built mostly on a soothing series of chords and deep bass notes, it makes it very easy to slip into a meditative mood and a peaceful state of mind. “Daydream” is one of my favorites. This piece caught my attention the first time I heard the album and it continues to move me every time. A bit darker than most of the other pieces, deep emotions are expressed honestly and without reservation. I really hope there is sheet music coming for this one! “Quietude” makes me think of sitting by a peaceful lake watching the occasional ripples and movement on the glassy surface and being mesmerized in the process. “Moonlight On Snow” is my other big favorite. Also a bit darker, it begins with a poignant melody over a repeated chord pattern. You can almost feel the chill coming off the snow, but you also get that feeling of quiet wonder at the beauty and stillness of it. Gorgeous! “Contemplation" has the peaceful, fluid rhythm of a mind lost in thought. “With Every Breath” also flows very freely yet expresses deep contentment, appreciation and joy, bringing this outstanding album to a very beautiful close.

I have heard some great music already this year, but I can guarantee that Quiet Piano Improvisations, Volume 2 will be one of my Favorite Albums of the Year! It is available from www.GregMaroney.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. I give it my highest recommendation!