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  • Jonathan Widran

ED BAZEL, The London Sessions: New Perspectives From Studio 2

Though it wasn’t the first album in a discography that extends back to his 2013 debut Bella Piano, veteran pianist/composer Ed Bazel created one of contemporary instrumental music’s greatest feel good story of 2022 with his breakthrough collection The London Sessions: Reflections from Studio 2 – a dream come true project recorded at the musical mountaintop he’d been envisioning his whole life, London’s famed Abbey Road Studios.

 

With a trajectory that began with him watching The Fab Four as millions did on Ed Sullvan at age seven, Bazel hooked us before we even had a chance to listen to his ten beyond beautiful originals and soul-stirring definitive piano and strings renditions of two Beatles classics, “In My Life” and “Yesterday.” Prior to this project, he was more of a local hero, a working live musician who was named best pianist in Downtown LA by a local newspaper. He was perhaps best known for serving patients through his River of Calm radio station’s growing Headphones for Chemo programs. He created the mission to donate headphones to chemotherapy centers filled with music for patients during a stressful time.

 

While he passionately works towards taking this headphone program nationwide, this is no longer the only accolade people in his world are talking about. The wild success and powerful impact of The London Sessions has now made him famous in new age circles as an emerging artist. While Bazel’s backstory and London-centric cover art invited people into the experience, the music on that collection has earned him a non-stop explosion of recent awards and recognition by countless taste-making organizations, including the World Entertainment Awards (Best New Age Song, "Soaring"), InterContinental Music Awards (Winner, North America Contemporary Instrumental), Hollywood Independent Music Awards (Winner, Best Instrumental) and Solo Piano Album of the Year (Solo Piano Radio).

 

Bazel gives some simple insight into his vision for the highly anticipated sequel The London Sessions: New Perspectives From Studio 2: “As I embrace gratitude for the past and hope for the future, my new original compositions speak from my deepest heart of hearts.” That’s what this project, his other albums and probably all future recordings from him will be – expressions and affairs of the heart. Melodic brilliance and graceful, easy flowing playing style aside, it’s this core essence that everyone resonated with on the first London Session and what all listeners will quickly embrace on the new project.



Truth be told, and to crib a notion from another Beatles classic, there’s no musical revolution happening here. The studio Bazel recorded in may have hosted some epic sessions, but his music is too deep, heartfelt and intimate to be considered epic like that. Bazel simply has a gift for beautiful, charming melodies - magical three-minute symphonies, some enhanced by cello and violin, if you will - that no true fan of melodic piano can stop listening to.

 

Not surprisingly considering the joyful vibes they impart, many of the warm, appealing, exquisitely composed and performed tunes on The London Sessions: New Perspectives from Studio 2 bear optimistic titles. First, there’s the infectious opener “Daybreak,” that begins with gentle high notes and evolves to include more emphatic chords (presumably as the sun rises higher in the sky). From there we move “Onward” with passion and purpose towards a trio of reflective and celebratory “life” ballads, “All of My Life,” “A Joyful Life” and “A Beautiful Life” – two of which wrap themselves like a warm caress around a glorious, classically tinged instrumental piano definitive stroll along “The Long and Winding Road.”


Not to break through the upbeat vibes, but Bazel offers some mood variation by following the sweetness of “Happy Go Lightly” and “Blue Skies” with the slightly darker, haunting musical shadows of “A Rainy Day.” The string section (cellist Austin Hoke and violinist Laura Epling) is given its most emotional spotlight providing atmosphere behind Bazel’s tenderly romantic ivories on “Beautiful Tonight.” Just as the first London Sessions recording offered one primarily Lennon and one primarily McCartney tune, Bazel wraps these new perspectives by complementing “The Long and Winding Road” with a dreamy, thought provoking take on Lennon’s forever timeless “Imagine.”

 

Piano fans everywhere will no doubt be listening to this album for months to come, after which they will no doubt call out in unison for a Volume 3!

 

 

 

  

 

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